Today in OpenGov: Celebrations


‚ÄčEditor's note: We'll be taking tomorrow off to celebrate Independence Day and will return to your inbox with all of the latest OpenGov news on Thursday. 

Meanwhile, in today's edition, Senators push for faster release of Supreme Court argument audio, President Trump's relationship with corporate America grows tense, the UK celebrates National Democracy Week, and more. 

washington watch

Screenshot via Center for Public Integrity.
  • The Center for Public Integrity explains why they haven't bought into Facebook's new registration requirements for "political publishers." "Facebook is trying to boost transparency requirements for political ads aimed at influencing voters. It’s an attempt to respond to Russian meddling in the 2016 election via 'fake news' placed on the platform…One of those measures is requiring any poster of content that pays for more exposure that is deemed to have 'political content' (based on Facebook’s own definition) to first become 'authorized'…The problem is that political coverage from news outlets has been lumped into the same category as content from political action committees or other advocacy/agenda-driven organizations. What this means for news outlets like us: While we’re able to post our stories on Facebook for free, boosting (or sponsoring) our content helps us to reach new audiences and can also help assure that our our posts show up on our existing readers’ newsfeeds." (Center for Public Integrity)
  • A bipartisan duo of Senators is pushing for quicker release of Supreme Court argument audio. "The current chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and one of his predecessors have teamed up to press Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., to release audio of all arguments on the same day that they take place. Iowa Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley and Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick J. Leahy made the request of the Supreme Court in a June 29 letter to Roberts that was publicly circulated on Monday." (Roll Call)
  • This Wall Street lawyer has started a new political party. Will anyone but his banker friends join up? "Eric Grossman doesn’t look like he would want to do anything drastic. The top lawyer at Morgan Stanley is a 51-year-old homeowner in the New York suburbs with twin sons and a seat on the firm’s management committee. He’s another man in a power suit in a midtown Manhattan bank. He also wants to topple America’s two-party system. Grossman is trying to build a new party—called the Serve America Movement, or SAM—even though third wheels in American politics tend to have the lasting power of the Free Soilers and the Anti-Masons. His quixotic goal hasn’t deterred donors that include fellow members of Morgan Stanley’s operating committee, the bank’s head of government relations, its top independent board member, and the last chief executive officer, John Mack." (Bloomberg)
  • The new man in charge of reforming the Department of Defense says that good data is the first step. "The Defense Department’s new reform chief plans to use data and IT to map the future of the department as his office looks at overhauling decades-old processes and functions. Jay Gibson, who became the department’s first chief management officer in February, joined Nextgov for an exclusive interview to discuss reform efforts and the big data and IT mandates Congress has put on his new office. Gibson’s teams plan to look for cuts and efficiencies throughout the department, including in his own backyard." (NextGov)


  • Explore the financial disclosures of President Trump's rumored Supreme Court picks. "The retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has given President Donald Trump an unprecedented opportunity to sway the high court for decades, as Kennedy has often served as the panel’s crucial swing vote on a plethora of issues…Trump has said he would announce his nominee on July 9 and has reportedly been busy reading the writings and background material of some of the prospective candidates. The Center for Public Integrity has been busy as well, aggressively working to obtain the financial disclosure forms of the mostly state and federal judges who are rumored to be in the running." (Center for Public Integrity)
  • President Trump and corporate America appear to be at war… "President Donald Trump is now at full-scale war over trade policy with some of the Republican Party’s staunchest allies in big business, including executives at iconic American brands such as General Motors and Harley-Davidson who previously shied away from criticizing an often irascible president. Trump’s approach has created a high-stakes showdown without recent political precedent: A Republican president betting that his populist approach to trade will thrill his working-class base and blow away any short-term economic fallout or reduced political support from the nation’s largest business organizations." (POLITICO) …with the Chamber of Commerce launching the latest volley against Trump's tariff plans. "The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, usually a staunch ally with Republicans, on Monday will launch a campaign against the president’s recent tariff policy…The chamber is using state-by-state analysis to argue that Trump is risking a global trade war." (POLITICO)
  • However, growing tensions with corporate America haven't slowed President Trump's embrace of big money fundraising. "Even as Trump holds court in large arenas filled with thousands of cheering supporters, he also has been giving rich financiers and business executives up-close access, helping cultivate the kind of big-money outfit he once derided. The effort is intended to boost his favored candidates in this year’s midterms — and to bolster his own reelection prospects." (Washington Post)

around the world

  • Its National Democracy Week in the UK…and the folks at mySociety are celebrating. "Yes, wave the flags and toot those vuvuzelas: it’s National Democracy Week, a new initiative to celebrate the democratic process and encourage democratic participation. And thanks to some extra-curricular work by one of the mySociety team, we’re now able to celebrate it in a quite exceptional way. Longstanding  developer Matthew has used his own free time to import historic House of Commons debates from 1919-1935 into our parliamentary site TheyWorkForYou. With this work, he’s extended the site’s value as an easy-access archive of parliamentary activity even further." (mySociety)
  • This platform uses crowdfunding to support journalism where freedom of the press is weakest. Press Start is "…a platform that crowdfunds independent journalism in countries where the press is not fully free…Press Start is an offshoot of Transitions, an NGO in Prague that runs journalism courses and publishes an online magazine about Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Its founder, US journalist Jeremy Druker, launched Press Start in 2016  with help from Google’s Digital News Innovation Fund. The National Endowment for Democracy provided funds to create the prototype for the platform." (Columbia Journalism Review)
  • The European Parliament voted against increased accountability for its members' expenses. "MEPs on Monday rejected long-awaited proposals to tighten the rules around how elected representatives use the so-called General Expenditure Allowance (GEA), a controversial additional payment that MEPs can use for office and other expenses. At a late, behind-closed doors meeting, the Parliament’s governing body, voted down modest proposals to introduce some accountability into the way legislators can use the money. Currently MEPs do not have to retain any records or tell their constituents what the cash is spent on." (POLITICO

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