Today in OpenGov: What A Wicked Web Of Campaign Finance We Weave


TOP STORY: Melissa Yeager dug into reader questions about campaign contributions, dark money and more.


  • “We The People” is now more responsive, at least on your mobile device. The White House announced a new mobile-friendly version of the national We The People e-petitioning platform. The responsive Web application is streamlined and includes plainer language in its Terms of Service. White House Chief Digital Officer Jason Goldman went onto Product Hunt today to answer questions about the redesign, along with other topics.
  • Kim Zetter reports on why Congress still has trouble with legislation regarding technology. Spoiler Alert: it’s because it defunded the Office of Technology Assessment. If Congress is going to get smarter about technology, lawmakers should start there. [Wired]
  • The government of Saudi Arabia is spending more money on PR and lobbying in DC. [Washington Post]
  • House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) wrote an op-ed about the Information Technology Modernization Act, a $3.1 billion bill which he says Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) has co-sponsored. [Mercury News]
  • Tim Lee dug into whether agile development and that bill will make a difference in how well the federal government builds, buys and maintains IT. [Vox]
  • A survey by the Knight Foundation found that the leaders of news organizations feel less able to confront First Amendment issues in court. [Knight]
  • The U.S. Digital Service introduced its new digital tool for managing the cases of veterans. [Medium]

State and Local

  • The State of Pennsylvania is going to launch an open data portal. [Fierce Government IT] [Govtech]
  • Wisconsin public officials knew that plans to destroy public records were significant. [Fierce Government IT]
  • Ohio’s supreme court is going to weigh in on a public records debate. []
  • Lessons in transparency from Flint, Michigan. [Govtech]


  •  The World Wide Web Foundation published the newest edition of its Open Data Barometer.  Top insights: “55% of countries in the survey now have an open data initiative in place. Only 10% of government data is published as open data. Half of all open data sets are found in just the top 10 OECD countries.”
  • World Wide Web founder Tim Berners-Lee says reducing “data poverty” is the next frontier in inequality. [Information Age]
  • Toby McIntosh published a valuable analysis of the findings in the Barometer, including warnings of openwashing and a warning about where the push to open data stands. As he notes, the report says  that “only about half of the countries studied have reasonably strong laws to guarantee citizen access to information.” [FreedomInfo]
  • FOI Directory also picked up on the concerns expressed in the report about a worrying situation on freedom of information. [FOI Directory]
  • Relevant: Reporters without Borders published its 2016 World Press Freedom Index. The findings are sobering: “Most of the movement in the World Press Freedom Index unveiled on April 20, 2016 by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is indicative of a climate of fear and tension combined with increasing control over newsrooms by governments and private-sector interests.” [RSF]
  • A new application in Hong Kong helps residents learn what Internet Service Providers know about them. [Global Voices]


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