Today in OpenGov: Transition in transition, transnational anti-bribery regime and what’s in Mike Pence’s emails


INFLUENCE ABROAD: As Richard Skinner explores on the blog today, a series of laws, regulatory reforms and the American business community have helped to mitigate the influence of transnational bribery around the world, but much work remains.

Many countries still do not effectively enforce their laws against transnational bribery. Liability remains unclear in some areas, such as that involving subsidiaries of multinational corporations and for firms that have taken over companies that turn out to have engaged in bribery. The United States allows for “facilitation payments,” but many other nations do not. Some have proposed that the FCPA be amended to allow for a “compliance defense,” which would allow corporations to argue that they had taken sufficient precautions to prevent bribery. Critics of the FCPA are concerned that much of the law is too vague, that enforcement is too aggressive and that the Department of Justice has been excessively focused on non prosecution and deferred prosecution agreements. But many observers agree that the transnational bribery regime has improved the ethical climate for doing business worldwide. [READ MORE]



  • The Trump transition is going through a transition. As indicated in the organization structure diagram above, which is circulating in Washington, former Member of Congress Mike Rogers has resigned.  [Washington Post]
  • The premium the transition appears to be placing on loyalty is raising comparison to the Bush transition, but the turmoil looks more like Clinton in 1992. [Politico]


  • The organizational structure of the policy teams are also circulating, as shown in the image above. Per deputy US CTO Cori Zarek at the final meeting of the interagency Open Government Workgroup today at the U.S. National Archives, the White House hasn’t been contacted by anyone on the transition team regarding open government issues yet. They have transition materials prepared. We’re tracking.
  • Norm Eisen and Richard Painter, the ethics counsels in the Obama and Bush White Houses, explored why the blind trust proposed by the Trump transition for Trump Organization assets is neither blind nor trustworthy and recommended steps to ensure unprecedented conflicts of interest don’t enter the Oval Office on Inauguration Day. [Washington Post]
  • No, you can’t FOIA the transition. Please us know if you find anything surprising on, though!  [MuckRock]
  • You can follow the money on potential nominees and the transition team. [OpenSecrets]


  • A representative from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence apologized today for the lack of an “Open” page at and told Sunlight that they will publish a 2016 Open Government plan before the change in administration. Two months after the White House Office of Management and Budget’s deadline, the Interior Department and Treasury Department still have not published an open government plan. DHS has quietly uploaded one.
  • In a later to the incoming Trump administration, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty claimed technology and fraud analytics could save the US government $1 trillion. We’re skeptical, but curious to hear more. [CNBC]
  • People interested in using data science for public good will find Paola Villarreal’s research of interest. [Berkman-Klein]


  • The administration of Vice-President elect Mike Pence, who serves as Governor of Indiana, is going to court to try to keep an email and attached white paper sent from a political ally secret. [Indianapolis Star]


  • The United Kingdom is considering removing a right of appeal for Freedom of Information requests. This is a terrible idea. []
  • Freedom House released its 2016 State of the Net report. Key trend: “Internet freedom around the world declined in 2016 for the sixth consecutive year.” Key stat: ’67 percent of all Internet users live in countries where criticism of the government, military, or ruling family are subject to censorship.”[Washington Post]
  • While it might surprise many Americans to think about it this way, in many ways, the U.S. intelligence services are more open and transparent than those of other countries. [The Economist]


  • Transparency and Freedom of Information in the digital age at Berkman-Klein in Cambridge, MA, on Nov. 17. [RSVP]
  • There will be a workshop on Data and Algorithmic Transparency at Columbia University on Nov. 19. [RSVP]
  • There will be a look at the Open Government Partnership after 5 years a the OpenGovHub in DC on Nov. 21. [RSVP]
  • The Open Government Partnership’s Global Summit will be Dec. 7-9 in Paris, France.
  • The Public Interest Declassification Board will hold a public meeting to “discuss recommendations for improved transparency and open government for the new Presidential Administration” in DC on Dec. 8. [RSVP].
  • What events will YOU be attending over the next six months? Write to

Tired of your boss/friend/intern/uncle forwarding you this email every morning? You can sign up here and have it delivered direct to your inbox!

We want to find and share the most important stories about open government around the world from the past 24 hours here. To do that, we’ll need YOUR help. Please send your tips and feedback at If you would like to suggest an event, email us by 7 a.m. on the Monday prior to the event.