Today in #OpenGov 9/16/2013

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National News

  • The Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, set up to monitor funds distributed as part of the stimulus program launched in 2009, has received accolades for the level of transparency it broad to the massive program. The recovery program was subject to relatively minimal corruption thanks to the board’s oversight and the open process. (Federal Computer Week)
  • The Koch brothers are taking a new avenue to spend their fortune on political campaigns. Freedom Partners, registered as a 501(c)(6), a designation usually reserved for trade groups like the Chamber of Commerce or American Bar Association, doled out roughly $250 million to conservative groups during 2012. (National Journal)
  • A conservative congressman, known for his fiery floor speeches, suggested that House Republicans could defund parts of the executive branch, particularly the Department of Justice, if the Obama administration doesn’t become more forthcoming about the various scandals that the GOP is currently investigating. (Government Executive)
  • The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has decided to release some previously private court opinion’s that justify the government’s bulk data collection efforts. The release, more specific details of which have not yet been made available, comes as a result of an ACLU lawsuit. (ars technica)

International News

  • The President of Venezuela is asking for special powers to vaccinate Venezuela’s democracy and public sector” against corruption, but real change is unlikely to happen via an executive power grad. Instead, TI suggests that changes need to be made to make all levels of government, especially the executive branch, more open and accountable. (Transparency International)

State and Local News

  • San Francisco elected leaders want to bring online, participatory budgeting to their citizens. Right now there’s only one problem, figuring out how to actually implement an effective system. (The Verge)
  • According to two investigative journalists, the NYPD is more likely to fight a FOI request than any federal agency that secrecy is expected from, including the FBI and NSA. Apparently, the NYPD has a long history of battling the scourge of Freedom of Information laws. (Tech Dirt)
  • Opinion: A look back at the past four, open government fueled years, of the Bloomberg administration in New York City and wondered what the next four might look like if New Yorkers elect a mayor who isn’t as interested in innovative government and technology. (Tech President)

State Bills

Events

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