June 11, 2012

We’re a scrappy little outfit working to open government.

We’re a scrappy little outfit working to open government. That means making it easier for people to access and use as much government information as possible. It’s a daunting challenge but one we gladly accept. We believe innovative technology can help deliver a government that listens, works for its citizen-users, and learns from them. We are dedicated to putting better data and better tools in more hands. Our goal is to make or adapt those tools to be easy to use, efficient, scalable and free. Democracy means everyone should have chance to be a hands-on contributor.
Information and technology are disruptive. But data-driven disruption is what will ultimately break down the barriers of closed, inaccessible, unaccountable government.

We’ll bring the sledgehammers.

The Team


SEAMUS KRAFT, Executive Director, Co-Founder & Vice-Chairman of the Board Seamus loves America, technology and helping people participate in their communities. He launched OpenGov with Chairman Issa in 2011 while holding down a Congressional day-job as Director of Digital Strategy and press secretary for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Leading a plucky team of digital ninjas from 2009 to 2013, he built the committee’s influential digital presence from scratch and lived to tell the tale.When not working on OpenGov, you can probably find him reading, in the woods looking for lost golf balls or following Phish around the United States. A native of Marblehead, MA, Seamus graduated from Georgetown University in 2007 with a degree in classical political philosophy.  Tweet him @SeamusKraft or drop him a line at Seamus@OpenGovFoundation.org.

DARRELL ISSA Co-Founder, Chairman of the Board & California Congressman 

Darrell is a lifelong technophile with a passion for open, accountable government. First elected to Congress in 2000, he led the successful opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives. Issa launched OpenGov in March 2011 to expand development of free software solutions like Madison that help citizens access government, empowering them to collaborate with elected officials and each other to deliver better policy.

Before serving the people of California’s 49th Congressional district as Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Committee, Issa founded Directed Electronics Incorporated and served as Chairman of the Consumer Electronics Association. Issa received the 1994 Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Inc. Magazine, Ernst & Young and the San Diego Union-Tribune.  Tweet him @DarrellIssa.

ABHI NEMANI Board Member 

Abhi Nemani is a writer, speaker, organizer, and technologist. For the past four years, he helped build the national non-profit, Code for America, atechnology organization dedicated to reinventing government for the 21st century. Abhi led CfA’s product strategy as its teams tackled local government challenges ranging from transparency and business licensing to food stamps and the criminal justice system. He also led the organization’s efforts to scale through building multiple new programs: a first-of-its-kind civic startup accelerator, an international volunteer corps, and a collaborative network for hundreds of government innovators. Abhi’s work at CfA has been featured in the New York Times, Government Technology, and Forbes, and he has been featured as a speaker at SxSW, the World Bank, and various universities and conferences around the world.

Prior to CfA, Abhi worked for Google, developing social engagement strategies, the Rose Institute of State and Local Government, managing multiple local government transparency research teams, and the Center for American Progress, focusing on connecting a national network of public-minded students.

Abhi is a Truman National Security Partner, a member of the Board of Advisors of Significance Labs, and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Urban Development Initiative.  He graduated magna cum laude from Claremont McKenna College with a honors degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE), and studied political philosophy and rhetoric as the University of Oxford.

LANHAM NAPIER Board Member Lanham is the former CEO of Rackspace, the service leader in open cloud computing and user-first “fanatical customer support.” He joined the company in 2000, growing its team of Rackers from fewer than 100 to more than 4,500 and its revenue to more than $1 billion in 2011. Under his leadership, Rackspace has developed the groundbreaking OpenStack open source cloud operating system. That makes Rackspace and OpenGov, as he puts it, “like brothers from another mother.”Lanham earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Rice University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Lanham also serves as part-time advisor to General Catalyst. He lives in San Antonio, TX with his wife and two children. Rumor has it that he uses a cloud-based app and smartphone to control the temperature of a backyard smoker to regularly deliver award-winning ribs.

