Today in OpenGov: The sound of a deadline whooshing by


In today's edition, approving a head for OSTP, open government deadlines whoosh by, election fraud in Kansas, and more. 

washington watch

  • Earmarks won't come back to Congress this year, but their return looks increasingly likely in the future. "There’s renewed talk on Capitol Hill of a possible return to earmarks further down the road if the Democrats win back the House in November. Some congressional Democrats are starting to push for consideration of reviving the practice of directing federal spending to pet projects if they are in power next year. Doing so could help them pass an infrastructure package and other major spending bills on the Democratic agenda. There is already enthusiasm among leaders in both parties for resurrecting earmarks, with support from House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and President Trump." (The Hill)
  • The House Ethics Committee will investigate Duncan Hunter and Chris Collins, but not until after the DOJ wraps up its work on both cases. "The House Ethics Committee voted Thursday to impanel investigative subcommittees to examine Reps. Duncan Hunter of California and Chris Collins of New York. But neither panel plans to conduct work on the investigation at this time, deferring to the Justice Department for now…The DOJ, which brought forth the charges and is leading prosecution efforts against both lawmakers, has asked the Ethics Committee to defer action on both matters and it has agreed." (Roll Call)
  • President Trump's nominee to head the Office of Science and Technology Policy was unanimously approved by this Senate committee. "The Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday unanimously approved Kelvin Droegemeier to become the White House’s top tech advisor…OSTP has operated without a chief since President Trump took office in January 2017." (NextGov)
  • The House just passed a bill that would bring Chief Data Officers to DHS. "The House of Representatives has unanimously passed a bill that would assign chief data officers to the Department of Homeland Security, as a way of promoting digital transparency. Rep. John Carter's, R-Texas, Department of Homeland Security Chief Data Officer Authorization Act would appoint a chief data officer for each of the department's 22 components, the congressman's office said Wednesday." (ExecutiveGov)


Golf Carts at the Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles, CA. Image credit: Yuki Shimazu.
  • The secret service has spent more than $300,000 on golf cart rentals during the Trump presidency. "Donald Trump's incessant golf outings are costing taxpayers a FORTUNE. Taxpayers footed bills totaling $300,675 for golf cart rentals alone, so the Secret Service could follow Trump on the links … this according to federal documents obtained by TMZ. Many of the expenses emanate from Trump's Mar-a-Lago excursions." (TMZ)
  • The government missed the deadline to share its fourth Open Government Partnership National Action Plan. "August has come and gone and the U.S.’s fourth National Action Plan for Open Government, commonly referred to as NAP 4, is nowhere to be seen…Initially, NAP 4 was scheduled for release in October 2017. However, on Oct. 31, 2017, then acting federal CIO Margie Graves sent a delay letterto the CEO of the Open Government Partnership, the organization that oversees these plans…In January 2018 the government again restructured its plans for release, setting the deadline of Aug. 31, 2018." (FedScoop)
  • Can President Trump prosecute the author of an anonymous Op-Ed? "On Wednesday, an anonymous senior Trump administration official described President Donald Trump in a New York Times opinion article as so dangerous that the author and 'many others' in the administration 'have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions' by thwarting 'parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations'. Trump’s reaction was swift and harsh…Yet there is no evidence that the author has any legal liability whatsoever." (POLITICO)

states and cities

A screenshot from Google's Dataset Search. Via Google 
  • New search engine from Google aims to uncover open data. "Google has created a new search engine designed to help users find open data. Launched this week, the functionality is the latest addition to Google’s specialized search engine set, which has long included commonly used searches like images and news. With this new search engine, it is now much easier for would-be developers and others to look for files and databases that have been released to the public." (Government Technology)
  • Journalists struggle to access prisons amidst nationwide inmate strike. "On a Monday in April, at Lee Correctional Facility, in South Carolina, a bloody brawl erupted. More than four hours passed before guards intervened; in the meantime, seven men died and dozens lay injured. The violence was so intense, and the sluggish response from authorities so disconcerting, that, starting August 29, incarcerated people across the country launched a peaceful strike in protest…Coverage of the killings, and the strike, have been limited, and not because they aren’t noteworthy. Although prisons and jails can be found in nearly every community in America, journalists struggle to keep the public informed." (Columbia Journalism Review)
  • Candidate for the Kansas House of Representatives arrested on velection fraud charges. "An Olathe man running for a seat in the Kansas House of Representatives was arrested Thursday on a charge of election fraud. Adam T. Thomas, 35, who is the Republican candidate for the 26th District House seat, is charged in Johnson County District Court with election perjury. A spokeswoman for Kris Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State who has made fighting supposed voter fraud a central role of his time in office, declined to comment." (Kansas City Star)
  • Florida Governor ordered to release three months worth of meeting schedules and travel plans. "A judge on Wednesday ordered Gov. Rick Scott to release about three months' worth of meeting schedules and travel plans — including upcoming campaign events — and rejected his argument that the information should remain secret for security reasons. Circuit Judge Charles Dodson in Tallahassee ruled in favor of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. The group sued the governor in July demanding a complete copy of Scott's calendars for the period beginning July 20, 2018 and ending on Oct. 31, 2018." (Tampa Bay Times via NFOIC)


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