Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Boehner Participates in the White House's Open Government Forum

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, May 22 2009

Among the very first Americans to take advantage of the White House's new call for participation under the Open Government Initiative goes by the handle republicanleaderjohnboehner. And yes, that's the House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio.

Boehner's suggestion of a 72-hour review period on major spending bills coming before Congress is, with 304 votes, the highest-rated idea on the IdeaScale site being hosted by the National Academy of Public Administration.

One problem: Boehner's call has to do with the operation of Congress -- not something that the President, however powerful, has much control over. Groups like the Sunlight Foundation have also advocated for a three-day period in which members of Congress and the public can review pending legislation. (The Leader's office confirms that while the bill doesn't specifically refer to the online posting of legislation, it's implied.) Boehner's Director of New Media Nick Schaper tells us why the congressman chose to participate in the White House forum:

The "open government dialogue" appears to be a great forum for Leader Boehner, and all Americans, to work together in developing solutions that can make a real difference. Collaborative tools like this will help level the playing field so that good ideas, regardless of their author, rise to the top.

Since its launch yesterday at about 1:30pm ET, the Open Government Initiative's first stage has collected about 100 ideas. Some are rather intriguing, like one from a former intern in the House of Representatives who was amazed by the number of petitions that flood congressional offices. Why, s/he asks, not have an online hub like the U.K.'s Petitions. Number10.gov.uk that would gather together citizen advocacy in one centralized place? Again, though, the suggestion raises the question of whether the White House's appeal for open government ideas is unfocused, since a congressional petition hub would be a matter for Congress -- and not the president -- to take up.

News Briefs

RSS Feed monday >

First POST: Front Pagers

How Facebook's trending topics feed is wrecking political news; debating the FBI's need for an encrypted phone "backdoor"; democratizing crisis data; and much, much more. GO

friday >

First POST: Tracking

Questions about whether Whisper is secretly tracking its users' secrets; the FBI's continued push against the new wave of encrypted phones; community service, high-tech-mogul-style; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Hosts

Airbnb in hot water in NYC; Knight Prototype Fund backs some civic tech projects; pondering Google's position on net neutrality; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Africa Calling

How some techies are starting to respond to the Ebola crisis; everything you need to know about GamerGate; how Twitter may upset the 2015 UK elections; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

First POST: Burrowing

How Democratic candidates down-ballot are getting access to the same voter targeting tools used by larger campaigns; Microsoft Bing rolls out its election prediction program; Edward Snowden's first emails to Laura Poitras; and much, much more. GO

More