Steering Committee Notes: April 17, 2013

Participants: Gary Bass, Bauman Foundation; Lynne Bradley, American Library Association; Danielle Brian, Project On Government Oversight -POGO; Kenneth Bunting, National Freedom of Information Coalition – NFOIC; Kevin Goldberg, American Society of News Editors; Katherine McFate, Center for Effective Government; Sean Moulton, Center for Effective Government; Michael Ostrolenk, Liberty Coalition; David Sobel , Electronic Frontier Foundation; Thomas Susman, National Freedom of Information Coalition –NFOIC; Anne Weismann, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington – CREW; John Wonderlich, Sunlight Foundation;  Patrice McDermott , Amy Bennett, and Abby Paulson, staff

Communications

We are having increasing success with our opinion placement. Website traffic has increased, notably through searches for OTG by name. Members are encouraged to send ideas to the communications team.

The communications team has several hooks and piece ideas mapped out through spring and summer. They will discuss the possibility to what a communications initiative focusing on national security secrecy might look like and entail. Steering Committee members are encouraged to submit ideas for op-eds for co-branding with OTG.

Open Government Partnership, NAP Work

We have held several meetings with the White House. We have used these meetings to push policy priorities.

The government’s next National Action Plan target release is October, but there is some push to move it to January to align schedules with other nations. We will have an answer on the release date by end of April or early May. Though the main focus of the second plan will be updating and refreshing the original, they are willing to make some additions.

There is discussion on whether this is the right place (the Office of Science and Technology Policy) to push open government priorities. It is agreed that an OSTP focus leads to a heavier data focus and we should develop both executive branch legislative strategies for our priorities.

FOIA

The coalition should capitalize on the increased enthusiasm for FOIA in Congress. Beyond the discussions about the Issa/Cummings bill in which OTG and many of its partners are taking part, steering committee members and staff will convene to map out a strategy for convening a “FOIA Summit” to hash out and narrow down community priorities and present a united push for reform that reflects where we would want to be by the end of this Administration.

CREW is putting together a working group on OLC memos to develop broader strategy as well.

Adding Secret Law to the Policy Priorities

The steering committee agreed that it is best to integrate secret law priorities into the relevant sections of the document, keeping the priorities at 8. It would be helpful to develop a secret law discussion of the importance of this issue that could be shared as a separate document. 

Sunshine Week Recap

The Sunshine Week event was largely successful and showcased the policy priorities. Next year, we plan to create an internal calendar to help organizations avoid overlap in planning their events. 

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