LEILI SLUTZ, Operations Architect Leili joined the OpenGov team to be a part of the digital democratic revolution. She has a background in nonprofit communications and development with a variety of organizations around DC and Virginia.Leili spends her free time running, reading, yoga-ing, and planning elaborate trips abroad.  Tweet her @LeiliSlutz or drop her a line at Leili@opengovfoundation.org.

CHRIS BIRK Lead Developer and Board Member 

Chris is a geek at heart, graduating from Purdue University with a degree in Computer Science. He previously worked for a series of startup web development companies before diving into Madison with The OpenGov Foundation. He was part of the inSourceCode team that first built Madison and KeepTheWebOpen.com, while bringing an innovation mindset to how the U.S. Congress uses technology. He has a fancy for working with open source projects and is constantly staying up to date on new toys and tools.Chris is originally from Carmel, Indiana and in his spare time can be found hooping on the hardcourt, cheering on his Indianapolis Colts, or relaxing to some Dave Matthews Band.  Tweet him @cmbirk or drop him a line at Chris@OpenGovFoundation.org.

BILL HUNT Developer Bill has been a web developer for seventeen years. In that time has worked for a variety of start-ups, client service firms and government agencies, including as the technical lead for several award-winning teams.  As an “oldschool” web geek, he likes to work with the whole stack, from servers to css and everything in between.  Before joining OpenGov, he was a major contributor to The State Decoded open source software project that puts the law online the right way.As a native of Charlottesville, VA, Bill can often be found hiking, enjoying the local restaurant scene, or philosophizing about the intricacies of tea.  Tweet him cool .*rc hacks @krues8dr or drop him a line at Bill@OpenGovFoundation.org


TOM DAVIS Former U.S. Congressman from Virginia, Board Member Tom serves as a Director for Deloitte & Touche, working to bring effective, common sense solutions to government.  He was first elected to office in 1979, representing Mason District on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.  In 1991, after spending 12 years as the Mason District supervisor, Tom defeated the incumbent chairman of the county board, taking the top elected office in Fairfax County, Virginia.In 1994, Tom successfully took on another incumbent, this time winning a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives to represent the 11th Congressional District of Virginia.  He was the first freshman in 50 years to be given a subcommittee chairmanship, taking the gavel of the Subcommittee on the District of Columbia.  He is known for his encyclopedic knowledge of political minutia, often teaching members of Congress on the electoral history of their own districts.  He has also twice won the Political Trivial Pursuit challenge sponsored by the Hotline and National Journal.After the 2002 election, he was named chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform, gaining national prominence once again by chairing hearings on the use of performance enhancing substances in professional sports.  Other notable accomplishments include his hard-hitting but objective report on the federal response to Hurricane Katrina; his sponsorship of legislation giving the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco; and passage of the National Capital Transportation Amendments Act, which authorizes much needed capital reinvestment in the Washington Metro system.Tom is a cum laude graduate of Amherst College and earned a JD degree at the University of Virginia Law School.  He is married to Jeannemarie Devolites Davis and has two step daughters, Nicole, and Ashley who are George Mason Graduates.


JAMES LACY Board Member Jim serves as legal counsel for OpenGov, bringing to bear more than 25 years of experience in non-profit law.


JOE TRIPPI Board of Advisors


Founder and President of Trippi & Associates, and heralded on the cover of The New Republic as the man who “reinvented campaigning”, Joe Trippi is widely recognized as one of America’s most influential political strategists. During his 34-year career, Trippi has run and consulted on numerous presidential, Senatorial, congressional, mayoral and gubernatorial races. Most recently, Trippi was a senior strategist and media consultant in Jerry Brown’s successful run for California Governor.


