2Day in #OpenGov 6/17/2013


by Carrie Tian, policy intern


  • The Scripps Howard News Service team discovered online PDFs of complete applications for TerraCom, a provider of federally subsidized phone service, and downloaded tens of thousands of them using a web scraper. TerraCom is accusing the Scripps reporters of being hackers and violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act; Scripps argues that the information was publicly accessible online. (Columbia Journalism Review)
  • NY investor Sean Eldridge is running for Congress – and his campaign reveals a wrinkle in current personal finance disclosure requirements. He’s married to Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes, who’s worth $450 million, but because DOMA prevents federal law from recognizing same-sex marriages, Eldridge’s report left out mention of his husband’s Facebook fortune. (Huffington Post)
  • Debates about White House involvement aside, the IRS scandal shines light on the varying status of nonprofit organizations, depending on who you ask. While federal law doesn’t allow 501(c)(4)s to be politically active, the IRS merely requires that they not be primarily political – and no one seems clear on what exactly constitutes “political activity.” (POLITICO)
  • NC currently provides judicial candidates with taxpayer money to run their campaigns, but the pioneering program may soon disappear thanks to Art Pope, a conservative mega-donor. The Republican-proposed budget initially cut the program, but Republican Representative Jonathan Jordan introduced an amendment to preserve a less-extensive version. However, when Jordan had a visit from Pope, one of his big donors, he quietly dropped the amendment. (Mother Jones)
  • As the White House released its slate of new ambassadors, some of Obama’s top donors head the list, including HBO executive James Costos to Spain;  2012 fundraising director Rufus Gifford to Denmark; and Capitol Group executive John Emerson to Germany. (Washington Post)