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Open Government
Open Government

Conservative media group sues for access to Wisconsin's Democratic governor

An influential conservative media outlet in Wisconsin is alleging that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers is unconstitutionally keeping its reporters in the dark about the governor's public appearances and barring them from events open to other media.

The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy, which operates an overtly rightward-leaning news service that covers state government and politics, filed a lawsuit in federal court this week to gain access.

The case is notable in part because it counters a stereotyped narrative — that fights for open government and public access are generally waged by liberal media outlets against conservative government officials.

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President Trump's team has either ignored, manipulated or subverted the requirements for analysis and participation on numerous policy actions that range from addressing climate change to the division of waiters' tips, writes Shapiro.

The White House is upending decades of protocol for policy-making

Shapiro is a professor of planning and public policy at Rutgers University.The Conversation

Whether it's overhauling asylum procedures, adding a question about citizenship to the 2020 Census, or rolling back fuel standards, a pattern has emerged when the Trump administration changes policies and creates new ones.

An announcement is made, media attention follows, the policy is formally proposed and finalized – generating more news coverage along the way. In many cases, judges suspend the new policy as lawsuits work their way through the system. Unusually, the Supreme Court often ends up determining whether the new policy can go into effect.

All presidents since the 1960s have embraced a process known as policy analysis that requires careful consideration and deliberation at every step of the way. In most cases, the public also gets to weigh in before a final decision is made. Based on my research about regulatory decision-making, I've observed a sea change in how Trump's team is dealing with public policy compared to previous administrations.

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Rep. Joaquin Castro

Single tweet sparks intense debate on campaign donor privacy at a volatile time

A roster of only 44 campaign donors posted online generated one of the most passionate national debates of the summer on Wednesday — a hot mashup of disagreement about campaign finance, government openness, media ethics and the personal safety of the politically engaged.

The arguments were all the more intense because their backdrop is President Trump's own incendiary rhetoric, which in light of the weekend's twinned mass shootings has seemed to push campaign rhetoric beyond abstractly polarizing into palpably connected to violence.

The fire was lit Monday evening when Rep. Joaquin Castro posted on Twitter a list of his San Antonio constituents who have given the maximum allowable to Trump's re-election campaign this year. "Their contributions are fueling a campaign of hate that labels Hispanic immigrants as invaders," he tweeted.

To be sure, all their names and occupations are readily searchable by the public using the Federal Election Committee's robust online database. And many of them are well known and longstanding advocates for conservative causes and candidates in the biggest majority-Latino city in Texas.

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The United States Capitol

War on lobbying profession is discrimination for political gain

Miller is president of the National Institute for Lobbying & Ethics and principal of the lobbying firm Miller/Wenhold Capitol Strategies.

Attacking lobbyists isn't a new phenomenon, it's been happening for decades. It happens every election cycle when candidates troll for cash and votes. It happens when Washington is gridlocked. It's an easy way for some to dodge the hard questions from constituents about why things aren't getting done in D.C. It's easier to simply blame those damn special interests for shutting down the process than it is to explain your own actions.

What's new is the growing intensity against everyone's right to petition their government — even if it means playing fast and loose with the Constitution. I get that a lot of this is for the public and ensuring candidates get elected.

The problem with that belief is that we are a social-media-driven society that can quickly turn fake news into real news (or reality) within minutes. The concerning part isn't the words, but how quickly the information is shared and how little facts play into it being viewed as truth.

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