If you've ever found yourself at a cocktail party (or in a voting booth) with your head spinning over the names and connections of the veritable cornucopia of candidates that come up for (re)election periodically, independent political consultant (and former Chicagoist politics writer) Mike Fourcher and local public interest attorney Jay Paul Deratany have just the solution: CloutWiki.
An ongoing volunteer effort, the website is the product of thousands of hours of research (and hundreds of hours of tedious writing) by a group of political writers and activists in Chicago [full disclosure: including this writer]. "We want to let the facts speak for themselves," says Fourcher of the project. "Jay and I got to thinking, how can we shine some sunlight on Chicago? A Wiki of Chicago clout seemed the logical direction to head in." Although the site is hardly complete, Fourcher hopes that it will grow in the coming months. "I'm looking forward to people checking our facts and helping make the site more in-depth, more accurate," he says. While the site's content isn't yet open for public editing, it does welcome ideas, information and submissions. "Just send us a writing sample, suggestions or corrections" to editor(at)clouttracker(dot)org. "I've already gotten a few corrections from some people, including aldermen," says Fourcher. "I'm looking forward to the fact-checking."