Trippi is known for his innovation in the world of political strategy. In 2004, as the National Campaign Manager for Howard Dean’s presidential campaign, he pioneered the use of online technology to organize what became the largest grassroots movement in presidential politics. Trippi and his team also created the empowerment messaging and the online community tools that President Barack Obama used in his campaigns, and which has now become the basis for movement politics all around the world. He also has an extensive international resume, serving as advisor to successful campaigns for Prime Minister in Greece, Great Britain, and Italy.

Trippi is the author of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Democracy, the Internet and the Overthrow of Everything, the story of how his revolutionary use of the Internet combined with an impassioned, contagious desire to overturn politics-as-usual grew into a national grassroots movement – and changed the face of American politics forever.


KARIEN BEZUIDENHOUT Board of Advisors Karien Shuttleworth

Director of the Shuttleworth Foundation, Karien is an advocate for openness and supporter of social entrepreneurs. She has played various roles within the Foundation, facing new challenges and learning every step of the way. She now focusses on the Fellowship Program – engaging with issues of openness and social change, identifying potential investments and working closely with Fellows towards realizing their vision.

She is a native of the Eastern Cape, South Africa, and the smell of rain after a dry spell still makes her think of home. She believes elephants have noble hearts and is passionate about their protection and conservation. It is rare for a meme to pass her by; she always knows what’s up in the collective mind of the Internet.

Karien studied business and economics at the business schools of the University of Stellenbosch and University of Cape Town.


MAGGIE McKINLEY Board of Advisors 
Maggie McKinley is Co-Principal Investigator of the “Language of Lobbying” Project at the University of Chicago. She received her JD from Stanford Law School and her BA in linguistic anthropology from UCLA. Previously, she served as Manager of Research at the UCLA Ethnography of Autism Project, Principal Policy Producer at the Sloan Center on the Everyday Lives of Families, and practiced civil litigation on behalf of unions and labor federations at Bredhoff & Kaiser in Washington, DC. Following law school, she clerked for the Northern District of California and the Ninth Circuit. Her work has been published in the Stanford Law Review and was awarded the Steven M. Block Civil Liberties Award for excellence in writing in the area of personal freedom. In August of 2014, Maggie will begin her tenure at Harvard Law School as a Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law.  Click here for more on Maggie.  Tweet her @MaggieMcKinley.


JEN YU Board of Advisors

As a multifaceted creative with roots in film, animation, illustration, product and interactive design, Jen Yu has led wildly successful design and experience teams in the last decade. These places include Disney, Adobe, Slide (acquired by Google), Jen YuJawbone, and Frog Design, to name a few. She is also deeply involved with social entrepreneurs, having worked with TEDActive in 2011 on the Social Networks Project Leadership team, served on the board of the International Game Developers Association in Asia, and worked as a design mentor for Startup Weekend.

She led the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) experience design team in building Plan X, the U.S. Defense Department’s foundational cyberwarfare program.  Jen is currently the Chief Creative Officer of a Y Combinator startup in San Francisco.  If you buy her a cookie, she will gladly take it.


SCOUT ADDIS Board of Advisors
Scout is the Managing Director for Mad*Pow’s West Coast office in Oakland, California.


He is always looking for ways to do things better, faster, and easier and that’s what makes him successful at uncovering the best solutions for large-scale design challenges. From Fortune 500 companies to angel-funded startups, his leadership, consulting, and designs have resulted in tens of millions of dollars in revenue and cost savings.


Scout‘s passion for complex domains and solving new problems has drawn him to healthcare, financial services, startups, and government. Most recently, he was the Director of Design at Practice Fusion, the leader in cloud-based electronic health records, where he manged the company’s “design first” approach to product development. Some of the other companies he’s worked with include Barclays Global Investors, Thomson Reuters, United Health Group, The United Way, NetApp, Zendesk, and Cooper. He served as a design advisor to the Tech and Digital teams for President Obama’s 2012 campaign and Libby Schaaf’s successful 2014 Oakland mayoral campaign.

Our Funders

For a full list of our funders, please click here.

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