The Democratic Party’s sweep in November was due in no small part to its promise to clean up Washington. For those turned off by the K Street “politics as usual” deforming our democracy check out a new initiative by the Sunlight Foundation – a nonpartisan organization dedicated to using technology to achieve greater openness between members of Congress and their constituents. Urging all Representatives to post their daily schedules online is a good step towards some much-needed transparency.

So far only two freshmen, Representative Kirsten Gillibrand and Senator Jon Tester, are heeding the call. Every day Tester reveals each lobbyist, constituent, and colleague he meets with–as well as the duration of the meeting. Gillibrand identifies meeting participants. (In order to address safety concerns schedules are posted the next day. Also, items pertaining to national security are omitted.)

“I believe in transparent government and this is my effort,” Tester told the Washington Post.

“This is about ethics reform, letting people know who’s bending your ear,” said Gillibrand.

Ellen Miller, Executive Director of the Sunlight Foundation, agrees. “This isn’t ‘gotcha’ politics. But a positive way to respond to public cynicism about Congress. This openness will breed more trust between members and their constituents.”

But for all of the conversation about greater transparency, Miller says that resistance to the initiative by most members of Congress is “rather surprising.” The most common concern expressed is that opponents will use information as ammunition in the next cycle. For example, if a Congressman met with a timber industry lobbyist on an issue, it could be taken out of context even if there were three meetings with the Sierra Club on the same issue. (Miller notes that representatives should want the public to know that they are meeting with people on all sides of any given issue). That probably explains why one Democrat close to Gillibrand told the New York Times, “There are a lot of people who think she’s crazy to do [this]. But she really believes in it.”

The Sunlight Foundation is also working on “three modest proposals” which complement this reform effort, including: ensuring that all currently required public reports are made available online; putting an end to secret legislation by requiring that all earmarks, amendments, and bills are identified with the proposing member’s name; and meaningful lobbyist disclosure such as financial contributions, legislation discussions, and relationships with members or staff members. Meanwhile, the Foundation is laying the groundwork for a major push in the next few months for constituents to call on their members to join Gillibrand and Tester in posting their schedules online.

Gillibrand is certainly ready to welcome her colleagues.

According to the Post she wants “to create a special caucus of like-minded members” she calls “the Sunshine Caucus.” Together, they can work towards a Sunlight Government defined by real transparency and ethics reform.