Today in OpenGov: Opacity in the transition, Capitol Cash, and rigging rumors run wild

CAPITOL CASH: Using Political Party Time as a resource, Sunlight's Drew Doggett looked at how state officials are fundraising and campaigning on the clock, including using public resources for partisan efforts. "Many states’ ethics laws contain loopholes that allow potentially imprudent acts by those in power: In some cases, officials use taxpayer-funded housing as a helping hand to bankroll their political aims; other times, they require their personal staff to canvass during work hours. Either way, these legal gray areas allow public resources to be put toward partisan efforts, calling into question whether or not state ethics laws should be modified to protect against this type of activity." [READ MORE]

TRANSITION BY PLAYBOOK: Politico's reporting is informing the public about the transition far more than the campaigns are. Today, Politico's Playbook reported that "Matt Butler, chief of staff for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, will serve as deputy appointments secretary under Leah Daughtry, according to sources familiar with the Clinton transition effort. Kimberly Trueblood will be operations director and Mae Podesta (John’s daughter) will serve as deputy executive director." Separately, Politico broke news that Vice President Joe Biden is being considered for Secretary of State and described increasing vetting activity involving lawyers. The Clinton campaign has made no public statement on any of this. Sunlight has issued principles for transparency in the transition and called for the campaigns to adopt an Ethics Pledge.


  • A 13 page memorandum on the intersection of former President Bill Clinton's personal and charitable income is continuing to draw attention on the campaign trail.  [NBC News]
  • The Clinton campaign is declining to comment on the memo or other emails published on Wikileaks, although, as NBC News and USA Today reported, Teneo has verified that the memorandum is real. [McClatchy]
  • An analysis of campaign finance data by Nick Confessore and former Sunlighter Rachel Shorey shows money flowing down the ballot as Democrats and Republicans focus on House and Senate races. [New York Times]
  • Conspiracy theories and rumors are running rife online and on talk radio, occasionally breaking through to cable TV news. Given historic lows in trust in media and government, there's never been a more fertile environment for misinformation and disinformation. Approach verifying and amplifying reports you see on social media with care, even those with photos and videos attached: domestic and foreign sources are intentionally trying to seed doubt about the outcome of the election. [Washington Post]
  • The state and local officials who are in charge of ensuring the integrity of the election are increasingly frustrated with a public being misled about a 'rigged election.' [Huffington Post]


  • The report on 18F by the inspector general of the General Services Administration has now been reported beyond Beltway trade press and technology publications. When statistics, accounting and management choices are laid out like this, with no clear "win" to balance, it's not hard to see how "Obama's startup" could be seen as a political liability in a new administration.  [Fox News]
  • The U.S. FOIA Advisory Council met this week to discuss how 508 compliance, which mandates that information published online should be made accessible to the public, interacts with the Freedom of Information Act. As Lauren Harper noted in her post about the meeting, your correspondent "emphasized during the public comment period that, under no circumstances, should a statute mandating greater access be distorted by agencies to undermine the FOIA’s intent to disseminate the most information to the most people the most quickly." [UNREDACTED]
  • On that count, expect more soul searching about whether "bringing Silicon Valley to Washington" is really a good thing. [New York Magazine]
  • The Department of Health and Human Services issued final Freedom of Information Act regulations today. Thanks to everyone who worked to make the draft version better: you can see consideration of each comment online. Along with redline from [Federal Register]
  • The latest edition of New America Weekly is focused on "openness." The article on transparency and democracy is particularly good. [New America]
  • The Commerce Data Advisory Council meets today in Washington. You can find agenda, meeting materials, and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker's prepared remarks online, along with a livestream on YouTube.
    "Our datasets are rich sources of economic, demographic, and scientific intelligence," said Pritzker. "But big data has little value unless we make it accessible and usable for our businesses, our entrepreneurs, and our people. With your help, we have brought the public and private sectors together to develop innovative applications of our data that will benefit our economy for years to come. We have moved closer to our shared goal of making 'open data' a centerpiece of our dynamic economy. And we have helped ensure that our data meets its full potential. "


  • If you missed it, Naperville is taking a participatory approach to forming open data policy in the open, with the public. Today is the last day to comment. Please do! [READ MORE]
  • is opensourcing the code behind the city's impressive website. [Route50]
  • Andrew Schrock is crowdfunding a book on civic hacking. Schrock is focusing on the work of geeks, technologists and civic hackers, as you can see in the first chapter. If that's something you want to hear more about, you can back it. [Kickstarter]


  • Your faithful correspondent was on The Stream discussing Wikileaks, transparency and privacy yesterday. Video is embedded above. [Al Jazeera]
  • The United Kingdom has published a beta version register of local government authorities. []


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Source : ADEC - Open data