Today in OpenGov: Asking Google how to vote, DNC hacks, investigating corruption and more

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HOW DO I VOTE? Google matched public electoral data to public interest with a new state-by-state guide that provides relevant information for people looking for how to vote. [Google]

DEVOLVING: “With the publication of emails expressly aimed at damaging Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy, WikiLeaks has shifted from a global platform for whistle-blowers to something less exalted — and lately, a bit strange. … TIME approached a half dozen groups and prominent individuals who work on the same issues. Only the Sunlight Foundation responded, having earlier posted a detailed critique of the DNC leak, titled ‘ On Weaponized Transparency.’

“‘I’m more afraid of WikiLeaks than I am of the NSA,’ says one American privacy advocate, who would speak only without being further identified, partly out of concern about retribution. ‘When they first burst into our consciousness, they were acting like publishers and journalists. The idea that these rascals were turning the tables on the deep state had great emotional relevance to me. But they turned out not have any principles.'” [TIME]

As we told Good, “The hack of the Democratic National Committee was not the work of a whistleblower sharing private correspondence or records documenting corruption with a journalist. … Some of Wikileaks’ recent activity suggests the organization has evolved from being a platform for whistleblowers to securely leak documents that expose corruption or crime to playing a more overtly partisan political role, which has led to concerns within the open government world.” [GOOD]

TUNE IN: Your faithful correspondent talked to the Department of Better Technology about engaging citizens and making data meaningful. [DOBT]

REMINDER: The Justice Department is soliciting feedback on the proposed extension of the “Release to one, release to all” program across the federal government, encouraging the public to write to ReleaseToAll@usdoj.gov. The Department will invite journalists and members of the public to “provide direct feedback on policy” and the next meeting of the Chief FOIA Officer’s Council. [READ MORE]

CAMPAIGN 2016

  • A hacker released another set of internal Democratic National Committee documents over the weekend, including the email addresses and personal cellphone numbers of almost 200 lawmakers. [New York Times]
  • Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau said that secret ledgers showed $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments for Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort from former President Victor Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012. Manafort has denied receiving funds. [New York Times]
  • Richard Skinner: “Federal Election Commission Commissioner Ann Ravel has proposed banning political contributions by domestic subsidiaries of foreign corporations. This would overturn an advisory opinion produced in 2006 which has been the foundation for subsequent actions by the FEC. Ravel argues that since the Citizens United v. FEC decision has greatly expanded the opportunities for corporate spending in American elections, the FEC needs to revisit its treatment of the political involvement of the subsidiaries of foreign firms.” [READ MORE]
  • The Washington Post fact-checked GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s latest speech on the Islamic State. It took a while. [Washington Post]
  • Rep. Mark Sanford wrote in a New York Times op-ed that Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns will damage transparency. He has not, however, co-sponsored a relevant bill that would mandate that disclosure. [Politico]
  • “Trump, in building a wall around his records, is setting a new standard for secrecy for modern-day candidates.” [Washington Post]
  • Trump has shifted his criticism of the media into a campaign against the First Amendment itself. [The Economist]
  • First Amendment people are not amused and are responding by accurately reporting the candidate’s words in context. [Vox]
  • Related: “The 2016 cycle marks the longest a candidate has gone without a protective press pool for the last 3 elections.” [Politico]
  • Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton announced that former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar would be chairman of her transition planning team. “The campaign said Mr. Salazar would lead four team members: Tom Donilon, who served as national security adviser under President Obama; Jennifer Granholm, the former governor of Michigan; Neera Tanden, the president of the Center for American Progress; and Maggie Williams, the director of Harvard’s Institute of Politics and a longtime Clinton confidante.” [New York Times]
  • As David Sirota reports, Salazar, a former congressman, is a partner at WilmerHale, an influential law firm in Washington. [International Business Times]
  • Paul H. Jossey wrote about how super PACs sapped the energy and resources of the Tea Party movement. [Politico]
  • It’s absolutely critical that states invest in ensuring that the U.S. electoral process is safe, secure and trustworthy — and that means being extremely careful about voting machines and paper audit trails. [New York Times]
  • Reminder: Sunlight is investigating political “dark money” in states this cycle — but we need you to tell us what you’re seeing and reading. [HELP]

NATIONAL

  • The Sunlight Foundation joined 13 organizations in providing feedback to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on its proposed rules for the Freedom of Information Act. [OpenTheGov]
  • The Daily Caller reported that the FBI has opened multiple investigations involving corruption charges against the Clinton Foundation, with prosecutorial support from U.S. attorneys — including Preet Bharara in New York. [Daily Caller]
  • Rep. Randy Hultgren contributed an op-ed arguing for the passage of the Financial Transparency Act, which would mandate that the information reported to federal financial regulatory agencies be submitted as open data. “Such data standards would create a myriad of benefits,” he wrote. “If the regulators adopted consistent data fields and formats for the information they already collect, instead of using PDF documents, they would have a better chance of catching fraudsters like Bernie Madoff and would make better decisions in crises.” [Guardian]
  • Government economic statistics have some issues worth exploring. [Bloomberg View]
  • If you don’t know the story of Colonel Jack Nickerson and the leak prosecution that lost the space race, make sure to read Ian MacDougal’s feature about the first whistleblower charged under the Espionage Act. Of note: “Many of today’s leak cases reaffirm the forgotten lesson of Nickerson’s trial: Prosecution is a far from optimal tool to discourage leaking and protect government secrets.” [The Atlantic]

