Under G.O.P. Pressure, Tech Giants Are Empowered by Election Agency

New rulings by the Federal Election Commission protect the flexibility of major social media companies to control political content shared on their platforms.

#biden-hunter, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #computers-and-the-internet, #dorsey-jack, #federal-election-commission, #new-york-post, #republican-national-committee, #social-media, #trump-donald-j, #twitter, #united-states-politics-and-government

F.E.C. Dismisses Claims That Twitter Illegally Blocked Hunter Biden Article

The commission’s ruling provides further flexibility to social media giants to control what is shared on their platforms regarding federal elections.

#biden-hunter, #federal-election-commission, #new-york-post, #social-media, #twitter

The stars are aligning for federal IT open source software adoption

In recent years, the private sector has been spurning proprietary software in favor of open source software and development approaches. For good reason: The open source avenue saves money and development time by using freely available components instead of writing new code, enables new applications to be deployed quickly and eliminates vendor lock-in.

The federal government has been slower to embrace open source, however. Efforts to change are complicated by the fact that many agencies employ large legacy IT infrastructure and systems to serve millions of people and are responsible for a plethora of sensitive data. Washington spends tens of billions every year on IT, but with each agency essentially acting as its own enterprise, decision-making is far more decentralized than it would be at, say, a large bank.

While the government has made a number of moves in a more open direction in recent years, the story of open source in federal IT has often seemed more about potential than reality.

But there are several indications that this is changing and that the government is reaching its own open source adoption tipping point. The costs of producing modern applications to serve increasingly digital-savvy citizens keep rising, and agencies are budget constrained to find ways to improve service while saving taxpayer dollars.

Sheer economics dictate an increased role for open source, as do a variety of other benefits. Because its source code is publicly available, open source software encourages continuous review by others outside the initial development team to promote increased software reliability and security, and code can be easily shared for reuse by other agencies.

Here are five signs I see that the U.S. government is increasingly rallying around open source.

More dedicated resources for open source innovation

Two initiatives have gone a long way toward helping agencies advance their open source journeys.

18F, a team within the General Services Administration that acts as consultancy to help other agencies build digital services, is an ardent open source backer. Its work has included developing a new application for accessing Federal Election Commission data, as well as software that has allowed the GSA to improve its contractor hiring process.

18F — short for GSA headquarters’ address of 1800 F St. — reflects the same grassroots ethos that helped spur open source’s emergence and momentum in the private sector. “The code we create belongs to the public as a part of the public domain,” the group says on its website.

Five years ago this August, the Obama administration introduced a new Federal Source Code Policy that called on every agency to adopt an open source approach, create a source code inventory, and publish at least 20% of written code as open source. The administration also launched Code.gov, giving agencies a place to locate open source solutions that other departments are already using.

The results have been mixed, however. Most agencies are now consistent with the federal policy’s goal, though many still have work to do in implementation, according to Code.gov’s tracker. And a report by a Code.gov staffer found that some agencies were embracing open source more than others.

Still, Code.gov says the growth of open source in the federal government has gone farther than initially estimated.

A push from the new administration

The American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill that President Biden signed in early March 2021, contained $9 billion for the GSA’s Technology Modernization Fund, which finances new federal technology projects. In January, the White House said upgrading federal IT infrastructure and addressing recent breaches such as the SolarWinds hack was “an urgent national security issue that cannot wait.”

It’s fair to assume open source software will form the foundation of many of these efforts, because White House technology director David Recordon is a long-time open source advocate and once led Facebook’s open source projects.

A changing skills environment

Federal IT employees who spent much of their careers working on legacy systems are starting to retire, and their successors are younger people who came of age in an open source world and are comfortable with it.

About 81% of private sector hiring managers surveyed by the Linux Foundation said hiring open source talent is a priority and that they’re more likely than ever to seek out professionals with certifications. You can be sure the public sector is increasingly mirroring this trend as it recognizes a need for talent to support open source’s growing foothold.

Stronger capabilities from vendors

By partnering with the right commercial open source vendor, agencies can drive down infrastructure costs and more efficiently manage their applications. For example, vendors have made great strides in addressing security requirements laid out by policies such as the Federal Security Security Modernization Act (FISMA), Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) and the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRamp), making it easy to deal with compliance.

