Today in OpenGov: How to avoid becoming the most corrupt administration in history


DISCLOSURE ISN’T ENOUGH: The least transparent presidential nominee in modern history needs to take immediate steps to avoid becoming the most corrupt president in United States history. Sunlight joined a dozen other organizations and individuals convened by Public Citizen in a letter calling on President-Elect Donald Trump to liquidate his holdings and put them in a blind trust controlled by an independent overseer to remove the unavoidable, unprecedented conflicts of interest between the presidency and a global business empire. [READ MORE]

BUREAU OF SWAMPLAND: Libby Watson and Melissa Yeager: “One of his most sweeping promises, and one of the claims most relevant to us at Sunlight, is that he’ll “drain the swamp” in Washington. This implies to us, in an artfully nonspecific but still powerful way, a lot of possibilities: getting rid of corruption and conflicts of interest, lessening the grip of money in politics and lobbyists, and a change in the establishment. But does Trump look at the swamp in the same way? Looking at the evidence we have so far (such as key transition team members and likely appointees for cabinet roles), that evidence does not point to a swamp-draining. [READ MORE]


  • In a statement posted to, the presidential transition website, President-Elect Donald Trump announced his intention to nominate Senator Jeff Sessions to be the next U.S. Attorney General and U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo to be the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. In the same statement, Trump announced that Lt. General Michael Flynn would be his National Security Advisor. []
  • The announcements end a week of speculation about nominations and are a welcome direct disclosure to the public on the official transition website, as opposed to leaks to the press. Our principles for transparency and accountability in the transition focus on precisely this approach to informing the public about nominations, progress and policies. We hope it continues.
  • The pace of this transition’s personnel announcements is not dramatically behind that of the Obama and Bush transitions. The major difference is transparency. [Quartz]
  • On that count, we hope the Trump transition team’s approach to the press changes radically, soon. Aside from the President-Elect still not holding a press conference (both Bush and Obama did, within 3 days of the election), secrecy and access continue to be an issue. [Atlantic]


  • A $264 million dollar settlement between the Justice Department and J.P. Morgan for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act has made clear the cost of hiring “princelings” abroad. [WSJ]


  • This Tennessee reporter’s experience investigating the Department of Veterans Affairs using the Freedom of Information Act is a reminder of how far the VA has to go on open government. [WJHL]
  • Missouri’s state auditor sent 300 local governments requests for information under the state’s sunshine laws. Her office only received a full response from 30 percent of the government entities, as this report showed. [St. Louis Public Radio]


  • The National Democratic Institute is partnering with Code for All to support building civic technology around the world. [Medium]
  • Turkey’s crackdown after the attempted coup shows how democratic regression to authoritarianism can destroy press freedom. [New York Times]


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