Steering Committee Minutes: April 16, 2014

Participants: Gary Bass, Bauman Foundation; Lynne Bradley, American Library Association; Danielle Brian, Project On Government Oversight –POGO; Kevin Goldberg, American Society of News Editors; Sean Moulton, Center for Effective Government; Michael Ostrolenk, Liberty Coalition; David Sobel , Electronic Frontier Foundation (on phone); Thomas Susman, National Freedom of Information Coalition –NFOIC; and Katherine McFate, Center for Effective Government; John Wonderlich, Sunlight Foundation (on phone); Patrice McDermott , Amy Bennett, Abby Paulson, Katherine Hawkins, and Mary Treacy (on phone), staff.

Communications Strategy

We are looking into partnering with a firm to develop a communications strategy. We have received several proposals. We will consider OTG’s internal capacity to incorporate the strategy, as we are still a small staff.  We have also reached out to other (mostly smaller) organizations for proposals including some suggested by partner organizations of similar size to OTG. 

Sunshine Week

OTG partnered with the Newseum Institute and Sunshine in Government Initiative to host another successful annual event.  We also co-sponsored an event for reporters with the Sunlight Foundation.  Amy testified at the Senate Judiciary’s hearing on FOIA. 

Next year, it may be helpful for groups to collaborate on publicity, and set an expectation for a policy win by that week.   We will work later this year to identify the best ask for 2015.

Communications Update

The past meetings have largely focused on the 10th anniversary celebration.   In our video, we will include OTG’s 10 biggest accomplishments, which will be disseminated to the steering committee listserv for review and input.  The upcoming video will include quotes from funders and Senators Cornyn and Leahy.  The celebration will be held at 6pm – 8pm on May 8th at the Mott House. 

Partnership Requests from For-Profits

A few for-profit groups have expressed interest in membership.  We will explore having an auxiliary/affiliate group including for-profits. A sub-committee was created to explore the possibility. 


We have seven new partners: Food and Water Watch, Institute for Agricultural and Trade Policy, Center for Rural Strategies, Main Street Project, League of Rural Voters, Rural Coalition, and the New England First Amendment Coalition.  This brings us to 90 partners.   In our outreach efforts, we have pitched OTG as helping groups get “a place at the table” on federal openness issues that impact them.   We began with a focus on agricultural, rural, and food safety organizations to increase engagement on OGP commitment to open up agricultural data.  Some groups have not been interested because they do not see a connection to the federal government in their work.  

National Action Plan

The NAP is being implemented over two years.  OTG has modified its evaluation process to include check-ins on government progress to ensure momentum over this time.  Some commitments have not sparked interest in the community.  If we do not find leads to engage on them, we will not include them in the evaluation.  We will, however, make note of this in our process.


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