ISSA SUBPOENAS OVER COUNTRYWIDE VIP PROGRAM
—Politico: “House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa’s first subpoena takes aim at Countrywide Financial’s VIP program, launching a probe that seeks to out lawmakers who got sweetheart terms on home loans. … The California Republican issued an unusually wide-ranging subpoena for documents about the defunct lender’s program, demanding names, addresses and e-mail exchanges of all those involved, a major expansion of an inquiry launched in the preceding Congress. … The chairman, primarily, wants information on borrowers who were a “current or former member, officer or employee of the U.S. Congress; a current or former officer or employee of a government-sponsored enterprise; or a current or former officer or employee of a state and local government.”
FCC TO TACKLE CITIZENS UNITED?
—Tech Daily Dose: “No stranger to controversy, FCC member Michael Copps wants the Democratic-led agency to require full disclosure of the companies and political parties behind all those shadowy ads during election season. The regulator, one of three Democrats on the five-member commission and a long-time consumer advocate, revealed during a Tuesday speech that he’s been promoting the idea internally. … “We the people have a right to know who is bank-rolling these ads beyond some wholly unidentifiable group set up to mask the special interest it really represents,” Copps said, according to the text of his remarks. “If ‘Citizens for Spacious Skies and Amber Waves of Grain’ is really underwritten by a chemical company that doesn’t want to clean up a toxic dump, I think viewers and voters would probably want to know that.”
SUNLIGHT’S WONDERLICH ON OPEN GOVERNMENT DIRECTIVE
—techPresident: “Congress has some options on the table when it comes to figuring out a response to the Obama administration’s Open Government Initiative, finds a new report on the state of open government on the federal level from the Congressional Research Service, the in-house research wing of the House and Senate. … Congress might codify through legislation what the Obama administration has in mind. Or it might judge open government to be too risk and pass laws banning the implementation of presidential open government policy. Or it might ignore the whole thing and leave open government on the President’s desk. … John Wonderlich, the Sunlight Foundation’s policy director, says that the report presents a useful primer on the progress of open government on the federal level thus far, but that missing is the context that Congress has a role to play in open government in just about everything that it does. “The only reason we’re here is that there are a thousand decisions that Congress hasn’t made” over the years, says Wonderlich. Open government can be baked into the work product of Congress, not just dispatched with a bill here or there. “If Congress had been involved in information policy over the years,” says Wonderlich, “I doubt Obama would have had the space to run on this.” … Open information requirements, said Wonderlich, have notably been included by Congress in some major legislative packages in recent days.
HOUSE REP. SEEKS COURT CONFLICT OF INTEREST DISCLOSURE
—The Hill: “Rep. Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.) said Wednesday he would introduce legislation after next week’s break that would require Supreme Court justices to publicly disclose why they have recused themselves from cases. Murphy said the bill would also require the Supreme Court to develop a process that would allow parties to a case to “request the court to decide whether a particular justice has a conflict of interest.”
FUNDRAISING PARTIES TODAY
—Highlighted party of the day: Freshman Rep. Nan Hayworth, currently serving on the House Financial Services Committee, is hosting a fundraising party at the offices of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America today.
–More parties can be found here.
—Day in Transparency (2/16/11)