Glendale, AZ wants open data feedback, the weekend in Trumpland, and more…


Don't forget that Transparency Camp is happening today in Phoenix, Arizona! IIf you weren't able to make it in person you can follow along on Twitter using #TCampAZ

In today's edition, Glendale, AZ asks for open data feedback, we try to keep you up to date on the latest from the Trump White House, Brazil's president fights mounting pressure over corruption allegations, and more…

a whirlwind weekend

Image Credit: Kentucky National Guard
President Trump is on his first international trip as president. Yesterday he was in Saudi Arabia to give a major speech. The stop in Saudi Arabia was also marked by $300 billion worth of business deals between the kingdom and the United States. As it turns out, the president's commercial interests already include at least 8 companies in Saudi Arabia, but the lack of public detail about the president's business empire makes it hard to know much else about them or his other international holdings. (Washington Post) We're doing our best to track the president's conflicts of interest but without transparency from him or the Trump Organization true accountability is impossible. 
  • Secretary of State Tillerson held news conference in Saudi Arabia without American media. "Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held a news conference with the Saudi foreign minister in Riyadh on Sunday, but he left the American media behind." (POLITICO) Our take: Tillerson's history of limiting press access erodes the State Department's mission and damages American advocacy for democracy. 
  • Trump told Russians that firing Comey relieved "great pressure". "President Donald Trump told Russian officials in the Oval Office this month that firing the F.B.I director, James B. Comey, had relieved 'great pressure' on him, according to a document summarizing the meeting." (New York Times)
  • Comey agrees to public testimony before Senate Intelligence Committee. "Former FBI Director James Comey will get to tell his side of the story behind his abrupt firing last week, agreeing to testify in a public session at the Senate Intelligence Committee." (POLITICO
  • Chaffetz suggests jailing White House leakers. During an appearance on ABC's "this week", the outgoing Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee "said individuals leaking information to the press should go to jail." (The Hill)
  • President Trump's lawyers suggested that he shouldn't sign financial disclosure forms. "Donald Trump's attorneys originally wanted him to submit an updated financial disclosure without certifying the information as true, according to correspondence with the Office of Government Ethics." After push-back from the OGE an attorney for the president indicated that he would sign the documents. (POLITICO)
  • Senators warn FCC, administration about press freedom following incident between FCC security and reporter. "Senators, including Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, are warning the Federal Communications Commission about its treatment of reporters after a CQ Roll Call reporter was manhandled Thursday." (Roll Call)

states and cities

Glendale, Arizona's open data resolution on Madison
  • Glendale, AZ seeks public feedback on their open data resolution. "The city of Glendale is seeking public feedback through June 15, 2017 regarding a draft resolution that would create an Open Data program." They are using the Madison platform to gather input
  • Maine public records officer fired for sharing a public report with newspaper. "Maine’s top disease control office fired the person responsible for coordinating the release of public information after she permitted a public report to be sent to the Bangor Daily News in August." The firing appears to be the result of a complicated internal approval process. Sunlight's Deputy Director Alex Howard weighed in: “It seems like an over-broad reaction that has the potential to have a chilling effect upon freedom of access across the state, and the state should be embarrassed…” (Bangor Daily News)

washington watch

  • FCC won't publish details on claimed DDoS attack tied to net neutrality. "The FCC will not publish evidence of an alleged distributed denial-of-service attack, which critics say prevented a flood of people from leaving messages on the agency's support of net neutrality." The agency's claims have been called into question by security experts and net neutrality supporters. (ZDNet) Our take: the FCC should be transparent about how its APIs work and accountable for issues with public data access and filings. 
  • EPA director Scott Pruitt has long history with company that will benefit from his de-regulatory actions. "Devon and Mr. Pruitt, while he was still attorney general out West, teamed up to block new federal rules imposed by the Obama administration that required fossil fuel companies to more closely monitor oil and gas wells for leaks, and disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracking. Devon also poured millions of dollars a year into lobbying — and hundreds of thousands into campaign contributions to Mr. Pruitt and other Republicans — as it pushed regulators and lawmakers in Washington to do away with the restrictions." (New York Times)

around the world

  • Embattled Brazilian president fights corruption allegations, calls to resign. "Brazil’s unpopular President Michel Temer has held on to office for over a year after the impeachment of his predecessor, backed mostly by Congress and financial markets. Under the weight of new corruption allegations against him, that support is crumbling." (Bloomberg) Temer has refused to step down and "says he will ask the Supreme Court to suspend an investigation against him, because vital evidence has been 'manipulated'." (BBC)
  • Exploring the differences between budget, spending, and procurement data. "Fiscal data is a complex topic. It comes in all different kind of formats and languages, its’ availability cannot be taken for granted and complexity around fiscal data needs special skills and knowledge to unlock and fully understand it. The Global Open Data Index (GODI) assesses three fiscal areas of national government: budgets, spending, and procurement." (Open Knowledge)
  • Open data shedding light on Africa's energy infrastructure. "Amongst clean cooking solutions, off-grid solar innovations and many others, the World Bank and partners launched a new data initiative. The ENERGYDATA.INFO platform aims to empower stakeholders from every side of the equation ‑ governments, private industry, financers, analysts, NGOs and the public ‑ with access to more and better quality data as well as analysis and tools that are simple and insightful." (World Bank Data Blog)

save the dates

Personal Democracy Forum
  • 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.


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