Today in OpenGov: The Results Are In


In today's edition, K Street prepares for divided government, a political cartoonist is silenced in Hong Kong, Amazon's HQ2 sweepstakes provided a treasure trove of data to the company, indicted Congressmen had a successful election day, and more. 

washington watch

Image Credit: Glyn Lowe.
  • K Street faces uncertainty as a divided government comes to Washington… "Gridlock has meant less business on K Street in the past, since clients generally are most eager to hire lobbyists when Congress is working on legislation they favor or working on bills they fear. But this time could be different, since House Democrats have indicated they’ll launch investigations that could make corporate America nervous." (POLITICO)
  • …Meanwhile, lobbying job prospects for department Members of Congress and their staff are also unclear. "The midterm election losers and their congressional staff members may look to K Street as a possible next step. But if Democrats flip the House, that would mean a slew of Republicans flooding the lobbying market at a time when K Street already takes an increasingly cautious approach to hiring big names. That would be good for Democrats looking for jobs and not so great for the Republicans on the hunt." (Roll Call)
  • Google's top lobbyist stepped down days before the election, creating one very high profile opening. "Google’s top lobbyist in Washington, former U.S. Representative Susan Molinari, is stepping down, just as the company battles accusations from President Donald Trump and top Republicans that it’s biased against them. Molinari, who served as a Republican House member from New York in the 1990s, joined Google almost seven years ago to lead lobbying in Washington. In January, Molinari will transition to an advisory role. The company is looking for a new head of Americas Policy, Google said in a statement." (Bloomberg)
  • Effort to bring tech talent to Capitol Hill gets a big boost from the Knight Foundation. "TechCongress, the nonprofit organization founded by one-time Hill staffer Travis Moore, announced Friday that it will be expanding its Congressional Innovation Fellowship program thanks to a $1 million investment from the Knight Foundation. The announcement comes after months of bad press on Congress’ seeming inability to ask good questions about modern technology — especially at events like the Mark Zuckerberg hearings in April — translated into months of praise for groups like TechCongress, which are attempting to right the ship." (FedScoop)

around the world

A piece by Chinese political cartoonist Badiucao.
  • This Chinese political cartoonist was forced to cancel an exhibition in Hong Kong and has since gone silent. "Political cartoonist Badiucao was forced to cancel his first solo exhibition in Hong Kong, due to threats from the central Chinese government. The exhibition was scheduled to open on November 3 as the headline event at Hong Kong's Free Expression Week. On November 2, the organizers announced they were cancelling the event…The event was seen by many as a test of the limits of free speech in Hong Kong…Chinese non-profit media the Stand News reported on the panel discussion in which Sampson Wong expressed concerns about Badiucao’s safety. He explained that he has been trying to contact the artist since November 2, but that Badiucao has been incommunicado." (Global Voices)
  • Sharing best practices for effective democratic transitions of power. "Effective handovers of power after democratic elections are becoming increasingly important, but also more challenging. Senior practitioners and experts on executive-branch transitions met in Montreal, Canada, on November 1 and 2, 2018, to share good practices for the smooth transfer of government control from one elected administration to another. The international symposium, co-hosted by NDI, the White House Transition Project and the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, included former heads of state and government, current and former ministers, chiefs of staff and other senior political staff, senior civil servants and scholars." (NDI)
  • UK watchdog refers Facebook case over fake ads to EU regulator. "Britain’s information watchdog has asked Facebook’s lead European regulator to investigate how the company targets, monitors and shows adverts to users, saying it was concerned about some practices at the world’s biggest social network." (Reuters)

states and cities

  • As possibility of two Amazon "HQ2's" leaks, critics knock process as data grab and PR stunt. "The quest kept a persistent spotlight on Amazon as the suitor everyone sought — would it choose Denver? maybe Atlanta? surely Chicago? — even as the company apparently decided instead to set up smaller operations in the Washington metro area and in New York City, the two most obvious places all along. (Amazon declined to comment.) Amid the guessing game, the company got information from dozens of cities about how much they would pay for a strong Amazon presence, valuable data that it will no doubt use to expand…'It’s tempting to roll your eyes at this soap opera, but Amazon will walk away from this stunt with a cache of incredibly valuable data,' said Stacy Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a frequent Amazon critic. 'It’s learned all kinds of things from the bidding cities — like their future infrastructure plans — that even their citizens are not privy to.'" (New York Times)
  • North Carolina voters reject efforts by legislature to strip power from judiciary, executive branches. "North Carolina legislators have spent the last couple years attempting to strip power from the other branches of government in favor of their own. Their hopes of convincing voters to expand their authority fell far short at the ballot box Tuesday, however." (Governing)
  • Florida voters approve measure to restore voting rights to more than 1 million felons who have finished their sentences. "About 1.4 million Floridians who haven’t been able to cast ballots in elections because of laws barring convicted felons from voting regained their right to vote under a constitutional amendment approved by voters Tuesday. According to preliminary election results, 64% voted in favor of Amendment 4, which restores voting rights to felons, except those convicted of murder and sexual offenses, automatically after they complete all the terms of their sentences, including parole or probation." (BuzzFeed)
  • Voters in three states approved nonpartisan redistricting measures. (NPR)

midterm madness

The United States Capitol. 
  • Indicted Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) wins re-election. "Republican Representative Duncan Hunter, indicted on charges of misusing campaign funds for personal expenses and lying about it on federal forms, was re-elected in California’s 50th Congressional District, according to projections by CNN and NBC." (Bloomberg)
  • Indicted Congressman Chris Collins (R-NY) wins re-election. "Representative Chris Collins, indicted on federal insider-trading charges, won re-election to a fourth term in New York’s 27th district, beating Democrat Nate McMurray, according to projections by ABC and NBC." (Bloomberg)
  • Embattled Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) wins re-election. "Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) won reelection, despite a mistrial on federal corruption charges and an admonishment from the Senate Ethics Committee.  The senator defeated ex-pharmaceutical executive Bob Hugin, who hammered Menendez for his alleged ethics violations and funneled $36 million of his own money into the race, including a reported $10 million on attack ads.  Menendez was indicted by a court on federal corruption charges in 2015, and though proceedings ended in a mistrial, the Senate Ethics Committee “several admonished” him this year for accepting gifts in exchange for favors." (Washington Post)
  • Democrats win House majority, plan ethics and campaign finance reform efforts early next year. "Democratic leaders say they would use their first month in the House majority to advance sweeping changes to future campaign and ethics laws, requiring the disclosure of shadowy political donors, outlawing the gerrymandering of congressional districts and restoring key enforcement provisions to the Voting Rights Act." (New York Times)


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