Today in OpenGov: Where’s your press pass?


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In today's edition, a new police misconduct database highlights a lack of accountability, the FEC reveals its internal conflict to Congress, the White House revokes many permanent press passes, and more. 

states and cities

Image credit: Tony Webster.
  • LAPD official behind controversial data programs retiring to pursue lucrative contracts working with other cities. "The architect behind the Los Angeles Police Department’s widely hailed but controversial data-driven crime-fighting tools is leaving the agency next week to help expand similar programs in other cities. Deputy Chief Sean Malinowski spent years pushing the LAPD to the forefront of how police agencies analyze data to target crime. His departure, though, comes amid the overhaul of a program he helped implement more than eight years ago to predict locations of property crimes after questions were raised about its effectiveness and whether black and Latino communities are unfairly targeted. A 25-year veteran, Malinowski said he plans to work part time at the University of Chicago and run his own company, which won a $635,000 contract in March with the Baltimore Police Department." (Los Angeles Times)
  • New database shares more than 200,000 police misconduct records. "USA Today has scored a coup. It has partnered with police accountability nonprofit Invisible Institute to obtain misconduct records from around the nation. These paint a pretty bleak picture of American policing — not just in the number of incidents, but in the number of incidents that go unpunished. Public records requests have resulted in thousands of documents detailing at least 200,000 incidents of alleged misconduct, along with more than 100,000 internal investigations. The database is completely searchable and leads readers, reporters, researchers, etc. directly to the underlying documents." (TechDirt)
  • States contribute images of 270,000 miles of highway to safety database. "Hundreds of thousands of miles of roadways in Arizona and a number of other states are part of a growing network of images detailing guardrails, street-signage, striping and other features central to understanding and improving highway safety. Mapillary, a hosting platform for street-level imagery, has some 40 million images from 270,000 miles of roadways from state transportation departments in Utah, Florida, Arizona, Connecticut and Vermont. The images have been processed with "computer vision” to identify key items like signage and striping. The data is used by DOTs to examine any given stretch of highway for safety, suitability and other criteria." (Government Technology)
  • Judge finds South Dakota's out-of-state donor ban unconstitutional. "A federal judge has ruled unconstitutional South Dakota Initiated Measure 24, a state law which would have banned Americans from other states from contributing to ballot measure campaigns in South Dakota. The Institute for Free Speech and former South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley represented a coalition of trade associations, an advocacy group, and a former South Dakota resident in a challenge to the law." (via Election Law Blog)

washington watch

Federal Election Commission commissioners on June 27, 2018. Image credit: Ashley Balcerzak/Center for Public Integrity.
  • FEC commissioners lay out conflicting views of the organization's problems in letters to Congress. "The Federal Election Commission’s four leaders are offering lawmakers clashing perspectives on the agency’s very purpose…The FEC commissioners’ comments are part of 171 pages’ worth of responses to dozens of questions Committee on House Administration Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., sent the FEC on April 1. The Center for Public Integrity on Thursday obtained the FEC responses, dated May 1, from the Committee on House Administration. Commissioners at the FEC — an independent, bipartisan agency tasked with enforcing and regulating federal campaign finance laws — had refused the Center for Public Integrity’s requests to review their responses." (Center for Public Integrity)
  • Prosecutors charged a former intelligence analyst with leaking classified information to a reporter, continuing a trend. "Federal prosecutors in Virginia charged a former United States intelligence analyst with providing classified information to a reporter, according to unsealed court documents. Daniel Everette Hale, 31, of Nashville was arrested Thursday morning and was expected to make an initial appearance in federal court in Nashville. He was charged under the Espionage Act and with theft of government property…Mr. Hale’s case is the latest example of the Justice Department’s efforts to find and prosecute officials who provide reporters with sensitive information, an aggressive approach dating to the George W. Bush administration. The number of leak cases accelerated under President Barack Obama, and the heightened pace has continued under President Trump." (New York Times)
  • Federal IT leaders are struggling to deal with "dark data" that they don't even know exists at their agencies. "Most IT managers agree finding and capturing dark and grey data should be a top priority, but antiquated policies and lack of senior-level support remain major hurdles. Dark data describes all the unknown and therefore unused data across an agency, while grey data is known but unused." (FedScoop)


Image credit: Bill Hennessy/CNN.
  • New rules at the White House have forced a significant chunk of the White House press corps to hand in their hard passes. "In what appears to be an unprecedented move, the White House revoked the press passes of a significant chunk of the Washington press corps because they didn’t meet a new standard, according to Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank. Under the new rules, rolled out earlier this year, in order to qualify for the highest level of access—known as a “hard pass”—journalists had to be present in the White House for at least 90 days out of a 180-day period." (Columbia Journalism Review)
  • President Trump's top housing watchdog is trying to ease fines that he helped big banks fight while in the private sector. "Brian Montgomery spent years helping lenders fight fines for faulty mortgage underwriting before President Donald Trump nominated him to run a key housing agency. Now that he leads the Federal Housing Administration, Montgomery is pursuing policies that could make such penalties far less likely." (Bloomberg)
  • President Trump set to nominate acting-Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan to fill the role for real after he was cleared in an ethics inquiry by the Pentagon IG. "President Trump will nominate Patrick M. Shanahan as his second defense secretary, trying to cement the acting Pentagon chief against an expected challenging battle with lawmakers and Defense Department officials skeptical of him, White House officials said on Thursday. The announcement, in a tweet from Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, followed a monthlong Pentagon ethics investigation that found that Mr. Shanahan, a former Boeing executive, had not acted improperly in official meetings when discussing military contractors." (New York Times)
  • The latest Trump administration conflicts of interest include new subpoenas, old losses, and a rare contempt charge. "This week, the public receives the clearest picture yet of President Donald Trump’s finances and it shows huge losses, the House Judiciary Committee votes to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress and Donald Trump Jr. is subpoenaed." (Sunlight Foundation)


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