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Sunshine Review

Sunshine Review
Motto Bringing state & local government to light
Founded July 2008
Dissolved 9 July 2013
Area served United States

Sunshine Review was an American nonprofit organization that advocated for increased government transparency.[1][2]

Sunshine Review was a website prior to becoming its own nonprofit organization. The wiki-based website was launched in July 2008 as a project of the open government initiatives.

Sunshine Review addressed several areas of transparency, including state spending, state sunshine laws, and rating local government websites on transparency.[4] Sunshine Review worked with the National Taxpayers Union[5] to develop information on state spending, and with the Lucy Burns Institute which runs the WikiFOIA project.[6] Sunshine Review developed a ten-point transparency checklist to evaluate if government websites proactively and voluntarily disclose information to the public and media.[7]

On July 9th, 2013, Sunshine Review was acquired by the Lucy Burns Institute and merged into Ballotpedia.[8]


  • Website evaluations 1
    • Response 1.1
  • Salary records project 2
  • FOIAchat 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Website evaluations

In March 2010, the organization reported that it had evaluated over 5,000 government websites, including 3,140 counties, 805 cities, and 1,560 school districts.[9] In March 2010, Sunshine Review launched the Sunny Awards just prior to

External links

  1. ^ Sunshine' group rates government websites"'". The Columbian. August 8, 2012. Retrieved November 21, 2012. 
  2. ^ Maciag, Mike (February 6, 2013). "Group Grades Online Transparency for States, Local Governments". Governing Magazine. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  3. ^ Sunshine Review, Press Room
  4. ^ Sunshine Review
  5. ^ Show Me The Spending
  6. ^ WikiFOIA
  7. ^ , Affirmative disclosureSunshine Review
  8. ^
  9. ^ , Arizona “Sunny Award” Winners, March 10, 2010Sedona Times
  10. ^ , Top Government Websites for Transparency, March 10, 2010Reason Hit & Run
  11. ^ , Sunny Awards recognize state, local governments with perfect transparency scores, March 10, 2011Sunshine Review
  12. ^ , State Upgrading Transparency Website, March 14, 2011WIBC 93.1 FM
  13. ^ , 2012 Sunny Awards, March 8, 2012Sunshine Review
  14. ^ , St. Charles redesigns Web site, January 22, 2008The Times Picayune
  15. ^ , County Web site earns top marks for transparency, Dec. 8, 2008Argus Press Spectator
  16. ^ , Champaign County Web site recognized for openness, Dec. 4, 2008News-Gazette
  17. ^ , Illinoisans more than one click away, Nov. 30, 2008PJ Star
  18. ^ , A not so twisted Web for counties, Dec. 1, 2008Beacon News
  19. ^ , County kudos, Oct. 24, 2009Tulsa World
  20. ^ , Owasso gets high mark for openness, January 9, 2010Tulsa World
  21. ^ , Sam Adams Alliance Praises Carbondale, Illinois, Website As Model Of Openness, March 16, 2009ICMA News Briefing
  22. ^ , Openness is Anderson’s message at convention, July 29, 2009Independent Mail
  23. ^ , Cook County’s New Online Check Register Gives Public Access to County Spending Records, Feb. 24, 2010Civic Federation
  24. ^ , Which governments pay their public employees the most?, Jan. 18, 2012Sunshine Review
  25. ^ , CA High Public Employee Pay, Jan. 18, 2012Cal Watchdog
  26. ^ What the hashtag?", FOIAchat
  27. ^ , From Tip to Story: Chat with Pulitzer winner Ryan Gabrielson (Worldwide), March 10, 2011International Journalists Network


In an effort to create a conversation between public records advocates, Sunshine Review launched FOIAchat on Twitter.[26] The weekly conversation has included Pulitzer Prize–winning journalists, including Ryan Gabrielson, to answer questions about public records requests.[27]


The salary information garnered from these states were a combination of existing online resources and state sunshine laws requests sent out to the governments. The report found that California had the most employees earning over 150k, with Illinois a close second.[25]

Within these states, the editors of Sunshine Review focused on the most populous cities, counties, and school districts, as well as the emergency services entities within these governments. The purpose of this selection was to develop articles on governments affecting the most citizens.

In 2011, Sunshine Review chose 152 local governments as the focus of research on public employee salaries. The editors of Sunshine Review selected eight states with relevant political contexts (listed alphabetically):[24]

Salary records project

Sunshine Review was credited with inspiring Cook County, Illinois to post its checkbook register online.[23]

Other local government has also upgraded their websites to receive perfect grades on Sunshine Review's checklist including Tulsa County,[19] Owasso City,[20] Carbondale[21] and Anderson County.[22]

St. Charles Parish, Louisiana reported redoing its website partly in response to the critique on Sunshine Review.[14] Dupage County, Illinois promised to add county contracts to its website.[15] Champaign County, Illinois was recognized by a local newspaper for its informative website based on Sunshine Review's evaluation of the county's website.[16][17][18]



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