Today in Open Gov: #DemocracySpring?


More than 400 people were arrested at the U.S. Capitol on Monday protesting the influence of money on politics after a 130 mile march from Philadelphia. The coalition of more than 100 progressive groups behind “Democracy Spring” say they’ll keep protesting until April 18.

The Sunlight Foundation strongly supports voters getting more details about money in politics and encourages you to use the resources from the Money, Politics and Transparency Project.


  • Dan Verton reports that the General Service Administration (GSA) is lobbying Congress to create a third service branch called the Technology Transformation Service centered around 18F. The service would consolidate the Office of Integrated Technology Services, the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, and the Office of Information, Integrity and Access. The GSA declined to comment. [Meritalk]
  • The commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission commented on the potential of distributed ledger technology — often referred to as the “blockchain”- to improve the transparency of the capital and hedging markets the CFTC and other regulators oversee. [CFTC]
  • An extract from Wendell Potter and Nick Penniman’s book on money in politics cited the Sunlight Foundation’s work tracking influence in Washington. [Guardian]
  • A coalition of privacy and civil liberties groups, including the Sunlight Foundation, filed a petition opposing the National Security Agency sharing raw surveillance data with domestic law enforcement agencies. [SC Magazine]
  • The International Journal of Information Management published “Liberating data for public value: The case of”. The journal article is available to the public for $19.95. [ScienceDirect]
  • The National Weather Service will stop using ALL CAPS in its forecasts. Fortunately, NOAA will still “yell” about SEVERE WEATHER ALERTS, which means the public should be slightly more likely to take note of dire warnings about tornadoes, hurricanes or Snowmageddon. [NOAA]

STATE and local

  • The Knight Foundation announced the 37 winners of its Knight Cities Challenge. Here are three themes that tied them together: “The biggest category of projects revolves around the theme of restoring life back to public or vacant spaces. The economy was also a theme; specifically projects that aim to facilitate or prepare our cities for a changing urban economy were prominent. Together those two themes make up more than 50 percent of the winners. There were also clusters of projects around changing community narratives as well as bridging community divides. Finally, projects that seek to promote engagement and strengthen civic life were also well represented.” [Knight Foundation]
  • An analysis by FiveThirtyEight found that gun violence has spiked and arrests declined in Chicago after the release of a video of the killing of Laquan McDonald. The analysis used open data from the City of Chicago’s portal. A similar spike in 911 response times occurred in New York City at the end of 2014. In that case, response times returned to their historical norms.
  • San Francisco supervisors and their aides are using an encrypted messaging app that deletes texts automatically. [SF Chronicle] The Information reported that Telegram was offering officials a way around public records laws in March.
  • The Arizona House of Representatives isn’t backing down from limiting access to the floor. “There are a lot of relationships that are built by having access to the floor, to be able to talk to lawmakers and see who they’re interacting with,” said Sunlight’s own Melissa Yeager. “It creates better reporting when people can have a conversation and ask questions. Putting someone up in the balcony, where they don’t have that sort of access, will definitely hinder reporting.”[Tucson Sentinel]
  • Victorville, California’s open data policy is set, with rollout to follow. Sunlight has been working with the city over the past year. [Daily Press]
  • The departure of software engineer Gabriel Farrell from government employment in Philadelphia highlights a key challenge for mayors in every city, particularly if the advantages of insourcing technology become clear: what will municipalities do to attract and retain talent? []
  • There is an ongoing federal corruption investigation into New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fundraising and the actions of NY police commanders.
  • JOB: The District of Columbia is looking for a chief data officer.


  • The Italian parliament passed Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s constitutional reforms, setting the stage for a referendum later this year. Eye-opening detail: the Northern League party used a algorithm to send 82 million amendments to the bill before it went before the Senate. The effort to effectively DDoS the bill failed. [Reuters]
  • A committee in Brazil’s Congress voted to impeach President Dilma Rousseff, which means a full vote in the lower house will come later this week. [Guardian]
  • As the impact of the Panama Papers resounds around the world, U.S. officials are reacting cautiously. [Public Integrity]
  • Source News published a Q&A on the people and technology behind the Panama Papers.


Tired of your boss/friend/intern/uncle forwarding you this email every morning? You can sign up here and have it delivered direct to your inbox! You can follow the progress of relevant bills, court cases, and regulations using Scout.

We want to find and share the most important stories about open government around the world from the past 24 hours here. To do that, we’ll need YOUR help. Please send your tips and feedback at If you would like suggest an event, email us by 7 am on the Monday prior to the event.