- Hatch Act 2.0: Witnesses urged lawmakers to address technology and social media issues when considering reforms to the Hatch Act. The law, passed in 1939, governs political activity by federal, state, and local government officials. (Government Executive)
- Former lawmakers avoid lobbyist registration: At least 30 lawmakers who left Capitol Hill after the 111th Congress currently work at law firms, lobby shops, trade groups, and think tanks that lobby. However, only 10 of them registered as lobbyists. (The Hill)
- Utah looks to clean up legislature: Utahns for Ethical Government, a nonpartisan citizen group, is fighting to put a proposed ethics initiative in front of voters. The Utah legislature has resisted attempts to reform its internal ethics rules. (State Integrity)
- IT corruption in Michigan: Three IT officials in Wayne County, Michigan have been charged in corruption probes this year. The charges include extortion, theft, and accepting illegal payments. (Government Technology)
- Ghana waiting on right to information: A right to information bill has been languishing in the Ghanaian parliament since early in 2010. (Global Voices)
- Brazilian transparency - effective immediately: Two landmark pieces of legislation were passed in Brazil last October. Yesterday the new freedom of information law and truth commission went into effect. (Observing Brazil)
- Crowd-sourcing conflicts of interest: Chilean transparency group Fundacion Ciudadano Inteligente launched a new website that allows citizens to track and map potential corporate ties and conflicts of interest that might influence lawmakers. (Tech President)
RELEVANT BILLS INTRODUCED
- H.R. 5727. The Rebuild America Act...The minutes of a meeting, or portion thereof, exempt from disclosure pursuant to subparagraph (b) shall be exempt from disclosure under section 552(b) of title 5, United States Code. Referred to the House Committees on Ways and Means, Education and the Workforce, Energy and Commerce, Agriculture, Transportation and Infrastructure, Financial Services, Science, Space, and Technology, Small Business, the Judiciary, Rules, Oversight and Government Reform, and House Administration.
- S. 2835. A bill to amend the higher education act of 1965 to require institutions of higher education to post certain IRS returns on their websites. Referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, and Labor.
HAPPENING TODAY 5/17
- Homeland Security Department Ethical Standards. House Homeland Security. 9:30 am. 311 CHOB. Oversight, Investigations, and Management Subcommittee hearing.
- Digital Diplomacy: A New Era of Advancing Policy. CEIP. 9:00-10:30 am. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1779 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036.
- Does Electronic Reporting of Emissions Information Generate Environmental Benefits? Resources for the Future. 12:00-1:30 pm. 1616 P Street NW, Washington, DC 20036.
- Webinar: All Points of the Compass - Global Legal Collections, Research, and Reference Services at the Law Library of Congress. FedLink/LoC. 2:00-3:00 pm.
SCHEDULED TOMORROW 5/18
- Legislative Branch Appropriations. House Appropriations. 9:30 am. HT-2, Capitol, 9:30 am. Legislative Branch Subcommittee Markup.