Today in OpenGov: Appointing a special prosecutor, a big donation for Illinois’ governor, and more…


In today's edition, finalists are announced for the NYC BigApps competition, the campaign for governor of Illinois gets a $20 million shake up, the DOJ appoints a special prosecutor, Spain and Brazil deal with corruption, and much more…

states and cities

Kansas City's digital inclusion map
  • NYC BigApps finalists announced. "Since the launch of the competition in January 2017, over 500 people have participated in exploring how data and technology can improve the quality of life for New York City youth, seniors, and immigrants across three challenge categories: Transportation, Knowledge, and Community Resiliency." (BigApps NYC) You can learn more about the finalist expo and awards ceremony here.
  • Designing and displaying data for meaningful civic interactions. "Rather than simply display new information to the user, they compel the user to learn, reflect, and sometimes act. When thinking about advocacy and civic engagement, strategic design starts with a few simple questions: Who do I want to use this? Why do I want them to use this? What do I want to happen when they use this? What do I want to happen after they use this?" (Smart Chicago Collaborative)
  • Kansas City, Missouri is trying to ensure that all of its citizens are included in smart city upgrades. "Kansas City’s smart city infrastructure is strong, strong and advancing rapidly. Now, as it continues to move forward, city officials have added a new data visualization map aimed at keeping track of digital inclusion efforts as well, so that all populations within the city will benefit from the technological growth of its infrastructure." (Government Technology)


Illustration: Jim Cook/GMG
  • Special prosecutor appointed by Department of Justice. "The Justice Department’s decision to name former FBI Director Robert Mueller to investigate possible collusion with Russia by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign rocked an already reeling capital Wednesday." The appointment raises a number of questions around the scope of the inquiry, how long the investigation may last, and how it will effect the ongoing probes by various congressional committees. (POLITICO)
  • No matter what happens next, we must have transparency. Sunlight's Executive Director John Wonderlich explained that "Regardless of where the next steps lead, transparency will be essential to the credibility of our political institutions. A public that has contended with disinformation, dishonesty, and partisan response will need access to primary documents and records whenever possible…The road back to credibility must be paved with transparency, not just good intentions." (Sunlight Blog)
  • Meanwhile, we've started tracking the President's attacks on transparency. Read the whole list here and please consider sending us your stories of more positive or negative examples of transparency and accountability under President Trump.
  • Investigation by Gizmodo and ProPublica raises serious concerns about network security at Mar-a-Lago, other Trump properties frequented by the President. "The risks posed by the lax security, experts say, go well beyond simple digital snooping. Sophisticated attackers could take advantage of vulnerabilities in the Wi-Fi networks to take over devices like computers or smart phones and use them to record conversations involving anyone on the premises." (Gizmodo)

money talks

Image Credit: Nick Ares
  • Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner got a $20 million donation for his reelection bid. "Billionaire hedge fund founder Ken Griffin has contributed $20 million to Republican Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s re-election bid, adding fuel to a 2018 race where there are no campaign contribution limits." Perhaps unsurprisingly, the race – which features a multimillionaire Kennedy and a Billionaire Pritzker in the Democratic primary — is expected to be among the most expensive governors races. (Bloomberg)
  • Bernie Sanders missed the deadline to file his personal financial disclosure with the Senate. "Sanders's Senate office missed the annual deadline to file his personal financial disclosure on Monday, instead requesting and receiving a 20-day extension." Sanders requested, and received, multiple extensions to file similar documents with the FEC during the 2016 presidential campaign. (The Hill)
  • Pence launches leadership PAC. "Pence launched Great America Committee, a leadership PAC, a move that will enable him to channel money to congressional Republicans ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. The political action committee’s registration was posted Wednesday on the Federal Election Commission website." Neither Joe Biden or Dick Cheney had a fundraising vehicle while in office, but George H.W. Bush "formed the Fund for America’s Future when he was preparing for his 1988 presidential run". (Bloomberg)
  • UnitedHealth accused of overcharching feds by more than $1 billion. "The Justice Department has accused insurance giant  UnitedHealth Group of overcharging the federal government by more than $1 billion through its Medicare Advantage plans." (Center for Public Integrity)

around the world

Image Credit: overdrive_cz on Flickr
  • Brazil faces fallout amid fresh corruption charges. "Brazil was plunged back into a political crisis reminiscent of last year’s impeachment saga following reports that President Michel Temer was embroiled in an alleged cover-up scheme involving the jailed former speaker of the lower house of Congress." (Bloomberg)
  • Meanwhile, Brazil's Right to Information law is celebrating its 5th birthday. "Two reports released as the Brazilian access law turns five year old reveal both progress and challenges, particularly in states and municipalities." (
  • Ongoing corruption cause for concern in Spain. "For years, corruption has been ranked as the second biggest cause for concern after unemployment. The combination of a seemingly never-ending series of graft scandals and a devastating economic crisis has led many to question hitherto esteemed Spanish institutions and shaken up the political landscape. Yet even the harshest critics of the establishment praise the work of rank-and-file judges." (POLITICO)

save the dates

Image Credit: Ricky Leong
  • #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 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 12th through 14th: Canadian Open Data Summit in Edmonton, Canada. "The Canadian Open Data Summit (CODS) is an annual event where the most pressing challenges facing the open data and open government communities are addressed on a national scale." Learn more 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.


Tired of your boss/friend/intern/uncle forwarding you this email every morning? You can sign up here and have it delivered direct to your inbox! Please send questions, comments, tips, and concerns to We would love your feedback!