Transparency News 10/18/13


Friday, October 18, 2013
State and Local Stories


federal judge will hear arguments today from Virginia Democrats who want the State Board of Elections to reinstate nearly 40,000 voters who were recently purged from the voter rolls. County officials conducted the purge recently on orders from the state, based on evidence that the voters had subsequently registered in other states.

Voter registrars in the Fredericksburg area say they’re confident they did everything possible to identify voters who have moved away before purging those voters off the election rolls.
Free Lance-Star

Gov. Bob McDonnell said Thursday that the civil rights of 6,874 Virginians have been restored during his tenure, including 1,577 since July 15, when he began automatically restoring rights for nonviolent felons on an individual basis. The announcement capped a frenzy of activity by administration officials in recent weeks to restore rights to as many nonviolent felons as possible before last Tuesday’s deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 5 elections.
Roanoke Times

Glade Spring Mayor Lee Coburn wants Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to return more than $100,000 in gubernatorial campaign contributions, especially in light of a state investigation that uncovered wrongdoing by a senior assistant attorney general. “He took Virginia tax dollars and used them against Virginians,” Coburn said at a Thursday-afternoon news conference in Cumberland Square Park. “It’s unethical and proves that Cuccinelli does not represent Virginians.
Herald Courier

Halifax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Freshour said Thursday he immediately suspended a campaign fundraiser last week after learning it did not comply with State Board of Elections guidelines. In a news release Thursday afternoon, Freshour explained the timeline and reasoning for his campaign’s decision to halt further fundraising efforts using race tickets to the Oct. 26 truck race in Martinsville that had been donated to his campaign.  “My campaign committee decided to use the tickets to raise funds for the campaign,” Freshour said.

National Stories

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press yesterday at the Online News Association conference in Atlanta launches iFOIA, a free online system for creating, sending, and tracking federal and state freedom of information requests. The iFOIA resource, which is online at, is an extension of the Reporters Committee’s popular FOIA Letter Generator, which has been a feature of the organization’s website since 1996. iFOIA can be used on a desktop or mobile device, and allows users to choose whether to keep their correspondence chains with government agencies confidential or share them with designated colleagues, such as editors and lawyers. It also includes a FOIA Wiki for feedback and discussions. Because it automatically organizes all of a reporter’s files, it is designed to help with lawsuits and agency appeals when government stonewalling presents no other option.
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

Citizen engagement is coming of age. Local governments are experimenting as never before, pushed by the excruciating decisions that come with tight budgets, the ubiquity of social media and the development of new online deliberation tools. Behind it is a recognition that the time-worn public hearing may not be the best and is certainly not the only way to interact with the public. There’s so much interest, in fact, that the International City/County Management Association’s new Center for Management Strategies—which focuses on what its director, Cheryl Hilvert, calls “emerging and trending practices”—has chosen citizen engagement as the first subject it will help members navigate. “There are opportunities to involve the community,” Hilvert says, “in a whole gamut of ways we haven’t traditionally done.”

Kentucky transportation officials are finding out what's exactly in a name. A sign for the Gene Snyder Expressway contained two letters transposed. The errant sign briefly renamed the road the "Gene Synder Expressway." Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokeswoman Andrea Clifford told WAVE-TV in Louisville ( the formal name in the title isn't something spell-check is going to catch if it is wrong.
Lexington Herald-Leader