Today in OpenGov: Pushback


In today's edition, money flows to Democratic super PACs, a special offer for Today in OpenGov readers, Andrew Cuomo's travel, the campaign finance probe targeting Trump Organization executives, and more. 

washington watch

  • Democratic super PACs thrive even as more Democratic candidates refuse corporate PAC money. "Democratic candidates are running against money in politics. But Democratic super PACs are playing a bigger role than ever in the party. The super PACs charged with helping Democrats take back the House and Senate are raking in record sums from donors motivated by opposition to President Donald Trump, even as a rising class of candidates — like Texas Democrat Beto O'Rourke and Ayanna Pressley, who scored a primary upset over Rep. Mike Capuano in Massachusetts last week — are rejecting corporate PAC money and using campaign finance as a purity test against entrenched opponents." (POLITICO)
  • The Pentagon is planning to spend $2 billion on artificial intelligence in weaponry. "The Defense Department’s cutting-edge research arm has promised to make the military’s largest investment to date in artificial intelligence (AI) systems for U.S. weaponry, committing to spend up to $2 billion over the next five years in what it depicted as a new effort to make such systems more trusted and accepted by military commanders." (Center for Public Integrity)
  • New report predicts that Census citizenship question will negatively effect the decennial count. "Inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census is likely to increase the costs and compromise census accuracy, according to a report released today…The new report, Citizenship Question Nonresponse: A Demographic Profile of People Who Do Not Answer the American Community Survey Citizenship Question, examines patterns of nonresponse to the citizenship question in the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS). The citizenship status question planned for the 2020 Census is the same as the one currently asked in ACS." (Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality)
  • Sen. Cory Booker may face ethics inquiry over "committee confidential" document release. "Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in an interview that aired Friday that Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) could face scrutiny from the Senate Ethics Committee for violating a rule that prohibits the release of confidential material. During Thursday’s hearing on the nomination of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Booker said he was knowingly violating a Senate rule by releasing an email revealing the nominee’s views on racial profiling." (Washington Post)

data transparency 2018

Data Transparency 2018. Wednesday, October 10th at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. 

Our friends at the Data Foundation are hosting their annual open data conference, Data Transparency 2018, on Wednesday, October 10 in Washington, DC. The all-day event will explore how data is being standardized, shared, and used to create a better future for our society and feature 25-plus government and tech speakers.

They are graciously offering our readers a 50% discount on admission to the conference. To take advantage of the discount use offer code Sunlight50 for 50% off! Learn more and Register here.

states and cities

Gov. Andrew Cuomo used a state helicopter in 2017 to tour areas impacted by Superstorm Sandy with Gov. Ricardo Rosselló of Puerto Rico. Image credit: Don Pollard/Office of the Governor of New York. Via the New York Times.
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo relies on taxpayer funded plane and helicopter travel more than his big state counterparts. "Taxpayer-paid flights are commonplace for Mr. Cuomo, who took 195 trips in state planes and helicopters in 2017, according to an examination of state records. His travels reflect an active governor in a big state who has used aircraft liberally — as many as four flights a day, for distances long and short — and who is entitled, like previous governors, to fly the fleet by law. The New York Times examined travel records and policies in the nation’s 10 most populous states for comparison. Mr. Cuomo flew taxpayer-funded aircraft more frequently than any other governor of the states that provided records." (New York Times)
  • This Verizon lobbyist wants to be New York's next attorney general. "A Verizon lobbyist is trying to become the attorney general of New York in the upcoming November election. Verizon executive Leecia Eve is one of four candidates in the Democratic primary for the seat vacated when Eric Schneiderman resigned after assault allegations from four women. If elected, Eve says she would recuse herself from Verizon matters and New York State's appeal of the federal net neutrality repeal." (Ars Technica)
  • North Carolina's state elections board is fighting a subpoena from ICE for 8 years worth of voting records. "The North Carolina state elections board on Friday unanimously voted to ask the state's attorney general to quash a subpoena from the US attorney and Immigration and Customs Enforcement for eight years of voting records. The board unanimously voted not only to fight the subpoena on the state level, but also on behalf of 44 counties who were similarly subpoenaed." (CNN)


President Trump. Image credit: Gage Skidmore. 
  • The latest Trump administration conflicts include the looming threat of investigations. Lynn Walsh checked in with her regular look at Trump administration conflicts of interest which, last week, included "the New York Times highlights crimes and ethical violations associated with President Donald Trump’s administration, a government photographer admits to editing photos from the president’s inauguration and a top Democrat threatens investigations into President Trump if Democrats take control of the U.S House of Representatives." (Sunlight Foundation)
  • Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are looking at potential campaign finance violations by Trump Organization executives. "Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether anyone in the Trump Organization violated campaign-finance laws, in a follow-up to their conviction last month of Michael Cohen, according to a person familiar with the matter. The inquiry, not previously reported, shows that the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office doesn’t intend to stand down following the guilty plea from Trump’s longtime personal lawyer. Manhattan prosecutors are working on a parallel track to U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is tasked with examining Russian interference in the presidential election and who is referring other matters as they arise to appropriate sections of the Justice Department." (Bloomberg)


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