Today in OpenGov: New year, new rules


Happy New Year and welcome back to Today in OpenGov after a long holiday hiatus!

In today's edition, we try to squeeze in as many holiday season headlines as possible. Highlights include new House rules, two weeks worth of Trump administration conflicts of interest, our new Open Data User Persona library, and more.  

washington watch

Image via the GAO.
  • New House rules package features ethics reforms, 72 hour rule, Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress and more. The folks at have a good rundown of the changes. Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) will chair the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress  (Federal Computer Week), which is split 6-6 between parties and slated to produce a final report within a year.
  • House Democrats make the For the People Act, "a comprehensive package of democratic reforms," H.R. 1. (HuffPost) Norm Eisen and Fred Wertheimer explained why H.R. 1 is so important. (POLITICO)
  • Bipartisan legislation to strengthen the Federal CIO was reintroduced in the House on Friday. (NextGov)
  • The new chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee counts industry interests he now oversees among his biggest donors. (Sludge)
  • Freshman Rep. Ross Spano (R-FL), already facing scrutiny over questionable campaign loans, has $75,000 worth of donations flagged by the FEC. (POLITICO)
  • Democratic groups used social media manipulation in razor thin 2017 special election for Alabama Senate seat. (New York Times)
  • The Supreme Court will consider two partisan gerrymandering cases this year. (POLITICO)
  • The Pentagon is looking for a set of ethical principles that can guide the use of artificial intelligence in warfare. (Government Executive)
  • The Government Publishing office is hit by accusations of cronyism and wasteful spending. (NPR)
  • The Government Accountability Office's WatchBlog took a look at the range of open data available from the government and shared some recommendations on how agencies can best share that data. Read the GAO's full report on the portal here

states and cities

  • We shared our new Open Data User Persona Library. 
  • It's not too late to propose a session for the 2019 Code for America Summit! ( DC)
  • Massachusetts towns are increasingly using technology to handle public records requests in wake of state law overhaul. (MassLive)
  • FOIA lawsuit questions balance between privacy and public interest for Washington, D.C. Councilmembers. (D.C. Open Government Coalition)
  • Alderman Ed Burke, longtime member of the Chicago City Council, was charged in a federal extortion probe. (Bloomberg)
  • Why is the race to be New York City's next Public Advocate so crowded? (New York Times)


  • Lynn Walsh was busy over the holidays, filing two editions of her regular look at Trump administration conflicts of interest
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are de-emphasizing and instead steering consumers towards brokers and agents as they search for insurance plans. (Sunlight Foundation)
  • The Mueller probe secured a six month extension from a federal judge last week… (BuzzFeed)…Whenever the probe issues a final report, expect President Trump to try and suppress at least parts of it. (Bloomberg
  • The Senate confirmed President Trump's pick to head up the Office of Science and Technology Policy. (Federal Times)
  • During a nationally televised Cabinet meeting last week, President Trump asked his acting Secretary of Defense to restrict inspector general access to classified battlefield reports. (Government Executive)
  • As Democrats take control of the House, they prep their initial oversight volleys against the Trump administration. (POLITICO) (Washington Post)


Tired of your boss/friend/intern/uncle forwarding you this email every morning? You can sign up here and have it delivered direct to your inbox! Please send questions, comments, tips, and concerns to We would love your feedback!