FOI Advocate News Blog

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The NFOIC open government blog is a compendium of original concepts and analysis as well as ideas, edited excerpts and materials from a variety of sources. When the information comes from another source, we will attribute it and provide a link. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited; we will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

For Advocate posts prior to July, 2011, visit

August 7, 2015 12:18 PM

Arguing that citizens shouldn’t be locked out of a court hearing that could produce reforms to Minnesota’s troubled sex-offender treatment program, the Star Tribune, New York Times and 13 other news and open-government organizations have asked a federal judge to reverse himself and allow the public to attend the Aug. 10 conference.

In a motion filed Thursday in St. Paul, an attorney for the organizations said, “The future of Minnesota Sex Offender Program is at stake and is of significant public concern — the program and its administration, impact on public safety, public expense and individuals’ constitutional rights.”  Continue>>>


August 7, 2015 12:07 PM

The National Democratic Institute is has announced the launch of the Open Election Data Initiative. The goal of the initiative is to ensure that citizen groups have access to election data that can give a true picture of an election process, including how candidates are certified, how and which voters are registered, what happens on election day, whether results are accurate, and how complaints are resolved.

The initiative,, adapts open data principles that are designed to enhance government transparency in other areas, such as service delivery, to elections.  Continue>>>


August 7, 2015 12:00 PM

RALEIGH — There are some really good things on the table as the budget conferees discuss, debate, compromise, and finalize North Carolina’s government spending for the next two years. 

Allocating more than $22 billion each year in General Fund revenue is a big deal. Adding money from the federal government and other sources, state spending each year becomes a $50 billion big deal.  Continue>>>


August 6, 2015 11:22 AM

BOSTON (AP) — Muslim groups and civil rights activists across the nation are calling for greater transparency in a program by President Barack Obama's administration that's aimed at countering homegrown terrorism.

The organizers are speaking out Thursday through coordinated efforts in Boston, Los Angeles and Minneapolis, the three cities where the Countering Violent Extremism program is being piloted.  Continue>>>


August 6, 2015 11:02 AM

In April, we told you about our involvement in the What Works Cities Initiative, a three-year, nationwide program to accelerate the use of data and evidence in cities across the U.S. funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies. The program leverages the expertise of five different data-focused organizations to bring guidance and best practices to mid-sized cities. Today, Sunlight is thrilled to be able to tell our readers more about the first round of cities receiving technical support from Sunlight and our team of partners.  Continue>>>


August 5, 2015 11:14 AM

The FBI is investigating the security of classified emails formerly stored on Hillary Clinton’s private server and now maintained on a thumb drive by Clinton’s personal attorney, David Kendall, officials said Tuesday night.

Kendall confirmed the inquiry, first reported by The Washington Post, but sought to portray it as the logical result of the recent decision by Intelligence Community Inspector General I. Charles McCullough III to report the matter to the FBI as a potential security breach.  Continue>>>



August 5, 2015 11:00 AM

The passage of the DATA Act last year brought with it a new set of mandates for government agencies to bring more of their spending data online, in a common format, to achieve a fuller picture of where public money is being spent.

The Treasury Department and OMB have taken the lead on implementing the law, but insiders highlighted some of the significant barriers to adoption at a recent House hearing.  Continue>>>


August 4, 2015 2:10 PM

WASHINGTON (CN) - A federal judge dismissed most, but not all, of the National Security Agency's requests to dismiss a reporter's FOIA request on federal surveillance of judges.

Jason Leopold, formerly with Al-Jazeera America and now with Vice News, filed two FOIA requests for NSA and FBI "surveillance of federal and state judges."  Continue>>>


August 4, 2015 2:01 PM

Public affairs experts say easy and constant access by citizens to important government information, referred to as government transparency, is vital for good governance as well as the perception by citizens that the government is trustworthy. However, many local governments suffer from a lack of transparency.

Now, University of Missouri researchers have found that county governments in densely populated urban areas tend to be more transparent on their official websites if their citizens have good Internet access. Continue>>>


August 4, 2015 1:42 PM

Outside the mayor’s conference room, the line of D.C. cabinet secretaries and agency directors stretched down the hall. Each studied notes and prepared excuses, like schoolchildren awaiting a turn before the principal.

Inside, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) had begun the two-hour inquisition. At issue, however, was something more serious than a schoolyard dispute: more than $1.3 billion in mishandled taxpayer contracts.  Continue>>>


August 3, 2015 12:22 PM

Megan Rhyne, executive director of the Virginia Coalition for Open Government, took issue on Friday with the “matters before the public” rules approved by the Board of Supervisors.

“This is the most far-reaching policy that I’ve seen,” she said of the board’s July 28 decision. “I’ve seen some of these individual provisions in many policies across the state, but never put together in one place. The total effect is startling.”  Continue>>>


August 3, 2015 11:33 AM

Kelly Young was driving down Route 28 when a sedan traveling in the other direction rear ended another car and veered into Young's lane, hitting his car head on, police say.

Young, 56, a father of two and son of a former state lawmaker, died from his injuries.  Continue>>>


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