Today in OpenGov: Protesting protests


Map with cost of Vice President Mike Pence flight to Indianapolis and back to engage in a planned protest at an NFL game.

As you may have heard, the vice president left a football game in a planned protest this weekend after some of the professional athletes competing chose to peacefully protest racial inequality and injustice in the United States during the playing of the National Anthem, drawing criticism for the costs of travel and security to taxpayers.

Sunlight's executive director John Wonderlich talked to the CBS Evening News about the meta-protest and the public funds that got him there. “It appears that the entire trip to attend the game was designed in order for Vice President Pence to walk out,” said John Wonderlich.

“When there are issues in the country that are going on that are so serious, it seems so strange for presidential attention and public funds to be used to weigh in on the actions of private citizens in the NFL,” Wonderlich told CBS News.

Meanwhile, President Trump's joint fundraising campaign didn't waste any time capitalizing off of the controversy, sending out a fundraising email on Monday which centered around the VP's actions. (Bloomberg)

[Graphic Credit: CBS Evening News]

states and cities

A BuildingEye map showing various pieces of fire department data for one neighborhood in San Francisco. 
  • California governor signs drug price transparency bill into law. "California Governor Jerry Brown on Monday signed state legislation requiring drug companies to report certain price hikes for prescription medicines in a move that could set a model for other states to follow." (Reuters)
  • Memphis, Tennessee welcomes a new CIO to push ongoing open data efforts. "Memphis CIO Mike Rodriguez began working for the city about two months ago, and on one of his first days walking out of city hall he was stopped by a citizen who asked when the municipal government was going to establish an open data governance body." Zach Quaintance reports that this sort of citizen interest helped sharpen Rodriguez's focus on pushing forward the city's ongoing open data efforts. (Government Technology)
  • Start up aims to modernize urban inspection and permit data. Ben Miller reports on BuildingEye which has been "working with cities to take their permit and inspections-type data and map it out, with enough tools to let government and citizen users alike quickly find data on a building." (Government Technology)

around the world

Code for Croatia's new consumer complaint platform, Reklamacije.
  • Croatian group is repurposing a FOI tool to help shine light on consumer complaints. By repurposing mySociety's Alaveteli platform, Code for Croatia is putting "the process of making consumer complaints online. It’s early days as yet — the site’s still in the beta phase, during which testers are putting it through its paces. There have been messages about bank closures, insurance policies… and even the inconsistent quality of the quesadillas at a Mexican food chain." (mySociety)
  • Some Russians celebrated Vladimir Putin's birthday with protests over the weekend. "Supporters of opposition leader Alexey Navalny heeded his call to turn out Saturday for nationwide protests to mark President Vladimir Putin’s birthday — though the numbers were sharply down on earlier demonstrations." Navalny was jailed for 20 days in the lead up to Putin's birthday. (Bloomberg)
  • Czech billionaire and leading candidate to be next Prime Minister indicted on fraud charges. "Police filed charges against Babiš, a former finance minister, and his deputy Jaroslav Faltýnek for subsidy fraud linked to a farm and conference center nearly a decade ago. Babiš is believed to be behind a plan to acquire the EU funds that were only meant for small businesses." (POLITICO)


  • New group emerges to put pressure on Trump's business empire. The group, Integrity First for America,"aiming to step up the legal pressure on President Donald Trump's business empire is launching this week with the backing of several liberal icons, including the lawyer who scored the first big Supreme Court win for same-sex marriage and a TV producer best known for a hotly-disputed story about President George W. Bush's National Guard service." (POLITICO)
  • Google finds Russian-bought ads on its various platforms. "Google for the first time has uncovered evidence that Russian operatives exploited the company’s platforms in an attempt to interfere in the 2016 election, according to people familiar with the company's investigation." (Washington Post)
  • Newly uncovered emails may shed light on Donald Trump Jr.'s Russian rendezvous. The email, written by the Russian lawyer that Trump Jr. infamously met with last year, "…could offer evidence backing up the [her] claims that she was meeting with Trump Jr. solely to discuss a 2012 law despised by the Kremlin that imposed financial sanctions on wealthy Russians as punishment for human rights abuses." At the least, it adds a new wrinkle to the unfolding story. (Washington Post)

washington watch

  • GOP mega-donor considers trying to buy himself a Senate seat. "GOP mega-donor Foster Friess is mulling a potential Senate bid in Wyoming that would pit him against incumbent Sen. John Barrasso (R)." Ben Kamisar reports that sources confirmed recent conversations between Friess and former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon, who is reportedly lining up challengers to various GOP incumbents. (The Hill)
  • HHS looks to boost its data science capacity from within. "Data, which holds the promise of increased efficiency and better mission outcomes for federal agencies, can’t deliver much without the help of capable data science practitioners. So the Department of Health and Human Services is looking to build out its own data science talent." (FedScoop)


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!