Al writes "The Sunlight Foundation, based in Washington, DC, hopes to raise an army of web volunteers to analyze all the earmarks in government bills. The group's new Sunlight Labs transparency corps invites users to join an effort to analyze the information collaboratively. Users are presented with PDFs released by hundreds of different offices and asked to enter the pertinent information like the date and dollar amount of a request, name of the requester, description of the project, and so on. These then become part of a searchable database. The project's launch roughly coincided with the launch earlier this month of the government's new IT Dashboard. But this tool is somewhat limited — users can find the primary recipients of IT project funding, but not subcontractors; it's not easy to discern the origins of contracts or their geographic distribution, and it's almost impossible to see how they are connected to elected officials."
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