Mike continues to be actively engaged in a wide variety of activities.
Mike is the Chairman and CEO of The Sunlight Foundation, which he co-founded in December 2005, through which he and his colleagues try to improve the transparency and thus the accountability and performance of our government. The Sunlight Foundation takes its name and raison d’être from the observation of Louis Brandeis: “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants, electric light the best policeman.” The foundation seeks to apply this principle – that people behave better when they believe they are being observed – by using 21st Century information technology to make accessible, online through the Internet and open source software, a raft of information about the members and work of federal, state and local government, including the Congress and those who seek to influence the Congress. Sunlight has vastly increased the ability of the working press, bloggers and ordinary citizens to access and use a vast and growing amount of information, and new software tools to make that information intelligible. This includes information about lobbying and lobbyists, political contributions, entertainment of our Senators, Representatives and the Staff of the Congress, the revolving door involving Congressional staff, lobbyists and members, all federal contracts and grants, the sponsorship of earmarks, and other similar information, as well as municipalities.
Mike is also the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Shakespeare Theatre Company. Since its founding in 1985, the Shakespeare Theatre Company has earned a reputation as the nation’s leading force in the presentation and preservation of classic theater, presenting Shakespearean and other classics in an accessible, imaginative American style that honors playwrights’ language and intentions while viewing their plays through a 21st-century lens. STC won the 2012 Tony Award as the nation’s outstanding regional theater. At its two venues, the Harman Center for the Performing Arts and the Lansburgh Theater, both in the center of the nation’s capitol, STC presents productions of its own and provides affordable, state-of-the-art venues to other outstanding local, national and international performing arts companies. STC encourages synergy among sister arts organizations, and stimulates an ongoing artistic dialogue that embraces all of the performing arts, and offers education and accessibility programs to engage diverse audiences in the arts.
Mike is also the Chairman of the Board of CoStar Group, Inc., a public company (CSGP on NASADQ), he co-founded in 1987 that provides 24/7 internet access to information about over 90 billion square feet of commercial, retail, industrial and multi-family structures throughout the United States, Great Britain, France and elsewhere, together with software tools that render that information useful to its subscribers. CoStar also now operates as a search tool for those seeking aparatments, through apartments.com and other sites.
Mike’s experience at CoStar, providing real time online access to the real estate industry enabled Mike to envision The Sunlight Foundation, as a way to use the same information technology to provide real time online oversight of Congress and those who seek to influence Congress.
In 2013, Mike extended those experiences to found Gun Violence Archive, Inc. , a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide online access to researchers and media of an archive of accurate and timely information regarding all verifiable uses of guns against persons in the United States. That information is now accessible online at www.gunviolencearchive.org and on Facebook. Mike serves as Chairman and CEO of that entity.
In 2017, Mike founded the Global Warming Mitigation Project to encourage and disseminate information about innovations that can mitigate global warming, initially by awarding prizes, chosen annually by leaders in the physics community to regarding innovations they believe to be most promising. The prizes have been named the Keeling Curve Prize in honor of the first scientist to track increases in atmospheric carbon. www.kcurve.org
In addition to these activities, Mike continues his involvement in several other businesses and not-for profit organizations.
In the business world, Mike remains actively involved in other public businesses and ventures. He is the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors and lead outside director of Tutor Perini Corporation (TPC on NYSE) a leading international construction company, honored by Forbes and others as the best managed publicly held construction business. He previously served as an outside director of SRA International, Inc. (formerly NYSE), National Education Corporation (formerly NYSE), Steck-Vaughn Publishing Company (formerly NASDAQ), and of Republic Waste Company (formerly NASDAQ) until each of them were sold through board processes he led. From 1974 through 2005, Mike was a partner in the law firm Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, based in Washington, D.C., now known as Wilmer Hale.
Mike is and has been associated with a number of non-public businesses. These include Think Food Group, LLC., a restaurant management business led by Jose Andres, the 2011 James Beard Chef of the Year, which Mike serves as a director and investor. Reflecting his broad engagement in all the lively arts, he was also the co-founder and Chairman of the Board of Zenith Gallery, Inc. a contemporary art and crafts gallery in DC, two of Washington’s finest restaurants: Le Pavillon (1978- 1991) and Le Paradou (2004-2009), served (2006-2007) and as President of the PEN Faulkner Foundation, an organization known for its dedication to and awards given to writers of contemporary American fiction.
In the non-profit world, Mike has long also been involved in a wide array of other organizations and activities. Currently, these include service as a director of The American Himalayan Foundation which supports indigenous medical, educational, health and cultural activities throughout Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan in the Himalayan region, as a member of the Board of Directors of the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, as a trustee of both The Aspen Institute and the Aspen Music Festival and School (which he serves as Vice Chairman of the Board) and as a member of the Deans Advisory Board of Harvard Law School and of the Committee on University Resources of Harvard University. He previously served as a member of the Board of two public interest law firms, the Center for Law in the Public Interest and of Advocates for the Public Interest (which he co-founded and served as Chairman), of the Support Center, an advisory support organization for non-profits generally, and as a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Miami.