Today in OpenGov: Sources and methods, stock trades, riot gear, and more


In today's edition, we wrap our heads around reports that President Trump disclosed highly classified intelligence information to the Russian foreign minister, POLITICO explores the stock trading habits of members of Congress, MuckRock tracks local spending on riot gear, and much more…


  • Yesterday afternoon, the Washington Post reported that President Trump revealed highly classified information about Islamic State operations during a meeting with Russian officials last week. The report was independently confirmed by other news sources including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, BuzzFeed, and Reuters. The White House did not deny the specifics of the report, but did make it clear that the President did not discuss "sources and methods" during the conversation. For a deeper analysis of this evolving story we recommend reading this post on the Lawfare blog.
  • Trump will release 2016 personal financial disclosure. "President Donald Trump is preparing to go public with information about how last year shaped his personal fortune, a White House official says…The plan was disclosed Monday as Vice President Mike Pence filed his own 2016 personal financial disclosure form with the Office of Government Ethics." (Associated Press)
  • ACLU files FOIA for documents related to Comey firing. "The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Monday filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request demanding records about President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey." (The Hill)
  • Meanwhile, OpenTheGovernment calls on DOJ IG to preserve Comey records. "Today, OpenTheGovernment called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General to take immediate action to ensure the preservation of and public access to records relating to the dismissal of former FBI Director James Comey." (
  • White House seeking public comment on ways to reform the federal government. "White House officials have set a deadline of one month from now for members of the public to offer their suggestions on how to reform the federal government." Comments can be submitted via this White House page.

states and cities

Image Credit: Government Accountability Office
  • Notoriously tech-resistant Virginia legislature to stream some proceedings. "The Virginia General Assembly will stream some committee meetings over the Internet next session, a milestone for a body that has resisted this sort of technology." (Daily Press via NFOIC)
  • Document requests reveal large outlays for police riot gear. "We’ve all seen the lines of police at protests donning head to toe armor, batons and/or launchers at the ready, glowering down at protesters through face shields. But how much does all that gear cost? According to the early returns on riot gear budgeting requests we have been filing, quite a lot." (MuckRock)
  • The GAO celebrates National Transportation Week with a look at "Intelligent Transportation Systems". "Intelligent Transportation Systems, or ITS, can make using public transit easier for you, from improving how fares are collected to providing real-time information on the status of your ride. Some transit agencies have even made their data open to the public so you can use your smart phone to plan your trip or pay your fare." (GAO WatchBlog)
  • Profiling Boston's Citywide Analytics Team. "In Boston, when an ambulance arrives at an address in under six minutes, when a resident’s call to 311 is answered in less than 30 seconds, or when a restaurant inspector finds a health code violation before anyone gets sick, there is one common thread — Boston’s Citywide Analytics Team. The team is on a mission to improve the way the City of Boston delivers services using the power of data." (Data-Smart City Solutions)

washington watch

Image Credit: POLITICO
  • Members of Congress trade stocks that may present conflicts of interest. "POLITICO found that 28 House members and six senators each traded more than 100 stocks in the past two years, placing them in the potential cross hairs of a conflict of interest on a regular basis. And a handful of lawmakers, some of them frequent traders and some not, disproportionately trade in companies that also have an interest in their work on Capitol Hill." (POLITICO)
  • Hillary Clinton officially launches new dark money group. "Hillary Clinton formally announced a new political group — Onward Together — on Monday, describing in a series of tweets the endeavor, her first since losing the November election." The group, structured as a 501(c)(4) will be able to accept unlimited contributions without revealing its donors. (BuzzFeed)
  • House Oversight Chairman to take job at Fox News? "Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) is reportedly telling House Republicans he is planning to take on a role on Fox News." (The Hill)
  • New report outlines steps that Congress can take to accelerate data innovation. The report, from the Center for Data Innovation, "lays out 10 concrete steps Congress can take in 2017 to accelerate how data is collected, shared, and used in the United States." Read it here

Upcoming Events

  • #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 17th: Reboot Congress 2017 and the 2017 Doorstop Awards 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 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." Check out the panels and 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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