In addition, some vendors offer powerful infrastructure automation tools and generous support packages, so federal agencies don’t have to go it alone as they accelerate their open source strategies. Linux distributions like Ubuntu provide a consistent developer experience from laptop/workstation to the cloud, and at the edge, for public clouds, containers, and physical and virtual infrastructure.

This makes application development a well-supported activity that includes 24/7 phone and web support, which provides access to world-class enterprise support teams through web portals, knowledge bases or via phone.

The pandemic effect

Whether it’s accommodating more employees working from home or meeting higher citizen demand for online services, COVID-19 has forced large swaths of the federal government to up their digital game. Open source allows legacy applications to be moved to the cloud, new applications to be developed more quickly, and IT infrastructures to adapt to rapidly changing demands.

As these signs show, the federal government continues to move rapidly from talk to action in adopting open source.

Who wins? Everyone!

#column, #developer, #federal-election-commission, #free-software, #government, #linux, #linux-foundation, #open-source-software, #open-source-technology, #opinion, #policy, #solarwinds, #ubuntu

Democrats’ Improbable New F.E.C. Strategy: More Deadlock Than Ever

Here is the inside story of how Democrats, after a decade of defeats at the nation’s top campaign watchdog, are trying to enforce election laws in part by losing on purpose in federal court.

#campaign-finance, #democratic-party, #federal-courts-us, #federal-election-commission, #republican-party, #suits-and-litigation-civil, #united-states-politics-and-government, #weintraub-ellen-l

Voting Rights Bill Falters in Congress as States Race Ahead

Opposition from Republicans and some of their own senators has left Democrats struggling to determine whether they should try to nix the filibuster to save a top priority.

#absentee-voting, #campaign-finance, #civil-rights-and-liberties, #democratic-party, #elections, #federal-election-commission, #filibusters-and-debate-curbs, #law-and-legislation, #manchin-joe-iii, #political-action-committees, #redistricting-and-reapportionment, #republican-party, #schumer-charles-e, #senate, #states-us, #united-states-politics-and-government, #voter-registration-and-requirements

Klobuchar to Propose Ban on Prechecked Boxes in Political Donations

Senator Amy Klobuchar is pressing for legislation after a Times investigation showed that the use of prechecked boxes for recurring donations by former President Donald Trump’s campaign led to a surge of refunds.

#actblue, #campaign-finance, #democratic-party, #federal-election-commission, #klobuchar-amy, #law-and-legislation, #politics-and-government, #republican-party, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government

Senate Panel Deadlocks on Voting Rights as Bill Faces Major Obstacles

Democrats now face the task of overcoming their own differences on the measure, and deciding whether they will use it as a vehicle to try to curb the filibuster.

#absentee-voting, #campaign-finance, #democratic-party, #federal-election-commission, #filibusters-and-debate-curbs, #klobuchar-amy, #law-and-legislation, #political-action-committees, #presidential-election-of-2020, #redistricting-and-reapportionment, #republican-party, #senate, #senate-committee-on-rules-and-administration, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government, #voter-fraud-election-fraud, #voter-registration-and-requirements

F.E.C. Drops Case Reviewing Trump Hush-Money Payments to Women

The case had examined whether Donald Trump violated election law with a $130,000 payment shortly before the 2016 election to a pornographic-film actress by his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

#campaign-finance, #cohen-michael-d-1966, #federal-election-commission, #presidential-election-of-2016, #tax-evasion, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government

F.E.C. Asks Congress to Ban Prechecked Recurring Donation Boxes

The recommendation by the election commission came a month after a Times investigation showed that Donald J. Trump’s political operation had steered many unwitting supporters into repeated donations through the tactic.

#campaign-finance, #federal-election-commission, #frauds-and-swindling, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government

Democrats Aim to Revive a Campaign Finance Watchdog

Republicans denounced the proposed overhaul as an attempt to mount a partisan takeover of what critics consider a moribund Federal Election Commission.

#campaign-finance, #federal-election-commission, #law-and-legislation, #mcconnell-mitch, #shelby-richard-c, #united-states-politics-and-government, #van-hollen-christopher-jr

How a Sham Candidate Helped Flip a Florida Election

The candidate and the man who prosecutors say recruited him to play spoiler in a Florida Senate race last year were both arrested this week.