State and local

  • A scathing government auditor’s report found little to no oversight on California gang database, which included 42 people less than 1-year-old. [Ars Technica]
  • A jury found the attorney general of Pennsylvania guilty of perjury, obstruction and abuse of office. Kathleen Kane was convicted of leaking secret grand jury docs to media and then lying to cover it up. She has resigned. [New York Times]
  • Azeezat Adeleke: “Last spring, Providence’s Office of Innovation, also known as Innovate PVD, partnered with the students and teachers of Public Policy 1802, an undergraduate course at Brown University. This partnership serves as a fantastic model for how local policymakers can work with the academic community in their cities to improve public policy. It also demonstrates how open data policy can serve as a tool to make these partnerships even more productive. Using city data and public information on city hearings, courtesy of the open meetings portal, students conducted research that City Hall could later turn into solutions.” [READ MORE]
  • Deron Lee: “The state of Iowa announced last week that it would no longer allow companies to unilaterally redact information from the public copies of bids for government contracts. The move was the result of a 2015 story by Register reporter Jason Clayworth that first revealed the practice, and a subsequent complaint Clayworth filed with the Iowa Public Information Board. It’s the latest in a series of open-records victories during [Amelie] Nash’s tenure, during which the paper has filed numerous complaints with the Public Information Board and multiple lawsuits to gain access to public records. But Nash is the first to admit that the paper has lost some battles in the fight for transparency too, and even the wins can amount to just holding the line.’I would love to say we’ve made a lot of progress,’  Nash says. ‘We certainly have in many cases. …We continue to claw and claw. Unfortunately, it does continue to be more of a defensive battle.'” [CJR]
  • While some city leaders would love to see Pokémon Go incorporated into the gaming experience, it’s not at all clear whether gamers want the app to become more civic. [Inc]
  • Texas had overhauled its open data portal, prioritizing frequently requested information for release. Good idea! [StateScoop]
  • Neighbors with boats helping neighbors in Louisiana floods. The #CajunNavy is America at its best. [The Hayride]
  • Speaking of NOLA, Louisiana government officials unhappy with the Red Cross performance during the epic March floods earlier this year. [ProPublica]

INTERNATIONAL

  • Wikileaks published dozens of malware links in its latest email dump. This is not something that publishers of journalism in the public interest typically do. [Gizmodo]
  • Hackers released an alleged NSA hacking toolkit online. [Vocativ]
  • Former national security contractor Edward Snowden offered some context and analysis for the code in a tweetstorm:

  • Github removed the code because it violated its Terms of Service, which don’t allow the auction or sale of stolen property on the site. [Motherboard]
  • Bangladesh shut down the Internet and ordered the blocks of news websites earlier in August. [Global Voices]
  • AccessNow is calling on the government of Argentina not to criminalize security research into e-voting. We share their concern: researchers should have incentives to report vulnerabilities. [AccessNow]
  • Alex Tabarrok: “In an interesting paper, Aghion, Algan, Cahuc and Shleifer show that regulation is greater in societies where people do not trust one another.  The graph below, for example, shows that societies with a greater level of distrust have stronger minimum wage laws.  Note that the result is not that distrust in markets is associated with stronger minimum wages but that distrust in general is associated with greater regulation of all kinds.  Distrust in government, for example, is positively correlated with regulation of business.  Or to put it the other way, trust in government (as well as other institutions) is associated with less regulation.” [Marginal Revolution]

EVENTS

  • The “Civil Society Stakeholder Session” originally planned for this spring has been rescheduled for August 23rd in D.C., at the National Archives. [RSVP]
  • Public Citizen is hosting a forum focusing on the ongoing presidential transition teams at the National Press Club in D.C. on Sept. 7. [RSVP]
  • The annual Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) Summit will be in New York City, September 15-16. [RSVP]
  • Etalab and Civic Hall are co-organizing an Open Government Partnership Toolbox sprint in New York City on Sept. 21. [RSVP]
  • There will be an Open Data Research Symposium in Madrid on October 5. [RSVP]
  • The International Open Data Conference will be in Madrid from October 6-7. [RSVP]
  • The Code for America Summit is in Oakland, California on November 1-3. [RSVP]
  • There will be a workshop on Data and Algorithmic Transparency at Columbia University on Nov 19, 2016. Proposals due 9/9. [RSVP]

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