Today in OpenGov: The FCC’s failure to communicate


Forbes and ProPublica have found details on 6 of the Trump Organizations 39 ongoing hotel deals around the country. Now, they "are asking local journalists and interested citizens to help find and ferret out the facts out on the remaining 33 deals. It’s important to know who the president’s family is in business with since it’s possible that Trump’s business interests could conflict with his day job of representing the American people."

Read on for more on that important story, plus the rest of today's open government news from Washington, around the United States, and across the globe. 


Image Credit: Susie Cagle/Forbes
  • The business and political ties that helped launch the latest line of Trump hotels. Forbes and ProPublica teamed up for this deep dive into the dealings behind the Trump Organization's patriotically themed American IDEA hotel chain. The chain, targeted at President Donald Trump's political base. (
  • 8th person present at Donald Trump Jr.'s Russia meeting linked to money laundering. "The eighth attendee at a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between top Trump associates and a politically connected Russian lawyer is a business associate of a top Moscow oligarch and was once the focus of a congressional money-laundering probe." (POLITICO)
  • Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal is calling on the Trump family and the White House to disclose everything relevant to ongoing Russia investigations. We think that's a good idea. 
  • Organizations sue Trump's "voter fraud" commission over access to meetings. A number of groups, including the ACLU, are targeting the President's Commission on Election Integrity with lawsuits arguing that the commission is skirting a federal law that requires its proceedings to be open to the public. Scott Neuman has the full story at NPR.
  • USDS report shows continued progress under Trump Administration. "Despite stark differences between the two administrations' broader priorities—some experts predicted Trump would keep the tech teams but assign them to new projects—USDS appears to be continuing the progress it made under Obama," reports Mohana Ravindranath for Nextgov

washington watch

  • FCC refuses to release more than 40,000 net neutrality complaints. "The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) request in May of this year for tens of thousands of net neutrality complaints that Internet users filed against their ISPs," reports Jon Brodkin. The Commission has agreed to release only a fraction of the complaints, saying that providing them all would impose too heavy a burden. (Ars Technica)
  • FEC sues former Representative for campaign funds scheme. The Commission alleges that former Representative David Rivera (R-FL) funneled at least $69,000 in unreported campaign cash to help prop up a primary opponent to his main challenger. Rivera eventually lost the general election. (Roll Call)
  • The GAO recommended HHS direct ONC to develop performance measures for patient access to electronic health records. According to the Government Accountability Office, "on average, health care providers who participated in the Medicare Electronic Health Record Incentive Program offered access to almost 90% of their patients—but less than 1/3 of those patients used it." Next step: the Department of Health and Human Services should figure out why – and fix it. (GAO Watch Blog)

states and cities

New York City's open data home page. 
  • New York City's open data progress report. Last week, the New York City Open Data team released their annual progress report. This year marks the 5th anniversary of New York City's open data law, and the report highlights how open data is being used in communities across New York. Hat tip to our friends at Reboot, who have been working with the NYC Open Data team to better understand and engage users. 
  • Colorado to embrace post-election cybersecurity audits. Earlier this week, Colorado announced its intention to "become the first state to regularly conduct a sophisticated post-election audit that cybersecurity experts have long called necessary for ensuring hackers aren't meddling with vote tallies."  (POLITICO)
  • Counting trees will help propel this city into its smart future. New Kensington, Pennsylvania will undertake an Urban Tree Inventory will, according to this report by Matthew Medsger, "provide the city's Shade Tree Commission the ability to more effectively plan the management of trees growing on city property and demonstrate the needs of the city when it comes time to apply for grant funding." (Government Technology)

around the world

  • Canada launches a Digital Service. Yesterday, the brand new Canadian Digital Service announced itself to the world. We were happy to see this development and are looking forward to how the new office will improve Canada's democracy. 
  • Venezuela's controversial constitutional convention. Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela's embattled President, sparked an uproar in May when he announced his intention to convene a constituent assembly to change the country's convention. This article by Nathan Crooks and Fabiola Zerpa provides an overview of the issue and controversy. (Bloomberg)

save the dates

  • July 10th through 24th: e-Forum Discussion on the Agriculture Open Data Package, virtual. "The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in partnership with the Global Open Data on Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) are inviting interested individuals to participate in this forum discussion on 'Agriculture Open Data Package' to be held on the e-Agriculture Platform. The initial target audience for this forum are policy-makers, researchers, open data experts, and/or agricultural experts – however, any one interested is invited to attend." Learn more about the forum and how to participate here.
  • July 20th, 5:00 PM EST. Webinar: The Power of Data Visualization in Cities. The Civic Analytics Network (CAN) will host a webinar, “The Power of Data Visualization in Cities,” Thursday July 20th, from 5pm to 6pm ET. The public webinar will be moderated by Stephen Goldsmith, Director of CAN and the Innovations Program at the Harvard Kennedy School, and the presentation will highlight some of the best data visualization products created by city governments across the country. Learn more here.
  • July 20th – 22nd, The Thursday Network's Un-Hack the Vote 2017 Hackathon, Washington, DC. This hackathon aims to "Inspire young professionals to protect the voting rights of racial minorities…[and push them] to learn about redistricting and gerrymandering and propose data and technology-driven solutions that increase public awareness." Learn more and register to attend here
  • July 27th, 10 am: Chief FOIA Officers Council Meeting in Washington, DC. "OGIS and the Department of Information Policy (OIP) at the Department of Justice are happy to announce that the next meeting of the Chief FOIA Officers Council will be held on Thursday, July 27th from 10 am to noon. You can register to join the audience in the William G. McGowan Theater beginning on July 26. You can also plan on watching the livestream via the National Archives’ YouTube Channel."
  • August 1st: DKAN Summit in Washington, DC. Part of Drupal GovCon 2017, the DKAN Open Data Summit will feature open data leaders discussing how DKAN can be used to facilitate government open data efforts. Learn more and register here.
  • September 11th and 12th: Civic Tech Fest and 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. The agenda is up now and you have until July 21st to sign up for early bird tickets!
  • September 13th: Civic and Gov Tech Showcase in San Jose, California. "Innovate Your State, in partnership with Microsoft and the City of San Jose, is bringing the 3nd Annual Civic & Gov Tech Showcase to the Capitol of Silicon Valley. The Civic & Gov Tech Showcase is an opportunity to connect with civic minded entrepreneurs, potential investors, and government leaders to showcase the great work that is being done to improve government and governance. The goal of the event is to encourage collaboration and the support of new technologies to improve government and public participation." Learn more and get your tickets here.
  • September 14th – 16th: Digital Humanities and Data Journalism Symposium, in Miami, Florida. "Digital humanists and data journalists face common challenges, opportunities, and goals, such as how to communicate effectively with the public. They use similar software tools, programming languages, and techniques, and they can learn from each other. Join us for lectures and tutorials about shared data types, visualization methods, and data communication — including text visualization, network diagrams, maps, databases and data wrangling. In addition to the scheduled content, there will be opportunities for casual conversation and networking." Learn more and register here.
  • September 28th: Powering Sustainable Development with Access to Information, Paris, France. "The 'IPDCtalks' will be held to highlight and elaborate on the importance of Access to Information for all sustainable development efforts around the world. It will consist of a series of attractive and dynamic talks from global public leaders, top journalists, young intellectuals and community leaders. While some of the speakers will elaborate on the key role of Access to Information for the achievement of a particular Sustainable Development Goal, others will reflect on the essential role of Access to Information for our society and future." You can learn more and request an invitation on the event website. If you're interested, but can't attend the event will be broadcast live on the web.


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