TOP NEWS: An analysis of federal campaign finance reports by the Washington Post found that 41 percent of the money raised for Super Political Action Committees (PACs) came from 50 mega-donors and their relatives. To date, donors have now given more than $607 million to 2,300 super PACs in this campaign cycle.
- Shay Assad, the Department of Defense’s director of pricing, has reportedly saved taxpayers more than $500 million by scrutinizing costs. That attention isn’t endearing him to contractors, who are now trying to use their influence on Capitol Hill to erode the ability of DoD contract officers to require subcontractors to give them cost data. The struggle is a macrocosm of the dynamic between government procurement officers and contractors at every level of government. [Politico]
- In “This Week in Civic Tech,” Jason Shueh cites the Sunlight Foundation’s reporting in his item on how lobbyists from tax filing services are hindering “return-free filing.” [Govtech]
- Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced a bill to enable return-free filing, along with a report detailing how industry has fought making it. ProPublica’s 2013 report on how Intuit fought free tax filing remains a must-read.
- On Tax Day in the U.S., it’s worth thinking through how secure your tax information is. [WSJ]
- No decision on the legality of the FCC’s decision to reclassify Internet Service Providers as utilities today. Brian Fung helpfully explains what’s at stake. [Washington Post]
- As we noted yesterday, Congress is going to debate the merits of open government the default in the federal government. Federal Computer Week, Engadget and Federal News Radio all reported on the news, including remarks by Sunlight Labs director Kat Duffy. NextGov summarized the first draft of the bill.
- If you missed it, White House extended comment on the U.S. draft open source software policy through Monday. There have been 151 issues filed on Github. Sunlight posted our comments already, if you’re interested.
- The National Security Archives published its terrific weekly digest of news about the Freedom of Information Act. The FOIA Advisory Committee is seeking new members.
- ACLU technologist Chris Soghoian appears to have been issued a Virginia license plate that reads GLOMAR. Sunlight Foundation advisor Waldo Jaquith’s Virginia plate has some geek cred as well. [Context: Radio Lab]
- The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has published a number of new reports but is not publishing them online. The Sunlight Foundation believes that CRS reports should be publicly available. [Federation of American Scientists]
- A new report from Symantec found that two thirds of government data breaches are due to negligence. [NextGov]
- A class at the Harvard Kennedy School used Census data to explore income inequality. [Github]
STATE and local
- According to documents released to the Sacramento Bee in response to a public records request, the University of California, Davis spent at least $175,000 trying to scrub negative online references from the Internet regarding the pepper spraying of protesters in 2011. [Sacramento Bee]
- Other public institutions faced with similar negative media are unlikely to find this to be a good use of taxpayer dollars.[New York Times]
- Newly released documents show former N.Y. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver used his position to advance the careers of his mistresses. [WSJ]
- Luke Fretwell made it easy for you to apply to be California’s chief data officer. [Govfresh]
- Despite online-only outlets like ProPublica winning Pulitzer Prizes, some federal agencies and states do not recognize websites or blogs as media organizations, resulting in steep fees or outright denial. Time to update the statutes, where relevant, and for the Department of Justice to issue updated guidance. [MuckRock]
- It’s important for journalists to investigate the algorithms that increasingly govern our lives, but few media organizations have the tools and skills to provide the algorithmic transparency data-driven government and commerce need. [CJR]
- Steve Spiker and Eddie Tejeda are stepping down from the leadership of OpenOakland on May 30. Thank you for your years of work, gentlemen. [OpenOakland]
- The World Bank released the 2016 edition of its World Development Indicators, the most widely used data set in its Open Data Catalog. You can access and analyze data of ~ read the publication and access statistical tables. The Bank has also decided to phase out the term “developing world” in its data publications and databases.The indicators measure progress on the 169 targets of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Goal 16 commits states to “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels,” which has increasingly been tied the Open Government Partnership, including Mexico’s National Action Plan.
- Democracy and accountability are having a positive impact upon corruption in Mauritius. [World Politics Review]
- Investigative journalism has an impact, too: Spain’s minister of industry has resigned in the wake of the Panama Papers. [Public Integrity]
- Many of the lawmakers targeting Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff have corruption issues of their own. [New York Times]
- Regulators in the United Kingdom are considering changes to the transparency surrounding their actions. [WSJ]
- Gambhir Bhatta wrote about the challenges of implementing right to information laws in Asia. [Asian Development Blog]
- The European Union approved new data protection rules. [Engadget]
- Here’s eight broad principles that would fight corruption. [FT]
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