Today in OpenGov: Useful government data, Trump gets an F for transparency, and more…


In today's edition, we ask how government data can be truly useable, keep up on the latest news around the Trumps and transparency, follow a Russian protest movement, and more…

washington watch

  • In his first 100 days as President, Donald Trump has established the worst open government record in modern history.  This week, Sunlight joined 16 other organizations and individuals in a similar assessment: "In a statement issued today, a group of 17 organizations and individuals with expertise in governance issues gives President Donald Trump an F for his performance on government integrity, transparency and accountability in the first 100 days of his presidency." Read the full statement here
  • President Trump's inaugural committee broke records for fundraising — and corporate influence to start an administration. This story from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette details some of the companies and individuals from western Pennsylvania who gave lavishly to help the president throw his inaugural celebration. It's worth remembering that the committee still hasn't disclosed how much it spent, on what, or how much remains to donate to charity.
  • Kushner business ties raise conflict questions. A partnership between Jared Kushner and an Israeli tycoon under investigation for bribery in at least four countries "underscores the mystery behind [Kushner's] family's multibillion-dollar business and its potential for conflicts with his role as perhaps the second-most powerful man in the White House, behind only his father-in-law, President Trump." (New York Times)
  • Ivanka Trump's potential conflicts in White House role may eclipse even her father's. "On April 25, presidential daughter Ivanka Trump joined a panel on women entrepreneurs in Berlin, where the moderator asked: 'What is your role, and who are you representing, your father as president of the United States, the American people, or your business?; Ivanka Trump said she wasn’t there for her firm, but the question crystallized her situation, which is rife with potential conflicts of interest and legal pitfalls, perhaps even more so than President Donald Trump’s." (Bloomberg)
  • Vacancies on Merit Systems Protection Board worry whistleblowers and advocates. "The persistence of two vacancies on the three-member Merit Systems Protection Board worries whistleblowers and their advocates who are concerned that statutory protections are not being enforced." (Government Executive)


states and cities

  • Open data is here, now it's time to focus on making is useable. "Open data policies are now common at every level of government. We've moved beyond the need to celebrate it as special. Rather, we should regard it as a minimum and core requirement of government." (Data-Smart City Solutions)
  • Vermont Governor launches digital services agency and appoints CIO to push modernization. "On April 17, IT in Vermont officially shifted, when a new Agency of Digital Services (ADS) took the place of the Department of Information and Innovation. The goal? To refresh that state’s efforts in modernization. This move is part of Gov. Phil Scott's strategy to manage the state’s IT infrastructure more effectively." (Government Technology)
  • Massachusetts Governor, supervisor of public records spar over access to records. Advocates "for greater government transparency are applauding the state supervisor of public records for questioning Gov. Charlie Baker’s assertion that his office is not subject to the Public Records Law." The governor's office has long relied on a court decision from the 1990's to withhold records. (CommonWealth Magazine)

around the world

  • Building a tool to track EU subsidy data was easier said than done. " is a tool that enables the user to visualize, analyze and compare subsidy data across the European Union thereby enhancing transparency and accountability in Europe. To make this happen we first had to collect the datasets from each EU member state and scrape, clean, map and then upload the data. Collecting the data was an incredible frustrating process, since EU member states publish the beneficiary data in their own country (and regional) specific portals which had to be located and often translated." (Open Knowledge)
  • Russian protest movement plans to continue, despite attack by Attorney General. "Despite being outlawed today by the Attorney General, opposition movement 'Open Russia' says it’s continuing all operations, including plans for nationwide anti-Putin protests this Saturday. Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the movement’s founder, wrote on Twitter that he’s “proud” to see his brainchild in the government’s crosshairs." (Global Voices)

save the dates

  • #TCampAZ is coming up on May 22 in Phoenix. Learn more on Facebook and get your tickets hereThis one-day unconference will bring together the government representatives, developers and journalists to solve problems relating to civic data access. TCamp participants design the agenda, present their ideas and dive into the challenges, success stories and new possibilities during morning and afternoon breakout sessions. It is being hosted by the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting with key partners including Sunlight, Galvanize, and the Institute for Digital Progress.
  • April 28th, 11:00 AM: Digital Inclusion Asset Mapping, Connect Chicago Meetup in Chicago, Illinois. "At the next Connect Chicago Meetup we will break into working groups to co-build a better shared inventory of public digital inclusion resources and assets." Learn more here
  • May 6th: Sustainable Development Goals Data Archive-a-thon in Washington, DC. The SDG Data Archive-a-thon is an opportunity for programmers, archivists, scientists and volunteers of all kinds to help preserve publicly accessible federal data resources in the public interest. The goal of this event is to archive the datasets used to report on the SDG indicators and to ensure they remain accessible to the public online. This event is hosted by the Center for Open Data Enterprise. Learn more and register to participate here
  • May 17th and 18th: Reboot Congress 2017 and the Kemp Forum in Washington, DC. "Held in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol, Reboot Congress 2017, is an invite-only conversation that will bring together a dynamic mix of problem solvers – civic tech innovators, engineers and designers, elected officials, senior staffers, policy experts, and other stakeholders working to modernize Congress." Learn more here.
  • May 17th: The 2017 Door Stop Awards in Washington, DC. "Lincoln Network and The OpenGov Foundation are joining forces to present the 2017 Door Stop Awards for Congressional Innovation and Transparency. Awards will be presented on May 17, 2017 in Washington, D.C. at an evening party as part of Reboot Congress." Learn more here.
  • May 19th and 20th: Global Legislative Openness Conference in Kyiv, Ukraine. "This 2-day event is hosted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, organized by the Legislative Openness Working Group of the Open Government Partnership and Open Parliament Initiative in Ukraine. The event will convene leading legislators, government officials, and civil society representatives to consider how legislative openness can strengthen public trust in representative institutions and build a responsive, 21st century legislature. In addition, the conference will explore how parliaments can best leverage the Open Government Partnership's new legislative engagement policy to develop and implement legislative openness plans and commitments." Learn more here. 
  • June 8th and 9th: Personal Democracy Forum 2017 in New York City. "The annual flagship conference brings together close to 1,000 top technologists, campaigners, hackers, opinion-makers, government officials, journalists, and academics for two days of game-changing talks, workshops, and networking opportunities to celebrate the power and potential of tech to make real change happen." Learn more about #PDF17 and get your tickets here.
  • September 11th and 12th: TicTec@Taipei in Taipei. "TICTeC@Taipei is the first ever conference about the influence of civic tech to be held in Asia. We’ve invited members of academia, business, politics, NGOs, education to participate, and discuss their research. We hope through this event, we can build a global network of civic tech enthusiasts." The event is being held during #CivicTechFest 2017. Learn more, submit a session proposal, and register to attend here
Are you hosting an event that you'd like to see highlighted in this newsletter? Please let us know by sending a quick email to with a brief description and a link to the event page.


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