Today in OpenGov: Trump’s Tax Tease


In today’s edition we get another peak at President Trump’s taxes, explore the idea of a congressional digital service, and celebrate Sunshine Week in the states…

Sunshine in the states

  • Thanks to Candace DiLavore for reaching out and sharing Reclaim New York’s new Online Transparency Index! “This platform, a new feature of The New York Transparency Project, allows citizens and elected officials to evaluate their local governments based on a list of indicators we developed to track how transparent and accessible their governments are online,” she explained.
  • Open government is advancing in Rhode Island.  “When Gov. Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island and members of the state’s House of Representatives recently demanded that records relating to one of the biggest and most publicized loan investigations in the state be made public, it was an early Sunshine Week gift for the public and especially for advocates of open government.” (New England First Amendment Coalition via NFOIC)
  • Bipartisan effort pushes Mississippi police to report civil asset forfeiture. “Facing growing bipartisan scrutiny over its unchecked civil asset forfeiture program, Mississippi will now require police to report how much property they seize from citizens under a bill signed into law by Gov. Phil Bryant Monday.” (Reason)


Sunshine week rolls on

  • Which federal agency will win this year’s FOIA March Madness? For the second year in a row MuckRock is asking 64 federal agencies to process an identical FOIA request for standard materials in an effort to crown the Most Responsive Agency. (MuckRock)
  • Congress needs a digital service to modernize and restore public trust. Seamus Kraft, Executive Director of the OpenGov Foundation, made the case for a congressional digital service at a Sunshine Week event on Monday. According to Kraft, “a congressional digital service team…[could] help Congress identify their tech problems and take advantage of…[existing tools] to reverse declining public trust by improving congressional business processes and civic engagement.” (Federal Computer Week)

Trump’s Tax tease

  • President Trump’s 2005 taxes leaked last night. The leak, and subsequent confirmation by the White House, adds a small piece to the picture of Trump’s overall tax record. During the campaign, Trump became the first major party candidate since the 1970’s to refuse to release tax information, despite initially pledging to do so. (POLITICO)
  • Trump’s team has argued that his taxes couldn’t be released because of an IRS audit, but their confirmation of details in this case suggest that any audit is not a real barrier to disclosure.


  • A new report predicts $10 billion in compliance savings from data based reporting. The report by the Data Foundation and PricewaterhouseCoopers encourages replacing document based reporting with standardized open data reporting or Standardized Business Reporting and cites $10 billion as an early-stage estimate. (fedscoop)
  • Top White House aide accused of violating ethics rules. “The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is accusing a top White House official of potentially violating criminal conflict of interest laws by playing a role in meetings with major companies in which he also appeared to have held millions of dollars in stock.” The group filed a complaint against Christopher Liddell who currently serves as an assistant to the president and director of strategic initiatives. (POLITICO)
  • Rex Tillerson used an email alias to discuss climate change while at the head of Exxon Mobil. The office of New York’s attorney general “said in court documents that Exxon hadn’t disclosed that Rex Tillerson, the former chairman and chief executive, used an alias email address to discuss risk-management issues related to climate change. Mr. Tillerson, now the U.S. secretary of state, used the pseudonym “Wayne Tracker” from at least 2008 to 2015, according to the attorney general.” (Wall Street Journal)


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