Today in OpenGov: Hillary’s PAC, Obama’s records, Trump’s taxes, and more…


In today's edition, Hillary takes action, Obama's records get digitized, Florida fights off an open meetings threat, a free press remains vital for open government, and more…

states and cities

Image credit: Alyssa Doom
  • Portland, Oregon City Council enacts open data policy. Yesterday, Sunlight was proud to be in Portland, Oregon as their city council enacted a brand new open data policy. Follow Alyssa Doom, Alexis Estevez, and the Portland Budget Office on Twitter for more.  
  • New York State has the power to release President Trump's tax returns, but do they have the will? "On April 26, State Assemblyman David Buchwald and state Senator Brad Hoylman introduced legislation to release state tax returns filed by the president and certain other elected officials. Specifically, the law would require the state tax authority to post on its website the past five years of returns filed by the president and vice president, the state’s two U.S. senators, as well as the governor, lieutenant governor, state comptroller and state attorney general." New York, being Trump's home state, has a unique position in the fight over Trump's tax transparency. (POLITICO Magazine)
  • Florida legislature declines to weaken state open meetings law. "A change that critics said will neuter the state’s Sunshine Laws by allowing any two elected officials of a local governing body to meet without notice in private failed in the House on Tuesday. The bill (HB 843), filed by Naples Republican Byron Donalds, received a vote of 68-48—less than the two-thirds needed to change the open meetings law." (Florida First Amendment Foundation)

money talks

Image Credit: Nick Ares
  • Hillary Clinton planning to launch a PAC to help organizations, 2018 congressional candidates. "…The initial focus will be on lifting up organizations that are the product of the energy and activism she has seen since the election, and existing groups that have been reignited and reinvigorated by that energy." The PAC will also support 2018 congressional candidates. (Axios)
  • Trump executive order will let religious groups get political, keep tax exempt status. "President Trump is set to sign an executive order on Thursday that aims to relax restrictions on political activity by religious groups without threatening their tax-exempt status." (NPR)
  • Former Trump campaign manager Lewandowski's firm will lobby for Citgo. "A firm co-founded by Donald Trump’s initial campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, quietly agreed to lobby for the oil company Citgo as the company, which is owned by the leftist government of Venezuela, was becoming increasingly embroiled in tensions involving the United States, Venezuela and Russia." (POLITICO)
  • Despite supposed restrictions, Trump transition team flocking to K Street. "Donald Trump promised last year to “drain the swamp” of Washington, starting with barring people who worked on his presidential transition from lobbying for six months afterward…But three months after Trump moved into the White House, at least nine people who worked on his transition have registered as lobbyists, highlighting holes in the president’s pledge to keep people from cashing in on government service." (POLITICO)

elsewhere in washington

  • Obama's archives are going digital. "The National Archives and Records Administration will start digitizing the unclassified records of the Obama administration, using a new model for the storage of presidential records." (Federal Computer Week)
  • Trump dismantles "shadow cabinet" amid increasing tensions with real cabinet. "The White House is quietly starting to pull the plug on its shadow Cabinet of Trump loyalists who had been dispatched to federal agencies to serve as the president’s eyes and ears…These White House-installed chaperones have often clashed with the Cabinet secretaries they were assigned to monitor, according to sources across the agencies, with the secretaries expressing frustration that the so-called 'senior White House advisers' are mostly young Trump campaign aides with little experience in government." (POLITICO)
  • New report examines the future of the DATA Act and spending transparency. The report, released by the Data Foundation and Deloitte, "The report describes how the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) of 2014 (PL No. 113-101), the nation’s first open data law, is set to evolve beyond the law’s statutory implementation deadline of November 2021. The report lays out a comprehensive long-term vision for the DATA Act." Read the full report here

around the world

  • Open government cannot exist without a free press. "A free press (including social media) is essential for open government because it allows citizens and government to communicate with – and trust – one another," writes Dietlind Lerner. "As the Open Government Partnership continues to grow and realize its potential as a countervailing force to closed government, our need for independent media will become even stronger, going beyond any [National Action Plan]-related coverage we might receive." (Open Government Partnership) Yesterday was World Press Freedom Day, learn more here.
  • UNESCO quietly adopted an access to information policy in March. "The policy was developed in a closed internal process, despite calls by civic groups for UNESCO to issue a draft policy and hold consultations. (See previous article.)…UNESCO [previously] had some internal rules on what should be confidential, but no disclosure policy resembling a national FOI law. UNESCO is the UN agency charged with supporting access to information internationally." Read more about the policy on
  • A conversation with the Mayor of Seoul, South Korea on scaling direct democracy in the Digital Age. "On a recent visit to Seoul, I met with Mayor Won Soon Park to discuss the possibility of scaling up the experience of deliberative democracy from small groups to a megacity with millions of residents." (Richard Bartlett on Civicist)

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.
  • 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.
  • June 27th: Legislative Data and Transparency Conference in Washington, DC. "The Legislative Data and Transparency Conference 2017 (#LDTC17), hosted by the Committee on House Administration, will take place on Tuesday, June 27, 2017in the Capitol Visitor Center Congressional Auditorium. The #LDTC17 brings individuals from Legislative Branch agencies together with data users and transparency advocates to foster a conversation about the use of legislative data – addressing how agencies use technology well and how they can use it better in the future." Learn more here
  • June 29th: DATA Act Summit 2017 in Washington, DC. "The fourth annual DATA Act Summit, hosted by the Data Coalition and Booz Allen Hamilton, will bring together supporters of the open data transformation from across government and the private sector." Learn more 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


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