Thursday, October 26, 2006

Farrell, MacLean Sign On to Punch Clock Campaign

The Punch Clock Campaign, which is an effort by the Sunlight Foundation (full disclosure: Sunlight also provided this site with grant money earlier this year) to get members of Congress to make their daily schedules publicly available on the internet, is picking up a little steam here in Connecticut.

Both Diane Farrell and Scott MacLean have signed on to it, and Chris Murphy is reportedly on the fence.

This is the agreement candidates are being encouraged to sign:
The Punch Clock Agreement

I believe citizens have a right to know what their Member of Congress does every day.

Starting with the next Congress, I promise to publish my daily official work schedule on the Internet, within 24 hours of the end of every work day. I will include all matters relating to my role as a Member of Congress. I will include all meetings with constituents, other Members, and lobbyists, listed by name. (In rare cases I will withhold the names of constituents whose privacy must be protected.) I will also include all fundraising events. Events will be listed whether Congress is in session or not, and whether I am in Washington, traveling, or in my district.

It's an interesting idea. It would be nice to know how much of their time is taken up by lobbyists, for example.


cgg said...

That's really cool.

Anonymous said...

A daily calendar is meaningless information. It will be subverted via the inclusion of politically correct data. Who cares who they meet with? How about what they achieve?

Anonymous said...

Playing devil's advocate... what about playing a round of golf with a lobbyist?

Great idea. But the bad guys will still snake their way out of stuff.

Liberal Forever said...

I wish Farrell would update her campaign website so we could see when, what, and where she was campaigning. Her events page died on 24 October.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it is possible to subvert every system. Take campaign finance reporting and claiming that you have $387,000 in 'petty cash' disbursements, or failing to report trips to Qatar.

However, this does not mean that we should be working hard to support systems like these. No, we need to trust, but verify.

So, kudos to Farrell and MacLean. We need to get the rest of the Connecticut candidates to sign the Punch Clock Campaign.

Shadow said...

It will be helpful. I agree with the first anonymous that it will undoubtedly be subverted by the inclusion of politically correct data (if not out and out lies), but Congressmen who are going between meetings in Washington will have a much harder time when their calendar contradicts information gathered or leaked to the press. Had this practice been in effect five or six years ago, can you imagine how many calendar histories would have been full of the name Jack Abramoff when the scandal broke?

Even when paper trails are manipulated, on the whole their inclusion has lead to a better understanding of the truth, by virtue of the lies on paper standing in contrast to either testimony or events; even e-mails, despite being vulnerable to even greater manipulation than actual paper, in the end have been vital in finding the truth in so many cases from civil suits to the Congressman Foley Scandal.

Now one might say that most Congressmen are smarter than Foley and will keep their trangressions unnoted, but this all goes back to the Abramoff example, because Congressmen writing down his name on some calendar in 2002 or 2003 may well have seen no danger in doing so at the time. So this kind of log could be the antidote to the short memory span that adapts so well in real time to the changing scandals of Washington.

turfgrrl said...

I'd be happier with a simple pledge to actually read the entire bill with amendments and debating each amendment on the floor before voting on it.

Anonymous said...

Sounds interesting , but what happens if your meeting is cancelled at the last minute? Or something more pressing needs to be addressed? Seems like Congressmen and women could be held accountable for a written document that is subject to change.

Anonymous said...

This seems a bit high schoolish to me..... I am far more concerned about promises made during campaigns, and results after elections.

I don't see what there is to be "on the fence" about with this idea. It's a no win idea for all these guys, and just more stuff for negative campaigns in two years.

Here's a novel idea, if elected just do the job we elect you to do when we vote. If it gets done while playing golf who cares????

Anonymous said...

Turfgrrl said: "I'd be happier with a simple pledge to actually read the entire bill with amendments and debating each amendment on the floor before voting on it."

Easy Turfgrrl. There is a very important reason why legislators in Washington and Hartford do not read bills and amendments before voting on them: if they did, most of them would vote no and the bills (cobbled together by leadership and lobbyists) would not pass.

Think about it ... I'm not even trying to be cynical.

One change that I would like to see, and I think you would support this urfgeel, is that all bills and amendments thereto, should be available to the public 48 hrs. before any recorded vote. The sad fact is that the majority (Republicans in DC and Democrat in Hartford) engage in the tactic of dropping a bill, including the country's or state's budget, on a legislators desk and then asking them to vote while the copy paper is still warm. That is no way to run a democracy!

Aldon Hynes said...

If we can't get our elected officials to read the bills they are voting on, a good starting point is to make the bills available online for all of us to read.

Check out Read the for information about an effort to post any bill online for 72 hours before it is voted on.

Genghis Conn said...

Aldon is absolutely right--bills should be posted online. Let's put the massive collective research power of the internet to good use! I know I'd spend time reading those bills. It would be nice if the state did something similar.

Anonymous said...

Paid By S/O Candidate Payee Date Made Amount Date filed Purpose
CT District: 4
1 . DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE OPPOSITION Shays^Christopher H CT 04 Great American Media 10/28/2006 $1,025,990 10/28/2006 Media Buy