Today in OpenGov: Lessons learned.


In today's edition, Richmond, VA keeps its public housing private, lessons learned from the latest 2020 campaign finance reports, how lobster dinners led to the resignation of France's environment minister, and more. 

states and cities

Image via MuckRock.
  • How Richmond, VA keeps information about its public housing private. "Ever get the feeling that your local government agency is hoping you just go away? That certainly seems to be the case with the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority in Virginia. Over the last six months, prying event basic information about plans to demolish its existing public housing in favor of an entirely voucher-based system has been an exercise in futility. By the time you get the document, you’re too late." (MuckRock)
  • Voters in San Francisco will consider new disclosures and limits on campaign finance in the city. "Voters will have a chance in November to increase the restrictions on political contributions in the latest campaign finance proposal aimed at pay-to-play politics in San Francisco. The 'Sunlight on Dark Money' ballot initiative, which was placed on the ballot by members of the Board of Supervisors, requires greater disclosure of who is behind campaign ads paid for by political committees known as independent expenditures or Super PACs. Instead of the committee names the largest donors who contributed to those committees and the amounts will have to go on the ads." (San Francisco Examiner)
  • New research explores the effects of Seattle's Democracy Voucher program. "In this paper, we evaluate whether an innovative new campaign finance program in Seattle, Washington shifted the composition of campaign donors in local elections.  In 2015, voters in Seattle approved the creation of the Democracy Voucher program with the intent of broadening representation in the campaign finance system and expanding participation from marginalized communities." (Election Law Journal via Election Law Blog)

washington watch

Image credit: Issue One.
  • Lessons learned from the latest batch of federal campaign finance filings. "Congressional and presidential candidates alike filed their latest batch of campaign finance reports on Monday, detailing their fundraising and expenditures between April 1 and June 30. Here are some key numbers to know, based on an Issue One review of these new filings." (Issue One)
  • This lawmaker is concerned about the effect of high-level vacancies at executive branch agencies. "he unprecedented number of vacancies and positions filled by acting officials in the Trump administration is significantly hurting agencies’ capacity to fulfill their missions, said Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., chairman of the government operations panel on the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee on Tuesday. 'I think it weakens government. I think it is not a good management model,' he said." (Government Executive)
  • The Census has a plan to fight back against cyberattacks, boost rural outreach according to its director. "The Census Bureau’s chief on Tuesday pushed back on concerns about cyberattacks and outreach in rural areas in testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. In the first congressional testimony by a bureau official since the Trump administration dropped a citizenship question from the 2020 census, the issue was only briefly addressed. Senators instead focused on the implementation of the count next year, which will be the first to rely primarily on online responses." (Roll Call)
  • Allegations of Trump administration Census citizenship question cover up continue. "Days after President Trump announced he's no longer pushing for a citizenship question on the 2020 census, officials in his administration are now facing allegations of covering up the question's origins. Challengers of the question filed a formal request Tuesday for U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman of New York to consider imposing penalties on the Trump administration for allegedly providing false or misleading statements as part of the multiple lawsuits over the question, which was originally approved by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross." (NPR)

around the world

Image credit: Jeffreyw.
  • French environmental minister resigns amid scandal over lobster dinners. "Emmanuel Macron's environment minister, François de Rugy, Tuesday announced his resignation after coming under fire over allegations that he spent taxpayers' money on lavish dinners and home renovations. In a Facebook post, he blamed French news site Mediapart — which first reported on his spending last week — and accused the site of "attacks" on his person. The efforts required to defend him, he claimed, kept him from fulfilling his duties as minister." (POLITICO)
  • Thoughts on the UK's upcoming National Data Strategy. "Today’s digital revolution is driven by data. It has opened up extraordinary access to information for everyone about how we live, what we consume, and who we are. But large unaccountable technology companies have also monopolised the digital age, and an unsustainable concentration of wealth and power has led to stunted growth and lost opportunities. Governments across the world must now work harder to give everyone access to key information and the ability to use it to understand and shape their lives; as well as making powerful institutions more accountable; and ensuring vital research information that can help us tackle challenges such as poverty and climate change is available to all. In short, we need a future that is fair, free and open." (Open Knowledge)
  • Three formally charged in the 2017 murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. "Three men have been formally charged with the 2017 murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Alfred and George Degiorgio, and an associate, Vincent Muscat, were initially arrested in December 2017 for carrying out the car-bombing that killed Caruana Galizia, a prominent anti-corruption blogger. The justice department's confirmation of the charges on Tuesday will allow the case to progress to trial." (POLITICO)
  • Former president of Peru arrested in US amid ongoing corruption probe. "Peru’s ex-president Alejandro Toledo, wanted in his home country on corruption charges, was arrested in the U.S. on an extradition warrant, authorities said. U.S. Marshals captured Toledo Tuesday morning, and he later appeared before U.S. judge, who set a hearing for Friday morning, the Justice Department said in an emailed statement. Toledo faces charges in Peru of taking money from Odebrecht SA, a Brazilian construction company that carried out a continent-wide bribery scheme." (Bloomberg)


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