Steering Committee Notes, 4/23/08



A. FOIA — Working with a volunteer lobbyist on funding in NARA issue, but have not been able to set up a meeting. 

Discussion: – At last meeting discussed following FOIA funding; Patrice discussed possible consultants with Adam Hughes (OMB Watch), but scope of lobby effort unclear as most FOIA work is not line-item; – Should get broad spending numbers.

B. Sunshine Week — Numbers: – about 100 people attended at the National Press Club; – 22 sites hosted the event remotely; – 700+ people logged in; – 272 people have logged in to the webcast since then; – more organizations want to take part next year; – When is the 2009 event? Date?

Discussion: – Use MeetUp, other sites to foster participation next year; – Put snippets of video on YouTube; – Document value of broadcast and the conversation spawned at host sites; – Charles will contact state coalitions; – Keep panel broad in topic to keep people involved; – Get info out early. C.

Letters – Circulated 1. SBU Letter – White House confused, thought it was going to be guidance, was actually directive. 2. NSL Letter – Supporting Senate bill. 3. Web snapshot – will change letter to ask for meeting – EFF will not be able to sign because of Internet Archive reference; – Reframe letter to assume Internet Archive will exist; still NARA responsibility. 4. Smithsonian – non-disclosure policy – New documents took out language about director withholding information; – Ball in their court to develop language to disclose information and create presumption of openness.

D. Fundraising – Letters of inquiry in process and sent.

E. Financials – New grant from Bauman Foundation; – Meeting of ad hoc development team (members to be determined).

F. RTK Initiative – Gary Bass had circulated an update. Some discussion of timing. Who will be the carriers of the recommendations to various transition teams? Not decided yet.

G. Other – Quarterly Meetings – enough to keep people in the loop? – Staff will explore a monthly e-mail update and notify SC when major events (such as Hill testimony) are to occur.


Funders’ Briefing — Allison Wiley – consultant to develop template for funders’ briefing (submitted proposal). First one is to be in Northern California in the fall. Gary – objectives: – Raise awareness of govt. secrecy with philanthropists – Create outrage among those philanthropists – Woefully underfunded as a community – State coalitions greatly underfunded Tom: – Carnegie was our biggest success – We have to target a host convener – Who is our lead funder? Who sits at the head of the table? Conrad: – Well-produced folder; – What worked in NY: Keynote speaker – very artfully done; interactive, engaging, short; – What didn’t work: No planned follow-up – we need a mechanism to follow-up and connect people with something they know.

Other notes: – It has been 3-4 years since our NY funders briefing. Can we do it again in NY? – Discussion of Omidyar – social entrepreneurship nature of organization – government not really in discussion; – Possibility of panel at Global philanthropic forum in 2009? May 22 in Washington, D.C.; – Briefing should feature OTG members and what they are doing; – Need to work on material for OTG; – Need to be consistent and persistent with funder’s briefings – one on each coast every other year.

PIDB — Still exists and released a report in December on recommendations; agencies were to comment on it by April 15th. Historical Records Act: – Take PIDB recommendations into statutory guidelines; – Take standards from some records, apply to all records.

Liberty Tree Initiative – funded by McCormick-Tribune. – Effort by American society of news editors – push newspapers to do a better job reporting on the law and government openness. 

West’s exclusive contract with GAO to digitize records – GAO won’t get access and ownership of files, will have to access through Westlaw; – Letter going out from Mary Alice/AALL.

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