Today in OpenGov: Lobbying in the transition, ODNI transparency, #PromoteOpenData, Bill Clinton Inc.


ETHICS IN TRANSITION: Citing three anonymous sources, Politico reports that the Clinton campaign has adopted the same strict rules that the Obama campaign did in 2008 to limit the influence of lobbyists in transition. The Clinton campaign has made no public statement on the matter. Sunlight has issued principles for transparency in the transition and called for the campaigns to adopt an Ethics Pledge.

TRANSPARENCY FROM ODNI: Sunlight joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the American Civil Liberties Union and other civil liberty and open government groups in calling on the Director of National Intelligence to follow through on his pledge for more transparency, specifically asking for more answers about an email scanning tool built and deployed at Yahoo. [EFF]

PROMOTE OPEN DATA: If you work at a city that has enacted a new open data policy, here’s a new resource for publicizing it on social media.

BILL CLINTON, INC.: A memorandum hacked from the Clinton Foundation and published by Wikileaks provides a glimpse inside of former President Bill Clinton’s personal and charitable income. The Washington Post reported out what the memo revealed: “aggressive strategy behind lining up the consulting contracts and paid speaking engagements for Bill Clinton that added tens of millions of dollars to the family’s fortune, including during the years that Hillary Clinton led the State Department. It describes how Band helped run what he called ‘Bill Clinton Inc.,’ obtaining ‘in-kind services for the President and his family — for personal travel, hospitality, vacation and the like.'” [Washington Post]


  • Patrice McDermott, the executive director of, argues that we need more sunlight into what political candidates believe about open government. We couldn’t agree more. We hope that all campaigns answer open government questions, including a fundamental one on transparency: “what policies would candidates implement to guarantee and advance public access to government information and sources?” [Houston Chronicle]
  • Joshua Green and Sasha Issenberg reported on the Trump campaign’s use of direct marketing, social media and advertising, including targeted efforts to try to reduce turnout from groups favorable to the opposing campaign. [Bloomberg]
  • Tinder has introduced a guide that enables its users to see which candidate’s positions match their own. (They may not have fully thought through calling it “Swipe the Vote,” though.) [Tinder]
  • Timothy Lee argues that what’s happening online isn’t good for our political process and understanding.

    All democracies require a certain amount of compromise to function well. Our system, with its elaborate system of checks and balances, requires more compromise than most. And compromise requires that people trust that those on the other side of the political aisle are as committed to following the rules as they are. But the internet — and social media in particular — is destroying that trust by filling people’s heads with prejudicial nonsense. If we don’t find ways to help people find more reliable information, it’s going to cause big problems in the long run. [Vox]


  • In a 3-2 vote this morning, the Federal Communications Commission enacted tighter privacy rules for broadband Internet service providers. Now, a company like Verizon and Comcast will need to get an explicit opt-in by a customer before it can use or share browsing data with third parties like data brokers or marketing firms. Access Now praised the decision. [New York Times] [Verge] [Washington Post]
  • U.S. chief information officer Tony Scott issued proposed guidance to modernize the federal government’s use of information technology. The public will have 30 days to comment on the “Information Technology Modernization Initiative“, which would be implemented in 4 phases: “Development of updated Enterprise Roadmaps, Identification and prioritization of systems, Development of modernization profiles for high-priority systems, and execution.”[]
  • The U.S. has secretly expanded is global network of drone bases to North Africa. [Washington Post]
  • The Central Intelligence Agency plans to publish its database of 11 million pages of declassified documents online. [FAS]


  • In a new Civic Hacking Guide, former Philadelphia chief data officer Mark Headd offers advice for people working inside of government who want and need to connect with technologists outside of government. “You can help make this book better by opening an issue if you want to suggest a change,” he writes, making this a truly “open source book.” [READ]
  • Hacks and leaks are not the same as documents released under the Freedom of Information Act. (In case you were confused.) [MuckRock]



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