Today in #OpenGov 8/1/2014


Keep reading for today’s look at #OpenGov news, events, and analysis, including the CIA surveilling not dangerous targets, but the Senate; Edward Snowden’s expiring asylum in Russia; and Wisconsin’s dangerous precedent for state-level campaign finance disclosure.

A newspaper with the headline Open Gov

National News

  • An internal investigation by the Central Intelligence Agency has found that its officers improperly penetrated a computer network used by the Senate Intelligence Committee, even creating a fake online identity to gain access to these computers. The targeted computers were used to prepare the Committee’s damning report on the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation program. CIA Director John Brennan apologized for the intrusion. (New York Times)
  • A federal judge ruled Thursday that Microsoft must hand over e-mails stored on an overseas server to US authorities. The case gives the Obama administration approval to reach into servers abroad. (Ars Technica)
  • The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network is hoping to lift the veil on the use of anonymous companies for financial transactions—including political donations—by forcing financial firms to disclose and verify the identities of the actual people, or “beneficial owners,” behind the transactions. (Accounting Today)

International News

  • Edward Snowden’s temporary asylum status in Russia expired yesterday, but the National Security Agency leaker is still waiting for officials to approve an extension. (The Hill)
  • As the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit approaches, Malawi has received recognition for its government transparency efforts, like its the Aid Management Platform (AMP) that discloses information on development programs. (Publish What You Fund)
  • Former Sens. John Breaux and Trent Lott are plotting an expansion from their new perch at Squire Patton Boggs. K Street’s most famous lobbying duo says the merger with an international law firm will help them take their practice beyond the U.S. (The Hill)

State and Local News

  • Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board, the state agency that monitors elections, recently told a number of electioneering groups — conservative and liberal — that they are welcome to disclose their spending activity and donors, but are not required to, a blow to campaign finance transparency. (The Cap Times)
  • David Young, a Republican candidate in an Iowa, has closer ties to D.C. than expected. Young raised more than $500,000 in donations for Sen. Chuck Grassley’s 2010 re-election campaign, even while Young served as Grassley’s full-time chief of staff. He even was paid a ten percent commission on the funds he raised. (Des Moines Register)
  • The Massachusetts state legislature passed the Massachusetts Disclosure Act, which provides a a precedent for campaign finance transparency at the state level. (Scout)

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