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Reading through GovLoop I saw that there was a MeetUp last night in NY to discuss how the midterm elections could effect the open gov initiative.

First off I'm glad there's people out there talking about this because it's kind of important. Secondly I'm not super political so I don't who what candidates support what minus the guy running for Rhode Island Governor who is giving GovLoop props.

So I want to hear what people think how could open gov be effected? What are the positives and what are the negatives?

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Two angles to consider on this:

State elections: Cuomo and Chafee have embraced open government in their platforms. For more on the former, read NY Senate CIO Andrew Hoppin's blog. It's unclear how much running on open government will resonate with an angry, mistrustful electorate that cares about classic wallet issues (jobs, healthcare, energy) but it will be interesting to watch.

Congressional elections: If the Republicans do take over the House, expect the oversight committee to be active under Rep. Issa. The transparency agenda there is significant; if that comes to fruition, that aspect of OGI wil be ramped up, along with closer examination of open government efforts at the agencies or the work of OMB's IT team. That scrutiny could be a good thing, with respect to accountability, but could also scuttle initiatives that are developing slowly or make missteps.
I think you're right on, Alexander. I've always thought there's a big difference between "transparency" meaning oversight and anti-corruption, and "transparency" as a means to improve services and delivery. The former is often wielded as a political tool while the latter can take a long time to build and is much more a function of good management than politics. There's nothing inherently wrong with oversight transparency -- we need it to ensure accountability and to protect us from cynical actions. But there can be a trade off where politics scuttles management, particularly those projects you mentioned that need time to develop. It's a common tale in this country.
News today from ForeSee Results and NextGov paint a pretty grim picture, saying the only way is up.

• All measured entities received low scores when it comes to transparency, citizen satisfaction, and trust. Scores range from 37 on the low end (Congress) to a high of 46 (the White House) on the study’s 100-point transparency scale. On the 100-point citizen satisfaction scale, scores range from 26 (Congress) to 40 (the White House), and the trust scores span the same range. These are failing grades by almost any definition.
• The White House is leading the way as the most transparent of the four measured entities. Though low-scoring, the White House received the highest marks in every measured category, including transparency, citizen satisfaction, and trust, as well as other open government concepts like accountability, perceived goodwill, competence, and integrity. This could indicate that the current administration’s focus on transparency has had an impact, though the long journey is far from over.
• There is a clear and proven relationship between transparency, satisfaction, and trust. The research shows that higher transparency leads to higher citizen satisfaction with government, which in turn leads to higher trust.
• Congress has the lowest scores in every measured category. When it comes to transparency, citizen satisfaction, trust, accountability, perceived goodwill, competence, and integrity, American citizens give Congress the worst scores across the board.
• As part of a separate longitudinal study, ForeSee Results surveyed citizen perceptions of federal websites’ online transparency four times a year, and the third quarter 2010 results are included in this report. The results are quite different compared to the overall government transparency scores reported earlier in this analysis. Of the 30 federal websites measuring online transparency, the average score is 75.8, and up nearly one point since last quarter’s report.

Full report attached.
I actually posted the event to the calendar, and attended--it was my first time attending. I believe there will be video available later, and so I'll restrict my comments to this: it is fascinating how far local and state have come in New York, and challenging how far NY still has to go, to really meet the standard of available, usable data.

But there were some very cool project discussed. Back in a day or so to describe.


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