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OTG is Hiring

POLICY ASSOCIATE
This is an exciting opportunity to play a visible role in the policy debate on Washington’s most high-profile issues.  From whistleblower protection to preserving and strengthening the Freedom of Information Act, to pushing back on excessive government secrecy, advocacy in support of government transparency is a critical and rewarding political endeavor.   We seek a creative and self-directed individual to join our small, dedicated team.

Time to End the Senate's NDAA Secrecy

The National Defense Authorization Act authorizes $585 billion in Pentagon spending. The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) keeps the public almost entirely in the dark on this mammoth authorization bill. Last year, the text of the bill considered by the committee was not made available publicly and the markup was closed to the public. In contrast, the House Armed Services Committee has held an open markup for years.

34 Groups Oppose "Protecting Cyber Networks Act"

The Protecting Cyber Networks Act (PCNA) would undermine government transparency and increase intelligence agencies’ access to the public’s sensitive personal information, 34 openness and civil liberties groups said in a letter to members of the House of Representatives. The PCNA would categorically exempt government-provided information from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. The legislation also authorizes agencies to use cyber threat information in Espionage Act cases, and leaving open the possibility that “cyber threat” information could be used to investigate whistleblowers.

USAspending.gov's Upgrades Falter - April 14, 2015 Newsletter

– Brief Updates on Coalition Partners & Others (more)
– USAspending.gov's Upgrades Falter (more)

– Speak Up About Open Government(more)

Sunshine Week’s Transparency Legislation; CISA Threats Move Forward

This Sunshine Week, members of Congress stepped up to introduce legislation to increase openness and accountability in all branches of the federal government. Senators Dick Durbin and Chuck Grassley introduced legislation to require the Supreme Court’s open proceedings to be televised. Similar legislation passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2012 and 2010. Rep. Gerard Connolly introduced identical legislation (HR 94) in February.

Pushing for Results Using the Open Government Partnership

Last week, the World Justice Project published the Open Government Index, an examination and ranking of governments’ openness. Notably, the index used public surveys to and “in-country expert questionnaires” to score countries. It’s an interesting approach. After all, the theoretical strength of the Freedom of Information Act matters little if the public does not find it to be an effective, useful tool. On the Open Government Partnership blog, WJP’s Alejandro Ponce uses the Index data to illustrate that “OGP participation indeed linked to more transparent, participatory, and accountable government in practice.”

OpenTheGovernment.org and Allies Press for Meaningful Surveillance Reform

Earlier today, OpenTheGovernment.org joined with a large coalition of civil society groups and trade associations, along with tech companies, in sending a letter to Congress that underscores the essential elements of any surveillance reform legislation. The letter, signed by over forty groups, emphasizes that transparency is an essential part of any meaningful surveillance reform bill--and that we oppose reauthorization of section 215 of the PATRIOT Act without real reform:

Join With Us to Turn Rhetoric into Results with a Civil Society Model National Action Plan for Open Government

We and our colleagues have learned that the government's National Action Plan for open government is the place to turn openness rhetoric into specific commitments from government that lead to measurable results. We invite you to join us in furthering that goal.

Twelve Open Government Groups Call For Archivist and State Department to Review Clinton Email Server and Ensure Preservation of Federal Records

Today OpenTheGovernment.org and eleven other pro-transparency groups wrote to the Secretary of State and the Archivist of the United States, requesting that they independently verify the preservation of federal records among the emails in electronic form. The groups wrote, “the task of determining which emails constitute federal records should not be left solely to Mrs. Clinton’s personal aides.

FOIA Under the Microscope: Center for Effective Government, National Security Archive, and Cause of Action Release Reports

Sunshine Week is a perfect time to reflect on the current state of the Freedom of Information Act. Three coalition partners issued reports that examine FOIA’s implementation.

The Classified Section

Check out our new blog, The Classified Section, for analysis of national security secrecy.

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