Today in #OpenGov 10/9/2013


National News

  • The government shutdown has stymied researchers looking for information held in the Library of Congres, Smithsonian, National Archives, and more. The Oxford University Press is, at least temporarily, stepping up to provide an alternative. The press is offering free access to three of its online resources relevant to US researchers, but only through the end of next week. (The Verge)
  • A majority of the Supreme Court justices expressed skepticism at current Federal law that limits the total amount that individuals can give to candidates and parties over the course of an election cycle during oral arguments in McCutcheon vs. FEC yesterday. (Washington Post)
  • The new top casino lobbyist is planning to get aggressive with lawmakers while arguing that the gaming industry is good for jobs and the economy. Geoff Freeman, recently named head of the American Gaming Association, is looking to grow his stake, not merely protect his chips. (The Hill)
  • The FEC planned to weather the shutdown for as long as possible with all of its staff furloughed, but after key servers went down on Monday, taking important sections of the commission’s website and downloadable databases with them, some staff will be called back to get the systems up and running before looming filing deadlines. (Public Integrity)

International News

  • A new site from Spanish transparency group Civio works like a “paparazzi-meets-Pinterest for politician and lobbyist relations,” by posting photos of them interacting. It is part of a larger project called Quien Manda (who’s your boss?). The public will soon be able to join the fun by uploading and tagging their own photos of influencers going about their business. (Tech President)
  • Investigators have dropped their probe into alleged campaign finance violations by former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, opening him up for a potential comeback bid in 2017. Sarkozy had been accused of soliciting secret campaign cash from Liliane Bettencourt, L’Oreal heiress and France’s richest women. (BBC News)
  • A group of British civil society organizations sent an open letter to Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to make some more ambitious open government commitments in advance of the upcoming Open Government Partnership Summit, scheduled for later this month in London. (Open Knowledge Blog)

State and Local News

  • “Open source cities” are making information available to citizens using a variety of tools and apps. This post looks at 10 of the best! (Engaging Cities)
  • A new trend is emerging that attempts to get state and municipal codes up online in a user friendly and eye pleasing form. When codes are online now they are often hard to navigate and/or stuck behind paywalls. (Next City)
  • After the New York State Senate killed an anti-corruption bill that would have also introduced public campaign financing to the state, some activists were encouraged by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s subsequent efforts to set up a Commission to Investigate Public Corruption. Turns out, the commission has bowed to pressure from the Cuomo administration and angered watchdogs. (Mother Jones)


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