Blog Posts

    Council Hearing Shows Executive Resistance to Open Government (And the Law)

    April 1, 2022, by Fritz Mulhauser

    A deputy mayor repeatedly declined to provide, or even describe, agency budget requests that didn’t make it into the mayor’s budget, under questioning by the D.C. Council Chairman Wednesday (30), though the law for years has required those to be shared with the Council and published and a recent court decision upheld the law. Video […]

    Community Messages Get Through: OAH Chief Judge Promises Plans Soon for Publishing Opinions

    March 27, 2022, by Fritz Mulhauser

    The chief judge of the D.C. Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) told the D.C. Council Friday (25) that she will provide a timeline soon for publishing the decisions of the office’s three-dozen administrative law judges. The office issued almost 9,000 decisions in Fiscal Year 2021 on challenges to D.C. agencies’ alleged errors ranging from multi-million-dollar […]

    Coalition Puts D.C. FOIA Issues At Center Stage in More Oversight Testimonies: Dysfunctional Request Portal, Massive Delays in Deciding Appeals, and Overall Inattention to Enforcing the Law  

    March 21, 2022, by Fritz Mulhauser

    The Open Government Coalition testified three more times as Council committees completed 56 hearings totaling over 320 hours in January and February reviewing agency performance during the second pandemic year, 2020-21. Reports on earlier testimonies this year can be read here (on lack of transparency in Advisory Neighborhood Commissions) and here (on ill-advised proposals for […]

    “Ditch those disappearing message apps” – Open Government Office Advises D.C.

    March 19, 2022, by Fritz Mulhauser

    New legal advice to the mayor says employees’ and officials’ electronic messages in any form are government records under D.C. law but evade storage and retrieval especially when sent via modern software on private devices, so the mayor should strongly discourage personal device use, require message copies be kept in rare situations where use is […]

    Coalition Sunshine Week Summit Centers on Police Issues With the Chief and Community Observers

    March 18, 2022, by Fritz Mulhauser

    According to D.C. police chief Robert Contee III, in a remarks in a March 16 webinar, the Metropolitan Police Department is already transparent with data, for example releasing details on discipline and use of force shouldn’t be judged by misconduct cases settled; decisions by government attorneys to settle even winning cases just to avoid costs […]

    Coalition Urges D.C. Council Action on Proposal Addressing Messaging Apps

    March 1, 2022, by Fritz Mulhauser

    UPDATE 3/15/22: On Monday (14) Republicans on the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight Committee wrote the D.C. Inspector General asking for investigation of the use of WhatsApp by the mayor and others. The letter, first reported by Axios, recounts the familiar history, but adds a motive, “The lack of transparency regarding Mayor Bowser’s WhatsApp messages […]

    2022 Open Government Summit: Register Now — Wednesday, March 16, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.

    February 25, 2022, by Sandra Moscoso

    The 2022 D.C. Open Government Summit March 16 at 6:30 p.m. will focus on DC Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD) transparency and accountability. This year’s Sunshine Week program will be again virtual via Zoom. We have invited recently appointed Chief Robert J. Contee III (confirmed) to address concerns District residents, activists and journalists have raised about […]

    Coalition Testimonies in D.C. Council Oversight Stress Transparency Improvements Needed in Three Agencies

    February 15, 2022, by Fritz Mulhauser

    The D.C. Open Government Coalition kicked off its annual advocacy at D.C. Council agency performance hearings pressing for Public access to death investigations the D.C. medical examiner wants to keep secret; Prompt hiring of a D.C. archivist to assure archives planning and a new archives building that will enhance access to D.C. records; and End […]

    New Amicus Brief by Coalition Supports D.C. FOIA Online Publication Requirements in Novel Appeal

    February 7, 2022, by Fritz Mulhauser

    UPDATE: The D.C. Council filed its amicus brief (8). The D.C. Open Government Coalition added its voice Friday (4) in favor of court enforcement of a unique part of D.C. FOIA law in a pending appeal in the D.C. Court of Appeals. In a case dealing not just with access to papers and files but […]

    D.C. Police Officials Manipulated FOIA to Avoid Embarrassment Says New Lawsuit

    February 3, 2022, by Fritz Mulhauser

    UPDATE 3/25/22: In a Washington Post opinion piece today (25), plaintiff’s attorney Charlie Gerstein criticized the District brief discussed below that argued the alleged FOIA review practices were not illegal (if they happened, which is never conceded at this early stage of a lawsuit). Gerstein noted D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser in early comments on the […]