Today in OpenGov: Dirty deeds.


In today's edition, President Trump feels pretty comfortable admitting that he would break the law given the chance, the Department of Justice's CIO will also be its Chief Data Officer, protests continue to reverberate around Hong Kong, and more. 


President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron plant a tree at the White House as their wives look on. April 28, 2018. Image credit: Steven L. Herman.
  • In an interview, President Trump said that he would probably accept "dirt" on a 2020 opponent from a foreign government. "President Trump said he’d accept damaging information on political opponents in the 2020 election from a foreign power if the opportunity came up, and dismissed suggestions about contacting the FBI about possible interference in a US election…ABC News published the excerpt, part of a two-day interview with the president, on the same day that his son Donald Trump Jr. testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Trump Jr. has been at the center of questions surrounding a June 2016 meeting between members of the Trump campaign and Russian figures." (BuzzFeed) In case you weren't sure, what Trump described is pretty clearly against the law, as Rick Hasen explained at Election Law Blog
  • President Trump invoked executive privilege to avoid turning over documents on the 2020 Census citizenship question to the House… "President Donald Trump has invoked executive privilege for the second time in his presidency to stop House Democrats from getting documents from his administration, the Justice Department announced Wednesday. This time, Trump's privilege assertion shields documents related to a controversial decision by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. The issue is currently before the Supreme Court." (BuzzFeed)
  • …Meanwhile, the House Oversight Committee voted to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for defying subpoenas related to the citizenship question…(Roll Call)…and plaintiffs in the citizenship question case before the Supreme Court asked for a delay to consider new documents that shed light on the political calculus behind the question. (NPR)
  • 22 foreign governments have spent money at Trump properties. "Representatives of at least 22 foreign governments appear to have spent money at Trump Organization properties, an NBC News review has found, hinting at a significant foreign cash flow to the American president that critics say violates the U.S. Constitution." (NBC News)

washington watch

Image credit: Issue One.
  • The FEC deadlocked and then dismissed a case that could have kept leadership PACs from spending on private air travel. "Earlier this week, the Federal Election Commission deadlocked on, and then dismissed, a case against Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) leadership PAC that alleged the PAC abused its funds by paying for more than $5,500 in private air travel in 2018…" (Issue One)
  • New report shows that the FCC's technology advisory council is ineffective, skewed towards industry. "A technology advisory council established to inform the Federal Communications Commission on complex matters has been imbalanced toward industry interests since 2011, according to an analysis by a government watchdog. The Project On Government Oversight, or POGO, analyzed the makeup of the Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council, or CSRIC, and found it has been heavily weighted toward industry, with a dearth of government and academia advising the commission." (NextGov)
  • Margaret Hunter, the wife of indicted Rep. Duncan Hunter, is set to plead guilty to slew of charges related to diverting campaign funds for personal use. "Rep. Duncan Hunter’s wife, Margaret — facing a slew of federal criminal charges along with the California Republican lawmaker over allegations of diverting more than $250,000 in campaign funds to personal use — is set to plead guilty Thursday in federal court in San Diego. The move is a serious blow to Hunter, a six-term congressman who was indicted last August along with his wife. Hunter, a former Marine and the son of a long-term GOP lawmaker, has maintained his innocence. Hunter refused to answer questions about his wife’s potential plea deal during House votes on Wednesday." (POLITICO)
  • The Department of Justice's CIO will also become its first Chief Data Officer. "The Department of Justice has chosen its chief data officer. Joe Klimavicz, DOJ’s chief information officer, will now fill the CDO job in addition to his IT-focused duties, the agency confirmed to FedScoop on Tuesday. He officially took on the new and expanded role on May 29. The creation of the chief data officer position was mandated by the OPEN Government Data Act, which President Trump signed into law as part of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act in January." (FedScoop)

around the world

Protesters blocked roads surrounding government headquarters in Hong Kong to stop the passing of extradition bill. Image from via Global Voices.
  • Vote on controversial extradition bill delayed as protests continue in Hong Kong. "Protesters in Hong Kong are not backing down. Thousands were on the streets again today, demanding that the government there stop a bill that would send people accused of a crime to mainland China to face charges. The crowds blocked government buildings and major roads. Police in riot gear confronted the protesters, demanding they disperse." (NPR)
  • Russian journalist Ivan Golunov, arrested on fake drug charges, was released following an international outcry… "Russia has dropped charges against journalist Ivan Golunov, whose arrest for drug offences fuelled accusations of a politically-motivated campaign against independent reporters. 'Following biological, forensic, fingerprints and genetic tests, a decision has been made to drop a criminal case against journalist Ivan Golunov for lack of evidence proving his involvement in the crime in question,' Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev announced Tuesday." (POLITICO)
  • …Meanwhile, over 400 people were detained at Moscow demonstration in the wake of his arrest. "Russian police detained more than 400 people, including opposition leader Alexey Navalny, at a demonstration in downtown Moscow on Wednesday in the wake of the arrest of a prominent anti-corruption journalist. Though the reporter was unexpectedly released after the charges were dropped Tuesday, anger among his supporters remained high. Authorities had refused a permit for the march, citing a national holiday Wednesday, but more than a thousand protesters gathered anyway, calling police “the shame of Russia.” By mid-afternoon, police said more than 200 had been detained, but OVD-Info, a tracking website, put the total over 400." (Bloomberg)
  • Building a Nordic anti-corruption data ecosystem. "On May 15, 2019 Open Knowledge Sweden (OKSE) jointly with Transparency International Latvia and Transparency International Lithuania started the activities for a new project aimed to empower Nordic and Baltic stakeholders in helping to disclose anti-corruption-related datasets…The three implementing partners aim to build constructive relationships with national officials and promote the usage of open data for anti-corruption purposes." (Open Knowledge)


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!