#artiles-frank-1973, #campaign-finance, #elections-state-legislature, #federal-election-commission, #florida, #frauds-and-swindling, #garcia-joe-1963, #republican-party

Trump Raised $255.4 Million in 8 Weeks as He Sought to Overturn Election Result

The former president’s fund-raising slowed significantly after the Electoral College delivered its votes to make Joseph R. Biden Jr. the 46th president.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #campaign-finance, #dershowitz-alan-m, #federal-election-commission, #presidential-election-of-2020, #republican-national-committee, #storming-of-the-us-capitol-jan-2021, #trump-donald-j, #voter-fraud-election-fraud

Democrats in Georgia Runoffs Bring in Record Haul

The Rev. Raphael G. Warnock and Jon Ossoff each raised more than $100 million, according to campaign filings, signaling Democrats’ optimism heading into the Jan. 5 contests.

#campaign-finance, #federal-election-commission, #georgia, #loeffler-kelly-l, #ossoff-jon, #perdue-david-a-jr, #politics-and-government, #warnock-raphael-g

Business Partner of Giuliani Associate Is Expected to Plead Guilty

David Correia was charged with duping investors in a start-up he founded with Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudolph W. Giuliani.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #correia-david-p-1975, #federal-election-commission, #frauds-and-swindling, #fruman-igor, #giuliani-rudolph-w, #kukushkin-andrey, #manhattan-nyc, #parnas-lev, #politics-and-government, #presidential-election-of-2020, #trump-ukraine-whistle-blower-complaint-and-impeachment-inquiry, #trump-donald-j

Kara Swisher speaks to Trevor Potter, former chairman of the Federal Election Commission and expert on American elections

Inside the intricate legal battle to make sure every vote counts in 2020.

#absentee-voting, #campaign-legal-center, #federal-election-commission, #florida, #pennsylvania, #presidential-election-of-2020, #republican-party, #texas

Donald Trump’s Unapologetic Corruption

Just call it the Trump swamp.

#campaign-finance, #corruption-institutional, #federal-election-commission, #kushner-brian-g-1958, #kushner-jared, #parscale-brad-1976, #pence-mike, #presidential-election-of-2020, #ross-wilbur-l-jr, #trump-donald-j, #trump-eric-f-1984, #united-states-politics-and-government

Biden Has $466 Million in Bank, and a Huge Financial Edge on Trump

The former vice president and the Democrats were $187 million behind President Trump and the Republicans this spring. Now they are entering the final stretch of the campaign with a $141 million advantage.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #campaign-finance, #democratic-party, #federal-election-commission, #presidential-election-of-2020, #republican-party, #trump-donald-j

How Trump Draws on Campaign Funds to Pay Legal Bills

As he has done with other aspects of the presidency, Donald J. Trump has redefined the practice in ways that have unsettled even some Republicans.

#america-first-action, #bolton-john-r, #bush-george-w, #campaign-finance, #campaign-finance-institute, #cohen-michael-d-1966, #conflicts-of-interest, #consovoy-william-s, #dershowitz-alan-m, #epshteyn-boris, #federal-election-commission, #giuliani-rudolph-w, #harder-charles-j, #hogan-hulk, #kasowitz-marc-e, #legal-profession, #manigault-omarosa, #miller-jason-1975, #obama-barack, #presidential-election-of-2016, #presidential-election-of-2020, #republican-national-committee, #russian-interference-in-2016-us-elections-and-ties-to-trump-associates, #sekulow-jay-alan, #sims-cliff, #suits-and-litigation-civil, #trump-organization, #trump-ukraine-whistle-blower-complaint-and-impeachment-inquiry, #trump-donald-j

If Kanye West Is Running for President, So Is Your Mom

As far as the Federal Election Commission is concerned, Mr. West is an official candidate as of Thursday. Along with 1,144 other people.

#federal-election-commission, #presidential-election-of-2020, #presidential-elections-us, #west-kanye

After Functioning for 28 Days, U.S. Election Regulator Will Be Powerless Again

A member of the Federal Election Commission said Friday that she was resigning, just weeks after a new member had joined the agency and restored its quorum.

#appointments-and-executive-changes, #campaign-finance, #federal-election-commission, #hunter-caroline-c, #trainor-james-e-iii, #weintraub-ellen-l

Election Watchdog, Dormant for Months, Can Finally Move Into Action

With the confirmation of James E. Trainor III, the Federal Election Commission can function again. But warring ideologies among its members raise questions about what it can accomplish.

#appointments-and-executive-changes, #campaign-finance, #democratic-party, #federal-election-commission, #presidential-election-of-2020, #republican-party, #trainor-james-e-iii, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government