Steering Committee Minutes, 4/24/2007


Steering Committee Minutes 4/24/07, 1pm I. Updates A. "Closed Doors; Open Democracies?" webcast and DVD -The webcast is now available for free on our website. It’s sitting on the host’s server right now, but we will move it to our own once we figure out the logistics -We will keep the webcast available for free, and we will look into options of making it more widely available through indexing and making it searchable -We will make a creative commons copyright of the webcast -We are making 100 DVDs (many libraries want a copy in their collection). DVDs will be sold for around $25 through the Special Libraries Association online store B. Flash animation -The flash animation is now available on our homepage and at -We sent a note to our partners and members last week, announcing the release -Some of our major membership partners have agreed to help promote it (PFAW, Common Cause, maybe CAP, and Sunlight with bloggers) -Patrice will send the flash animation to Waxman’s staff C. Secrecy Primer -Primer was sent to the editorial group -Designer Galen Lawson is working on designing report (you can go to and see their Make A Difference report for an example of the designer’s work) -Aiming for publication in mid-May -We will disseminate it to key committees and offices -The primer should be used by Steering Committee members as a calling card.OTG may give steering committee members (in DC) a box of reports for their office -John Podesta and Bob Barr will write a joint preface -Ralph Neas, Gary, and Tom will write the foreword -Patrice will write the acknowledgement page D. Forum on Congress and National Security Information – The event occurred on March 30th and was a great success – well-attended and good discussions. II. Sign on letters A. Guantanamo Records: -In the next day or two, we will send a letter to Attorney General Gonzales and Dr. Weinstein regarding a protective order that permits counsel for the government to retain one complete set of "materials that were presented in any form to the Court." -The letter asks for more details as well as requests that Weinstein explain what types of records they will have and how they will handle the records -We will send a copy to the Judiciary Committees and Sen. Levin (Armed Forces) -Signers include OTG partners and others B. S. 849 letter (OPENGovernment Act) -We’re collecting signatories from OTG partners onto a letter that encourages Republicans to sign onto support S. 849 (47 of 49 Rs haven’t signed on) -So far 17 OTG partners have signed on to the letter -We will also encourage state organizations and chapters and their members to send their own letters -We’ll also encourage conservatives to send their own letters (Liberty Coalition has signed onto ours and Bill will talk to Taxpayers for Common Sense) IV. Anonymous holds -Last week, Sen. Alexander announced an R had a hold on S. 223, a bill to force Senators to file their campaign finance reports electronically. -Sunlight Foundation has been running a campaign to "out" the Senator, similar to the Coburn-Obama push to out the secret holder from bloggers -OTG sent a note to coalition partners and members alerting them of the issue and encouraging them to call their Senators -Only Sen. Gregg has not confirmed or denied putting a hold on the bill -The bill was reintroduced for unanimous consent today (April 24) III. Discussion of "secrecy Senator" Kyl -Sen. Kyl has had a history of secrecy, including delaying the OPEN Government Act, even though the Sen Judiciary committee was ready to pass it out -Kyl currently making backroom arrangements with Cornyn to offer amendments on the floor -Need ways to stop the secrecy and convey problems to his constituents in Arizona IV. Open House Project (Bill) -OTG has been part of a group to create recommendations to "open the House," led by Sunlight Foundation -The recommendations will be released the second week of May -Prior to the release, representatives will meet with Reps. Boehner and Pelosi -There are 8 recommendations: 1. Legislative Database (THOMAS info released as structured information, e.g., XML) 2. Preserving Congressional Information (open formats and standardizing for permanent preservation, also using FDLP for distributed archiving) 3. Congressional Committees as a Public Resource (rules change for transcript posting, standardizing committee webpage offerings) 4. CRS Reports (make public) 5. Member Web-Use Restrictions (modernize antiquated franking restrictions on member web-use.) 6. Citizen Journalism Access (traditional galleries are restrictive, perhaps video access to raw feeds) 7. Clerk of the House (electronic access to disclosure documents) 8. Coordinating Web Standards (new centralized office recommendation) -Will also place a series of OpEds in The Hill -will have printed reports available -press conference TBA V. 21st century Right-to-Know Agenda -OMB Watch 2 yr plan moving forward with OTG – Pocantico retreat will kick off the work, July 18-19 -OTG steering committee members are invited. Costs will be covered by Rockefeller Brothers Fund and OTG will cover travel costs, if needed. Let Gary know if you would like to attend- space is limited -They are working on a draft participant list and agenda -Organizers will be sure to get input from people who can’t attend,beforehand and afterwards -Patrice will have info to hand out to people at the NFOIC meeting in May VI. Signing onto letters and adopting official positions -Patrice circulated a document from 2003 outlining policy for adopting official positions -the document should be updated to include more recent changes at OTG: -Director has more authority now than a coordinator did when doc was drafted -need to emphasize the importance of branding OTG -Patrice will update and circulate the guidelines VII. Replacing Steering Committee members who leave -Need policy for replacing steering committee members -Do we consider the positions as representing organizations or individuals? Or sectors of the community? (good government, eg) -Conversation will continue on the next call

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