Blog Posts

    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 […]

    Updated Technology and Law Essential to Assure Public Access to ANCs as Virtual Meetings Continue — Coalition Tells D.C. Council

    January 28, 2022, by Fritz Mulhauser

    D.C. Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs) need “significant investment in infrastructure, personnel and training” to modernize their operations according to testimony January 20 by Coalition board member and D.C. attorney Bob Becker. The video of the hearing before the D.C. Council Committee on Government Operations and Facilities is here; Coalition testimony begins at 0:12:35. The full […]

    New Report Recommends Changes in D.C. Open Government Policy

    January 16, 2022, by Fritz Mulhauser

    Ideas for improving open government are in an end-of-year report from the D.C. Board of Ethics and Government Accountability (BEGA). They include: extending the agency FOIA response deadline from 15 days to 20, setting a uniform email retention period (indefinite now), requiring ANCs to follow the Open Meetings Act (now exempt), creating a clear process […]

    Disappearing Message Apps: D.C. Mayor Acknowledges Using WhatsApp and Maryland Governor Seems to Be Doing State Business on Wickr

    January 2, 2022, by Fritz Mulhauser

    UPDATES: 2/21/22 Prompted by the new Axios reports of multiple D.C. employees confirming high-level use of WhatsApp (see just below), The Washington Post again editorialized Saturday online (19) and in print Sunday (20), adding that the D.C. mayor’s office has been “oblique” in explaining policies about preservation. The Post is now calling for a “mandate“ to […]

    Do D.C. Officials Really Need U.S. Marshals Service Permission to Talk About Jail Conditions?

    December 8, 2021, by Fritz Mulhauser

    UPDATES: 3/8/22: D.C. Council members are frustrated that “the DOC and the Marshals Service…have provided little transparency into their changes” to address jail conditions, according to a report on an oversight hearing March 2 by Spencer Hsu for The Washington Post. The acting Corrections Director Tom Faust told Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) he […]

    No Need for Education Research Advisory Group to Meet in Public? D.C. Open Government Coalition Disagrees With Council Emergency Proposal

    December 6, 2021, by Fritz Mulhauser

    UPDATE 12/13/21, 6:00 p.m.: At the December 7 Council legislative meeting, the Council chairman withdrew his proposal to make the education research partnership advisory committee not a public body. A substitute dealt with another topic—authorizing the research partner, Urban Institute, to provide staff support to the advisory committee. The original proposal had drawn concerns (as […]