Today in OpenGov: Request Denied


In today's edition, California will hold off on implementing its net neutrality law, 11 donors are responsible for 20% of all super PAC cash, another Trump administration effort to delay the Census citizenship question lawsuit is denied, and more. 

states and cities

  • California agrees to put a hold on its net neutrality law until related litigation is settled. "California has agreed to delay enforcement of its net neutrality law until after litigation that will determine whether states can implement their own net neutrality rules. California's net neutrality law was slated to take effect on January 1, 2019. But the Trump administration's Department of Justice and broadband industry sued to block the law and were seeking a preliminary injunction that would halt enforcement until litigation is over…The core question of whether the FCC can preempt state net neutrality laws is expected to be decided by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In that case, 22 state attorneys general and other parties sued the FCC to overturn its net neutrality repeal and preemption of state laws. Oral arguments are scheduled for February 1, 2019." (Ars Technica)
  • Do the 50 states need one unified public records access law? "The process of getting government records can differ drastically depending on the state you’re filing in. FOIA is the rule of the land at the federal level, but each state has the discretion to make its own set of guidelines, which can make the records process confusing at best, incredibly frustrating at worst…With 50 different public records laws across the nation and varying opinions on what works, requesters continue to find themselves in a loop to grasp different guidelines. Yet, a former access officer turned transparency lawyer says one unified public records law could be the relief requesters need." (MuckRock)
  • Attorneys general haven't traditionally been particularly political. That's changing. "Attorneys general haven’t traditionally been overtly political — they defend state agencies in court, ensure child support is paid on time, go after companies that defraud consumers. But over the last decade, with an ever-growing stack of lawsuits against the federal government, Republican and Democratic attorneys general alike have nudged those law-and-order postings into the partisan fray, a process that culminated, last March, in a Republican-initiated rules change allowing national parties to target the opposition’s incumbents. That’s set this year to be the costliest attorney general election cycle to date, with an expected $100 million spent on the races." (The Atlantic)
  • Philadelphia awards innovation grants to internal stakeholders. "Philadelphia recently awarded a series of grants, most of which totaled around $7,500, to projects aimed at fostering innovative solutions to problems, tasks and challenges faced by government. A city government making an investment in ideas they hope will lead to long-term work or projects — essentially providing seed money — is not all that unusual. Some cities do it systematically, while others regularly sponsor competitive events, often called hackathons. What sets Philadelphia’s recent grants apart from other municipal incentivizing, however, is that they were all bestowed to internal stakeholders, to projects and ideas that came straight from the public servants who work daily in the local government." (Government Technology)

midterm madness

Image via Pixabay.
  • Just 11 donors have given $1 billion, representing 20 percent of total super PAC donations, over last 8 years. "Just 11 donors have injected $1 billion into U.S. political races in the past eight years through super PACs, the big-money entities that have given wealthy contributors a powerful way to influence elections. The donors — a bipartisan collection of hedge-fund billionaires, entrepreneurs, media magnates and a casino mogul — together contributed more than one-fifth of the $4.5 billion collected by these types of political action committees since their inception in 2010, according to a Washington Post analysis of data from the Federal Election Commission and the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics." (Washington Post)
  • As midterms draw near, Democratic outside groups look to outspend their Republican counterparts. "For the final two weeks of the election, Democratic campaigns and outside groups are on track to substantially outspend Republicans, strategists on both sides say. Democrats are set to spend $143 million on television advertising in House races, compared with $86 million for Republicans, according to one analysis by a Democratic strategist tracking media buys. Democratic super PACs and other outside groups are poised to outspend their Republican counterparts by a wide margin, erasing an advantage Republicans planned on having." (New York Times)
  • Meanwhile, Democrats hoping to secure leadership spots in the next Congress are spending big to help vulnerable incumbents and promising newcomers. "House Democrats vying to climb the leadership ladder are showering millions of dollars in campaign cash on colleagues and candidates heading into the midterms — a crucial step in solidifying support within the caucus ahead of what’s likely to be a wild, post-election leadership scramble. Five of the six Democrats who’ve announced bids for undercard leadership seats in the next Congress have each spread well over $1 million across other campaigns, with the bulk of that being funneled directly to vulnerable incumbents and first-time candidates hoping to flip GOP seats in the most hotly contested battleground districts." (The Hill)
  • This Utah county has a majority Navajo population, why is it so hard for them to vote? "…three lawsuits, different in scope, but with one overlapping goal: allowing Navajo citizens in San Juan County the right to fully and meaningfully participate in a government that was forced upon them more than a century before. The first suit, brought in 2012, alleged that the county’s voting districts had been unconstitutionally drawn against the county’s Navajo population. A second, filed in 2016, alleged that for many Navajo, voting was so arduous as to violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The third, from just months ago, fought to reinstate Grayeyes, who’s running for county commissioner, on the November 6 ballot after he was kicked off following a residency complaint from a GOP challenger." (BuzzFeed)
  • New analysis finds that tech workers favor Democrats over Republicans with their political donations, although nonpartisan groups perform the best. "WIRED analyzed more than 125,000 contributions made to federal candidates in 2018 by employees of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, using data from the US Federal Election Commission. Our not-shocking finding: Tech workers overwhelmingly support Democratic candidates. As you can see below, just over 1 percent of the $15 million sent to candidates went to Republicans, while 23 percent of the funds went to Democrats." (Wired


  • Two courts deny latest Trump administration attempt to delay lawsuit over Census citizenship question. "The Trump administration will have to go to the U.S. Supreme Court if it wants to delay a trial scheduled for next month over the legality of asking people in the 2020 census about their citizenship after two courts on Friday denied efforts to postpone the proceedings. U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman on Friday rejected the administration’s request to halt the trial, which is scheduled to begin Nov. 5 in Manhattan federal court, noting that the government’s 'urgent' need to resolve the issue requires sticking with the current schedule. An appeals court in Manhattan later in the day also denied a request for a stay, without commenting." (Bloomberg)
  • Report indicates that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross may have violated conflict-of-interest rules by taking meetings with Chevron, Boeing executives. "New evidence suggests that Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross put himself at risk of violating a criminal conflict-of-interest law by discussing business matters with Chevron executives — while his wife apparently owned a stake in the company worth more than $250,000…It also wasn’t the only questionable meeting Ross held. Shortly after the Chevron event, his calendar lists an appointment with the CEO of Boeing, a company in which Ross’ wife owned a stake worth more than $2 million at the time. A representative for Ross did not answer questions about that meeting either, but a Boeing spokesperson made it clear the aviation company was there to talk business." (Forbes)
  • A watchdog is suing DHS over failure to create family separation records. "A government watchdog group is suing the Trump administration for failing to create records linking immigrant children to their parents while separating them at the border. In the lawsuit filed Friday against the Department of Homeland Security and DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) accused the administration of violating the Federal Records Act. The 23-page complaint before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia also alleges the administration failed to establish an adequate agency-wide records management program." (The Hill)


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