WASHINGTON — For constituents who just have to know what Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand is doing every day, the senator now posts her daily schedule online, continuing a practice she started in the House of Representatives.
The posting, which she calls a sunshine report, is part of Mrs. Gillibrand's effort to appear more transparent than the vast majority of her colleagues in Congress. And while the practice has some caveats — the duration of meetings is not shown, and she does not archive the schedule, so it disappears from her Web site after one day, for instance — it has generated praise from open-government advocates.
Publishing the schedule is part of a routine that also includes posting her earmark requests and her personal financial disclosure reports, also measures that just a handful of her colleagues have taken.
Mrs. Gillibrand did the same during her two-year stint in the House of Representatives, but has gone a step further in the Senate by posting a little more detail about her daily meetings, such as the general topic discussed with lobbyists.
Fewer than a dozen of the 533 members of the House and Senate share daily schedules with the public (one Senate seat is still undecided, and Mrs. Gillibrand's House seat remains vacant pending outcome of a special election). Out of 96 congressional candidates in 2006 to promise to do so, she is the only one who was elected and kept that promise, according to the Sunlight Foundation, an open-government group that pressed Mrs. Gillibrand and others to make such pledges.
"That's something the Sunlight Foundation is quite pleased to see," said Gabriela Schneider, a spokeswoman for the organization. "We've actually followed Kirsten Gillibrand's congressional career pretty closely."
Last Monday, for instance, her report notes meeting with leaders and military families at Fort Drum and a brief "meet and greet" with the editorial board and staff at the Times, as well as a meeting with the Metropolitan Development Association in Syracuse to discuss economic development issues.
On Thursday, she met with William J. Morley, president of the Altrius Group, a lobbying outfit tied to large U.S. and multinational corporations, to discuss business issues. She met with Michael Fishman, president of Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ, which represents property service workers such as window cleaners, doormen and maintenance workers, "to discuss immigration reform and a living wage in federal contracting."
Mrs. Gillibrand told the Washington Post in 2007 that she wanted to form a "Sunshine Caucus" to include members who follow similar practices, but that idea shows little sign of advancing. Ms. Schneider said she was unaware of it and that based on the trickle of response the foundation has received to its call for transparency, "it hasn't gotten very far."
Skeptical lawmakers express worries about safety if their meetings are publicized, although posting the schedule a day later should resolve that argument, Ms. Schneider said. Others worry that political enemies will pick pieces of the schedule out of context to attack them, she said.