Today in #OpenGov 8/8/2014


Keep reading for today’s look at #OpenGov news, events, and analysis, including extensive D.C. lobbying on Argentina’s debt,  four new partners in the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition initiative, and increased charter school transparency in North Carolina.

A newspaper with the headline Open Gov

National News

  • Despite the veritable deluge of outside group spending this election cycle, Democratic and Republican strategists all insist that superPAC support doesn’t win elections–it can only move the needle by a point or two. (The Hill)
  • As the looming threat of Argentina’s debt default draws nearer, the country has stepped up its lobbying efforts in the United States, holding seminars in the Capitol Visitors Center, running full page ads in major newspapers, and meeting with senior legislative officials from both sides of the aisle. (Washington Post)
  • The D.C. District Court has rejected Tea Party group True the Vote’s bid to have a court-appointed forensics expert search for IRS official Lois Lerner’s emails. Judge Reggie Walton said that the group had failed to demonstrate “irreparable harm” and that there was little evidence that the IRS had intentionally destroyed evidence. (Politico)
  • At yesterday’s VA reform bill signing ceremony, President Obama lauded the legislation for its streamlined firing process for senior executives, and suggested that such a practice might benefit government more generally. He also emphasized the importance of strong whistleblower protections. (GovExec)

International News

  • While many Indonesia have felt that government has lagged substantially behind industry in embracing technology in governance, officials from the President’s Delivery Unit of Development Monitoring and Oversight have begun building a website that will allow citizens to report on their interactions with government and plan to launch an open data portal later this month. (Tech in Asia)
  • The Ghana Open Data Initiative, Sierra Leone, IBM and Kellogg Company have joined the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition project, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit yesterday. The more than 100-partner collaboration seeks to make agriculture and nutrition data available for free and unrestricted use around the world. (allAfrica)

State and Local News

  • Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is steering clear of an ethics investigation into an ally on the City Council. Alderman Patrick O’Connor backed an ordinance limiting the ability of the Legislative Inspector General to investigate campaign finances after the Chicago Board of Ethics gave the Inspector General permission to inspect O’Connor’s campaign finances. (Chicago Tribune)
  • North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has signed into law a bill that requires charter schools in the state to adhere to the state’s public records and meetings laws, although it does not provide for disclosure of all spending information for the notoriously opaque charter school system. (WWAY)
  • The executive director of Pennsylvania’s Office of Open Records, Terry Mutchler, has been waiting for three months for Governor Tom Corbett to fire or reappoint her. Mutchler’s six-year term expired in May, byt Corbett’s office told reporters that the governor will decide on Mutchler’s reappointment “at the appropriate time.” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
  • Vermont’s campaign finance filing and reporting system has finally gone electronic. The state has long-relied on handwritten and hardcopy filings, which will be phased out for good in January of 2015. (Burlington Free Press)

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