News

March 28th, 2017

The First Sunshine Week of the New Administration

“Seamus Kraft, executive director of the OpenGov Foundation, began by reminding the audience that the best ways for the public to engage with their representatives in Congress are in person or via telephone, which are methods from the 1950s. He said the legislative branch needs 21st-century technology to better facilitate this contact. Congressional offices are experiencing increased constituent correspondence while member office budgets endure cuts.

“The House of Representatives spent more than $200 million last year on technology, so it’s not the amount spent, but the technology itself that is woefully inadequate. The OpenGov Foundation’s solution is a Congressional Digital Service, similar to the executive branch’s U.S. Digital Service, to diagnose the problems. No one knows the appropriate response time to a constituent correspondence made via social media or the telephone. Kraft believes that we’ll see a Congressional Digital Service in this Congress and recommends that it sit outside partisan politics—for example, in the Library of Congress.”


March 25th, 2017

Harvard University #CodingItForward: A Conversation with Seamus Kraft, Co-Founder of The OpenGov Foundation

“More and more people are waking up to the fact that the executive is never your voice in government — it’s all the legislature! You need your legislature to represent your views in government. How do you change government in the digital age? The answer is that it’s a full-spectrum operation. It’s not just through technology, or policy, but rather both. A new app is almost always not the right solution. Unless it has a corresponding means of improving the internal functioning of government, it’s only going to make the problem worse. We need to change how governments work from the bottom up. It’s not just through better tech but better policy, rules, and resourcing.” – Seamus Kraft, Co-Founder of The OpenGov Foundation, in conversation with Harvard University’s #CodingItForward


March 21st, 2017

Civic Engagement Snapshots— On Trump Budget, Massachusetts Engages Directly with Congressman Seth Moulton

When President Donald Trump published his first federal budget proposal last week, Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) knew the people he represents would have a lot to say. Click Snapshots in this post to read in Madison and join the conversation with Rep. Moulton As their voice in the United States House of Representatives, it is … Continue reading Civic Engagement Snapshots— On Trump Budget, Massachusetts Engages Directly with Congressman Seth Moulton


March 17th, 2017

Sunlight Foundation: “Today in OpenGov-Congress Needs a Digital Service”

Congress needs a digital service to modernize and restore public trust. Seamus Kraft, Executive Director of the OpenGov Foundation, made the case for a congressional digital service at a Sunshine Week event on Monday. According to Kraft, “a congressional digital service team…[could] help Congress identify their tech problems and take advantage of…[existing tools] to reverse declining public trust by improving congressional business processes and civic engagement.”


March 16th, 2017

Top Ten James Madison Quotes to Celebrate His 266th Birthday

Today is President James Madison’s 266th birthday.  Known as the “Father of the Constitution,” he is near and dear to our hearts here at The OpenGov Foundation— our collaborative policymaking software bears his name.  President Madison, like our Madison, believed that in America, governing better means governing together, with all voices heard and all perspectives … Continue reading Top Ten James Madison Quotes to Celebrate His 266th Birthday


March 14th, 2017

Statement on U.S. Digital Service Co-Founder Haley Van Dyck Returning to Serve in the Trump Administration

“There are few who understand how to modernize federal information technology systems and culture better than Haley Van Dyck. As a co-founder of USDS, she intimately knows the organization, the people and the problems they are solving. As a civic tech leader, she knows how to get it done in one of the most challenging environments on earth. As a public servant, she is setting an unparalleled example that, no matter who occupies the Oval Office, talented individuals need to put aside partisanship to help deliver fantastic digital services for our fellow Americans— inside and outside government.” – Seamus Kraft, Executive Director of The OpenGov Foundation


March 13th, 2017

Sunlight Foundation: How to Invite Feedback on An Open Data Policy

we wanted to use a platform that was as inclusive and as intuitive as possible. We wanted to ensure it was very easy for the public to provide feedback. At first we considered putting it up on Github and using Github comments, but eventually we landed on the Madison platform which is a product of the OpenGov Foundation. Drafts.dc.gov (an instance of Madison) was created as a part of this effort.

Madison was better for us because it meant people who care about government data but may not be technologists (think reporters, or people who file a lot of FOIA requests) don’t have to create a Github account or figure out what a pull request is in order to weigh in. Madison was also already in use in DC. Councilmember Grosso’s office had piloted and it was gracious to allow us to port their copy of Madison to the Drafts.dc.gov domain so we could build off their efforts.


February 17th, 2017

GovTech: Debate Erupts Over Access to Laws in the Digital Space

“It seems to me very clear that you cannot have secret law,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) said. “If you’re going to require people to adhere to a standard, that has to be in public domain. I’m sympathetic — I understand that there’s a business model set up — but you can’t allow the business model to trump the rule of law.”


February 15th, 2017

FedScoop: The Internet Archive Offers to Host PACER for Free

The executive director of the OpenGov Foundation, Seamus Kraft, told FedScoop that the proposal of this public-private partnership between Internet Archive and the courts is a “fascinating potential model not just for PACER” but for across government. The Internet Archive, he said, has “unmatched expertise,” delivering vast quantities of information fast and accessibly.

“The vital public information in PACER is the property of the American people,” Kraft said in a statement. “Public information, from laws to court records, should never be locked away behind paywalls, never be stashed behind arbitrary barriers and never be covered in artificial restrictions. Forcing Americans to pay hard-earned money to access public court records is no better than forcing them to pay a poll tax.”


February 14th, 2017

Statement on Internet Archive Offer to Deliver Free and Perpetual Public Access to PACER

STATEMENT FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR February 14, 2017 CONTACT: Mary Kate Mezzetti, marykate@opengovfoundation.org | +1-508-776-2789 WASHINGTON, DC (February 14, 2017) — The OpenGov Foundation today released the following statement from Executive Director Seamus Kraft on the Internet Archive’s offer to “archive and host— for free, forever and without restriction on access to the public— all records contained … Continue reading Statement on Internet Archive Offer to Deliver Free and Perpetual Public Access to PACER


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