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Today in OpenGov: Reddit campaign shows consequences of FEC’s super PAC loophole

Friday, April 22, 2016 13:42
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(Before It's News)

By The Sunlight Foundation



  • The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists told the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office that while it welcomed the government’s interest in the information it has reported in the Panama Papers, it would not turn over unpublished data for a criminal investigation. “We certainly welcome the U.S. Attorney’s Office reviewing all of the information from the Panama Papers series that we have made available to our readers and conducting its own investigation,” said ICIJ Director Gerard Ryle, in a statement. “However, ICIJ does not intend to play a role in that investigation. Our focus is journalism. ICIJ, and its parent organization the Center for Public Integrity, are media organizations shielded by the First Amendment and other legal protections from becoming an arm of law enforcement.” [Public Integrity]
  • As detailed in a fact sheet and forum at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue this morning, 32 more jurisdictions joined the White House Police Data initiative, bring the total to 53 cities across the United States. Clarence Wardell, a member of the U.S. Digital Service, and Denice Ross, senior advisor on the Community Solutions Team at the White House Office of Management and Budget, blogged about the one-year milestone of the project. [Medium].poilce-data-initiative-april2016
  • Greg Otto reported back from an Association for Federal Information Resources Management panel on “how federal agencies can move open data to the next level.” [Fedscoop]
  • Demand Progress policy director Daniel Schuman reports back from this week’s Congressional hearing on the nomination of Carla Hayden as the next Librarian of Congress. [Medium]
  • Sunlight alum Paul Blumenthal reported on why the End Citizens United political action committee is being criticized. [Huffington Post]

State and Local

  • In March, USA TODAY published an investigation that found almost 2,000 municipal systems around the United States that have not met the EPA’s standards for lead in drinking water. A review of letters from 49 state agencies responding to the EPA directive found many states and cities are not complying with the Environmental Protection Agency’s request to publish an online inventory of the locations of at-risk lead pipes in their water systems. In some cases, the agencies are raising staffing and nondigital archive concerns. In others, utilities are pointing to customer privacy. [USA TODAY]
  • A group of nonprofits filed a class action lawsuit regarding the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system, alleging that the federal judiciary is overcharging the public for access to the law. “This noncompliance with the E-Government Act has inhibited public understanding of the courts and thwarted equal access to justice,” the nonprofits argued, in a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. [National Law Review]
  • New York state’s child services agency dragged out its response to a reporter’s Freedom of Information request for almost a year. The ProPublica journalist decided to write a story about the delay that went online yesterday. Today, he received a package in the mail. [ProPublica]
  • Juliana Reyes filed a terrific story digging into what’s happening with civic innovation in Philadelphia’s City Hall. []
  • The 2016 What Works Cities Summit offered “insights that not only will make sound municipal data strategies fundamental for a city government’s success but also sustainable for the long haul,” reports Michael Grasse. [Route Fifty]


  • Mexico City is going to crowdsource a new constitution on As Micah Sifry notes over at Civicist, the effort faces two challenges: what happens online is not binding offline, and a survey found the public views corruption as a major impediment to making the reforms matter. [QZ]
  • The Republic of Georgia is going to try a pilot land titling project that used the blockchain — also known as a distributed ledger system — in partnership with economist Hernando de Soto and San Francisco-based Bitfury. [Forbes]
  • Algorithmic accountability extends a public’s right to access information to the code used in commerce and governance. Researcher Mélanie Dulong de Rosnay explored the concept how a bill introduced in France’s National Assembly in January 2016 relates to algorithmic transparency and platforms operated by the private sector. [London School of Economics Media Policy]
  • For #EarthDay, Twitter teamed up with IndiaSpend to enable the residents of Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore to learn about air quality conditions by tweeting. “Tweet using #Breathe hashtag with your location, then you will get back a reply Tweet with a real-time update about the air quality in your area.” [PC World]

The Sunlight Foundation is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization that uses the power of the Internet to catalyze greater government openness and transparency, and provides new tools and resources for media and citizens, alike.


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