Today in OpenGov: An open data coalition, marching for tax transparency, and more


In today's edition, we show support for open data legislation, march for Trump tax transparency, develop data in Ukraine, and more…

Washington Watch

  • Sunlight joins more than 80 organizations in support of the OPEN Government Data Act. In a letter to Congress, the coalition consisting of tech companies, trade organizations, and civil society groups, urged quick passage of the bipartisan bill that "would set a presumption that all government data be published in open, machine-readable formats." (FedScoop) You can read the full letter here.
  • A group of undergrads are bringing a technology and data science internship program to the federal government. "The students — Neel Mehta, Athena Kan and Chris Kuang — have partnered with former U.S. deputy CTO and current Harvard adjunct lecturer Nick Sinai, as well as senior leadership at the Census Bureau, Internal Revenue Service and Department of Veterans Affairs, to launch the first-of-its-kind Civic Digital Fellowship." (Federal Computer Week)
  • "Mailing a fake newspaper is not a crime, nor is secretly funding a candidate to do so." Former Sunlighter Jacob Fenton dug up one of the most interesting — if legal — details from the 46 page indictment against former Congressman Steve Stockman. A major donor personally funded $450,000 worth of fake newspapers supporting Stockman's candidacy. Read the whole, complicated story at the Huffington Post.


  • Activists to celebrate tax day with march to release Trump's tax returns. The President's refusal to release his tax returns has been an issue since the campaign. Activists are planning to mark the upcoming deadline to file taxes with roughly 80 "anti-Trump tax marches scheduled on Saturday, April 15."  (NPR)
  • Office of Government Ethics dealing with an explosion of public inquiries and complaints. "A small, previously obscure federal ethics office has catalogued a burst of inquiries and complaints from the public — more than 30,000 — since Donald Trump’s election as president, compared to a few hundred in all of fiscal 2015." (Roll Call)
  • Bannon considered resigning but was talked down by major donor. "Republican mega-donor Rebekah Mercer, a longtime Bannon confidante who became a prominent Trump supporter during the campaign, urged Bannon not to resign. 'Rebekah Mercer prevailed upon him to stay,' said one person familiar with the situation." Bannon was removed from his position on the National Security Council yesterday and sources say that he had threatened to resign if the change went through. (POLITICO)

Around the world

  • Ukraine's participation in the Open Data Charter has been a helpful tool for reform. "Ukraine’s open data journey started in 2015 but has roots dating back to the historic events of 2014 when thousands of Ukrainians came together on the Maidan, Kyiv's central square, to demand greater transparency of government and economic development.  These mass protests, called the Revolution of Dignity, pushed for reforms towards European integration and ultimately led to a change of government." (Open Government Partnership)
  • New report: Not easy to access information about World Bank board of directors. "Requests for documents about the World Bank’s Board of Directors take many months to process and are often unsuccessful, even for very old documents, according to a examination of Bank records." (
  • The EU is helping fund new data journalism projects. "Three major European news agencies, AFP, DPA and ANSA will launch the European Data News Hub in June, while more than a dozen news organizations are behind the European Data Journalism Network, which will begin operations in October." The European Commission is chipping in nearly $2 million to get the projects off the ground. (POLITICO)
  • Congratulations to Ontario and its people on the launch of Code for Canada!  Yesterday, "Ontario Minister of Digital Government Deb Matthews announced the launch of Code for Canada, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping governments build more efficient, digital public services." (BetaKit)


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