Today in OpenGov: Shutting down the internet is inimical to open government


If 1) public information should be online, 2) access to information is a right, and 3) an informed public is essential to democracy, then shutting down the internet is inimical to open government. Sunlight opposes any government proposal or action that would do so. [#KeepItOn]

SMALL GOVERNMENT, BIG MONEY? Ben Berliner looks into the start of money flowing to the Libertarian presidential ticket. [READ MORE]

MORE OVERTIME, LESS PAC MONEY? Sunlight’s Richard Skinner reports that new rules from the Obama administration expanding the eligibility of salaried employees to receive overtime pay “might actually shrink the pool of potential contributors for corporate-sponsored political action committees, if employers decide to move some employees from salaried to hourly status.” [READ MORE]

TRUMPING TWITTER: After examining the last few weeks of presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump’s deleted tweets, Libby Watson noticed an interesting pattern: “Almost all of the tweets he has deleted are about his appearances on television. [READ MORE]


  • Sunlight has joined more than 30 organizations in a letter calling for the immediate removal of three exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) from the Senate National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2017 (S. 2943). These exemptions create an unnecessary secrecy provision that’s at odds with the goal of FOIA. []
  • Sunlight is also concerned about an emergency exception included in a series of proposed amendments to the Email Privacy Act as it goes before the Senate, significantly complicating the passage of a good bill that would have required law enforcement to get a warrant before reading our Gmail or Dropbox data. [JustSecurity]
  • Related: Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said that checkoff groups should not be exempted from FOIA. [KMA Land]
  • “Streamlining government services with bots” sounds good on first blush, but it’s worth keeping in mind that some inefficiencies in democratic governance may be features, not bugs. [Brookings]
  • On that count, the betaFEC website is looking promising. It’s also a reminder that a superb website cannot fix core governance issues. [18F]
  • Don’t miss this terrific feature on Civis Analytics, data, campaigns and the future of measuring public opinion. [Wired]

State and Local

  • The Empire State has adopted the wrong kind of precedent from the federal government. An appellate court in New York affirmed that state agencies could choose to neither confirm nor deny that public records requested under the state’s Freedom of Information Law exist. “In the process,” reports Jonathan Peters, “the court rejected arguments from a consortium of media organizations — including the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Bloomberg, the Online News Association, the New York Times Company, the Society for Professional Journalists and many others — that had argued in an amicus brief that such responses hinder the media’s ability to keep the public informed. The ruling’s long-term implications aren’t yet clear, but it could represent a significant change in state open-records law.” [Columbia Journalism Review]
  • Hawaii is improving how it organizes and publishes geographic information systems data. [StateScoop]
  • The ACLU says that public records reform in Massachusetts goes a long way toward restoring trust in government. [WGBH]


  • Journalists and activists are being targeted in Russia. Investigative journalists play a crucial role in reporting corruption. Vilifying and attacking them is undemocratic. [Index on Censorship]
  • Ukraine is struggling to throw off the weight of corruption. [New York Times]
  • Nicole Anand of Reboot shared three principles for building communities of practice. [Open Government Partnership]
  • Here’s a wrap up of TransparencyCamp EU from Open State Foundation. []


  • The 2016 Personal Democracy Forum is ongoing in New York City. Look for Sunlight’s John Wonderlich, Josh Stewart or your faithful correspondent if you’re here, and tune into the livestream if you’re not.

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