Today in OpenGov: Federal Complaint Commission


Today in OpenGov, the FCC fields some complaints, Trump's billionaire buddies face some unexpected obstacles, Baltimore struggles with its police body cameras, and more.

washington watch

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Image via USDA on Flickr
  • A failure to disclose in the most expensive House race ever. Issue One and the Campaign Legal Center are combining forces to push back against missing disclosures in this years special election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District, which was the most expensive House race ever. The two groups "filed six complaints with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) against two Atlanta-based television stations…" arguing that they failed to require proper disclosures from groups on both sides of the political aisle that pumped money into television ads during the race. (Issue One)
  • FCC urged to release 47,000 net neutrality complaints. 16 public interest groups are urging the FCC to "to release the text of 47,000 net neutrality complaints before going through with Chairman Ajit Pai's plan to eliminate net neutrality rules." You can read the coalition's letter to the Commission here. Jon Brodkin reports that an FCC spokesperson indicated the FCC plans to release the complaints "as soon as we can." (Ars Technica)  
  • Menendez bribery trial moving forward. Jury selection is ongoing in the bribery trial of Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ). His fate "could turn on whether favors he did for a large donor are deemed 'official acts.'" (Bloomberg)
  • TechCongress is now entering its third year. The inaugural  class was comprised of just two fellows. 2017 brought four more. Applications for 2018 opened recently, and Travis Moore the founder of TechCongress, expects this class will  expand to six. We hope you will help Congress become smarter on tech and consider serving. (FedScoop)


The United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, DC. Image via Coolcaesar 
  • Justice Department walks back demand for Anti-Trump website visitor logs. "The move follows complaints from privacy advocates and civil liberties groups that a search warrant a D.C. Superior Court judge issued last month for data about the website was wildly overbroad and could have swept up data on thousands of people who simply visited web pages about anti-inaugural activities." (POLITICO) The DoJ did not drop its warrant entirely, only amended it to more narrowly focus on evidence of riot planning. Read more at The Hill
  • Despite his apparent approval, President Trump's billionaire buddies struggle to gain government concessions. "Coal magnate Robert Murray has just joined Wall Street billionaire Carl Icahn in an exclusive club — wealthy backers of President Donald Trump who tried and failed to get lucrative concessions from his administration." (POLITICO)

states and cities

City of Boston, Massachusetts. 
  • Boston looks to the future with Imagine Boston 2030 dashboard. "Imagine Boston 2030 includes benchmarks aimed at improving quality of life throughout the city, and later this week it will launch an accompanying online dashboard to monitor the progress that is being made toward all of its goals." (Government Technology)
  • de Blasio and top aides used personal email for city business. William K. Rashbaum reports on documents obtained from New York City's Department of Investigations via a Freedom of Information request that show "Mayor Bill de Blasio and four top aides often used personal email accounts to conduct city business — in some instances in violation of city guidelines…" (New York Times)
  • Baltimore's problem with staged police body camera videos gets worse. In the latest of a series of revelations related to fabricated body camera videos, "A Baltimore Police Department officer has 'self-reported' a staged body cam video…In this most recent instance alone, 43 cases are being dropped or not prosecuted, the state's top prosecutor, Marilyn Mosby, said." There have been at least 2 other instances and, in total, Baltimore has dropped more than 100 cases following the discovery of fraudulent body cam videos. (Ars Technica)
  • Building a better digital City Hall. "Anyone with a smartphone knows that even the coolest-looking app will go unused if it fails to meet the user's needs. The same is true for a newly launched or redesigned government website: Attractiveness and basic functionality — new fonts, formatting and navigation tools — are necessary but will fail to accomplish their purpose if they are not supported by addressing the underlying issues that can make accessing government services so cumbersome," writes Stephen Goldsmith. (Governing)

save the dates

  • 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 26th: Data Transparency 2017, in Washington, DC. Hosted by the Data Foundation, "Data Transparency 2017 is Washington's largest open data event, bringing together government leaders, transparency advocates, and the technology industry to explore how technology can transform government, compliance, and the private sector." Learn more and get your tickets 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.
  • October 13th – 14th: 2017 FOI Summit, Nashville, Tennessee. "Music City USA becomes home for NFOIC, state FOI coalitions and open government advocates for the 2017 FOI Summit on Friday and Saturday, October 13-14, 2017.The National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) and our host, the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government will convene the annual summit at the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University." You can learn more and register here


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