Gov 2.0 Hero: Daniel Newman

What was your path to Gov 2.0?

As a volunteer in politics, trying to improve my community, I realized the tremendous influence of wealthy interests which slant laws to their benefit. I co-founded to shine the light of transparency on the river of money that underlies our politics and to help citizens hold their politicians accountable.

What area of government offers the biggest opportunity for improvement via Web 2.0 tools?

The biggest opportunity comes with getting government to post its data on campaign donations and voting records. It takes continuous, serious pressure to make this happen.

This past year, sought data about how California legislators voted. We had to sue to force the government to release this information and we won. But it shouldn’t take a lawsuit to make government make information available. It’s amazing that government has to be dragged into the 21st century in this way.

On the Congressional side, public records have been published sporadically if at all. Information on Congressional committee votes should be up on a website the same day the vote is taken, not released months later, if at all. Information about how our government representatives vote should be available to everyone and not just people or firms that can afford thousands of dollars for private subscriptions to this information.

What’s the killer app that will make Gov 2.0 the norm instead of the exception?

The killer app is a political representative who is both honest and savvy about reaching and working with the voters. It’s a government official who will use the web more effectively to engage his or her constituents, whether they use email or discussion forums or other means. And conversely, we definitely need more and better ways to access elected leaders.

What part of Gov 2.0 most excites you?

I’m excited that it’s easier than ever for citizens and voters to determine what their elected officials are doing and hold them accountable.

The internet makes it possible for good research to be done and shared. is a lean and effective organization. With just six full-time staffers, we have reached at more than 13 million during the past year and a half with groundbreaking research findings on how campaign dollars align with lawmakers’ votes. Our work has been featured on CNN, Marketplace, and hundreds of other media outlets. New Internet tools make it possible for organizations like ours to shine a light on government in ways that are farther-reaching than ever before. This empowerment of anyone who wants to shine a light on government is the exciting promise of Gov 2.0.

Luke Fretwell is the founder of the civic innovation and technology blog GovFresh. He advises civic leaders and businesses on how to best leverage digital strategies to create more effective, collaborative governments. He has written about government IT for Federal Computer Week, NextGov, FedScoop, StateScoop and FierceGovernment, and has been referenced by the Washington Post and Fast Company on civic technology issues. He has worked with a number of government-focused companies and media, including CivicActions, NuCivic and FedScoop and has been involved in broad-focused community efforts, such as GovPress, CityCamp, CivicMeet, Agile Government Leadership and Open Source for America. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Funding government technology

I’m always inspired talking and working with entrepreneurs trying to solve big civic problems, especially those who realize much of the challenge lies within modernizing and empowering internal government operations, so it was great to finally meet with Govtech Fund Founder and Managing Partner Ron Bouganim this week.

Government and the ’empowered product owner’

The 18F Delivery team released a “Partnership Playbook” that aims to help federal agencies understand what to expect when working with 18F, and the gem within is play number two, “We work with an empowered product owner.”

Benchmarking for better government

Citizens simply glaze over when they are confronted by a sea of large numbers with many zeros. These figures need to be relatable to the person reading the data. Otherwise, open data is just more data that dies on the vine.

Why local government must go digital

The Welsh Government released a report of its findings on how local government in Wales can better leverage digital technologies and realize significant savings while still providing quality, scalable citizen services.

‘No ugly, old IT.’

“No ugly, old IT” jumped out at me when I first reviewed DataSF’s strategic plan, “Data in San Francisco: Meeting supply, spurring demand,” and it still sticks, mostly because someone inside government was so bold as to make this a priority and openly communicate it and also because this should be a mantra for everyone building civic technology.

Why is a big deal

Enabling internal government tech shops to quickly stand up applications in a secure testing environment is fundamental to quick prototyping, and 18F’s new is a major step in realizing ultimate IT flexibility.

FCC launches beta

Based on “extensive user research,” the Federal Communications Commission has launched a beta version of that aims to make the site “more useful and accessible to FCC stakeholders.”


Follow GovFresh