Steering Committee Minutes: January 15, 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; Conrad Martin, Fund for Constitutional Government; Sean Moulton, Center for Effective Government; Michael Ostrolenk, Liberty Coalition; Tom Susman, National Freedom of Information Coalition –NFOIC; Anne Weismann, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington – CREW;  Patrice McDermott , Amy Bennett, Abby Paulson, and Mary Treacy (via phone), staff.


This quarter, Mary Treacy joined OTG as Outreach Coordinator. She is beginning with a focus on identifying groups to engage on the administration’s agriculture and nutrition data commitment, but is expanding far beyond that. Meeting attendees discussed other priorities for outreach, including reengaging groups that have dropped off.  Steering committee members recommended environmental groups, including the right to know and climate change groups, and chemical safety groups. Suggested groups also included: food quality, GMO, and “food freedom.”  A Steering Committee subgroup will assist in identifying priorities and opportunities for outreach.

It was also recommended that OTG take a look at the electorate groups we want to engage first, and do outreach to groups from there (for example, youth, women, etc.) 

Sunshine Week

The committee’s discussion on Sunshine Week panels redirected OTG’s panel plans for Sunshine Week.  One large panel on the history of civil disobedience regarding government information could potentially feature folks involved with Cointelpro, the Church Committee, a discussion of the impact on FOIA (1974 amendments) Daniel Ellsberg on Pentagon Papers, Trevor Timm on Snowden, Fritz Schwartz, Betty Medsger who wrote the Cointelpro story, and more.

It was suggested that OLC issues and the implications of the court decisions and dark money would be valuable discussions, but more appropriate for an event outside of Sunshine Week.

Open Government Partnership NAP Work

Following the release of the plan, OTG collected analyses of the commitments. In February, we will create teams and work to develop recommendations for the implementation of the commitments (drawing heavily from the model commitments already written). We will do a 1-year check-in in December 2014/January 2015 looking at the progress made and what commitments (if any) have been added or expanded. The full evaluation will be conducted in 2016.


In our first strategy meeting, we discussed identifying our mission for communications, which included de-mystifying open government and informing journalists, government officials, and the public. We also discussed letting the news lead our strategy, providing the open government angle on things already in the news.

OTG is working with American Forum to develop a speakers directory in an effort to increase our coalition’s presence beyond print media.


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