Today in #OpenGov 8/4/2014


Keep reading for today’s look at #OpenGov news, events, and analysis, including another PAC to end all PACs, targeting of journalists and dissidents in Bahrain and the UAE, and a redistricting ruling for Florida’s highly gerrymandered Fifth and Tenth Congressional Districts.

A newspaper with the headline Open Gov

National News

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) announced over the weekend that her office is delaying the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee torture report after receiving the heavily CIA- and White House-redacted version late last week. (Techdirt)
  • Not all whistleblowers are fired – some, like former Phoenix VA spokesperson Paula Pedene, are relocated to nominal positions in obscure corners of their places of employment. Few reliable statistics exist on the prevalence of this sort of punishment of whistleblowers by effective exile in the federal government. (Washington Post)
  • Silicon Valley-funded CounterPAC is the latest PAC founded to get money out of politics. Unlike Mayday or Wolf PAC, CounterPAC plans to convince candidates to take Scott Brown/Elizabeth Warren-style pledges against accepting dark money. (Washington Post)
  • Over two hundred donors have already signed up as members of political action committee Ready for Hillary’s national finance council. Council members include a diverse mix of Democratic and Obama campaign bundlers, longtime Clinton allies, and first-time donors. A spot on the list costs a minimum of $25,000, for a total war chest of at least $5.5 million for the 2016 election. (Washington Post)

International News

  • After the Vietnamese government’s unsuccessful attempts in the late 2000s to regulate the burgeoning social network, Facebook, Vietnamese authorities have turned to a different tactic – reporting accounts belonging to dissidents and activists to Facebook, which appears to have complied by suspending many accounts. (Techdirt)
  • Bahrain, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates are among a host of countries using malware and seemingly innocuous email, Facebook or Twitter messages to discover user IP addresses and allowing governments to associate addresses with targeted email and social media accounts. The tactic has been used recently to ensnare journalists, dissidents and other activists. (Politico)
  • Ongoing disputes over the technicalities of fraudulent vote invalidation continue to threaten to derail Afghanistan’s tenuously brokered vote recount. Presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah’s recount staff have tentatively agreed to attend Monday’s audit. (New York Times)

State and Local News

  • Larry Schwartz, secretary to Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) has agreed to meet with federal prosecutors some time this month as part of the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office’s investigations of possible interference from the governor in the operation of the Moreland Commission, an ostensibly independent commission created by the governor to root out public corruption in Albany. (Wall Street Journal)
  • A Florida judge has ruled that the state must redraw the boundary between the heavily gerrymandered Fifth and Tenth Congressional Districts in the next two weeks. It’s unclear how this redrawing will impact the November 2014 midterm elections, which may have to be postponed if the proposed changes take effect this election cycle. (New York Times)
  • Indiana ethics watchdogs, including Inspector General David Thomas, have expressed frustration regarding a lack of disclosure and transparency in conflicts of interest in state government. The Office of the Inspector General has investigated three high-profile ethics cases this year, much of which could have been avoided with disclosure of conflicts of interest beforehand. (Washington Times)

Events This Week

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