Steering Committee Notes: January 22, 2013

Participants: Steve Aftergood, Federation of American Scientists (phone); Gary Bass, Bauman Foundation; Tom Blanton, National Security Archive; 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; Anne Weismann, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington – CREW; Patrice McDermott , Amy Bennett, and Abby Paulson, staff

Considerations for Hiring

There may be the expectation by funders to hire a staff member for OGP outreach and communication, possibly time-bound for the grant period. OTG will consider looking for a consultant with policy background, or perhaps shift responsibilities of current staff and hire for another position.

It is also proposed that OTG could rethink what would be most useful to us. The creation of a roster of academics engaged in openness and accountability issues could be very helpful. 

OGP Work—Next Steps

A memo outlining the evaluation’s status was distributed.

We will be framing our evaluation in terms of learning from successes/obstacles and how to approach the NAP 2.0. It is suggested that OTG host a community convening to discuss the draft of the evaluation to finalize the document and begin communications for the next NAP process. This would probably be a gathering of 30-40 people, with all teams invited. A rapporteur could moderate the event and write up a summary, and OTG would use it as a launch point. We could use the documentation of this kind of event as an example of what increased documentation we’d use for our expanded OGP outreach.

It is important to push the community’s policy priorities for the next round of NAP creation. 

Communications Team Update

The 100 Days Letter is being pitched to Washington Post’s Outlook. If the letter is not picked up, partner organizations (or those affiliated to Steering Committee members) could do a joint release on websites, and each put out a press release as well. (If not picked up by State of the Union address.)

The In/Out List was not picked up, but did generate increased traffic to the OTG site.

To consider: is having a placement consultant more useful than cultivating relationships with reporters? Or can both be done? 

Statement of Values Revision

The Steering Committee agreed on a new version of the organization’s statement of values, which reads:

We, the undersigned individuals and organizations, believe that the People have a right to information held by and for our government.  We believe that transparency is essential to ensuring integrity and accountability in the operation of our governing institutions.  We believe that openness helps to ensure that policies affecting our health, safety, security and freedoms place the public good and well-being above the influence of special interests. Making government as open as possible also fosters confidence in representative government and encourages public participation in civic affairs, an essential feature of our form of government.  For all these reasons, seeks to advance the public's right to know and to reduce unnecessary secrecy in government.

Sunshine Week 

OTG’s section will be March 15th, in the morning at the Newseum. OTG will discuss joint day panels with the Freedom Forum, taking care to incorporate community’s policy priorities. Possible themes include: What Do We Want? – defining the open government legacy, laying out a path forward; When Do We Want It? – current initiatives and whether they are effecting real change, and what steps the Administration should take in the short- and medium-term to reduce secrecy/create greater openness in government; and You Can’t Always Get What You Want – looking at the (ongoing) issues with access to information withheld under the ‘national security’ rubric.  

Sunshine Week participants/panelists/organizers should develop op-eds to generate more conversation, highlight importance of topics discussed during the week. 


The original OTG governance structure includes terms of service for the Steering Committee. These will be kept. The Chair will let members know their term status. In the governance document, the place of business in # 9 will be changed from OMB Watch to POGO.

The vacancy in the Steering Committee remains.

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