Here is Monday’s look at the week’s transparency-related news items, congressional committee hearings, transparency-related bills introduced in Congress, and transparency-related events.
- Lobbyists for the business community are supporting President Obama in his push to obtain congressional approval for trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama. (The Hill)
- Over 240 lobbyists who work with the nuclear energy industry came through the public-to-private-sector revolving door. (New York Times)
- While potential presidential candidate Haley Barbour no longer lobbies, his son recently became a vice president at BGR Group, the lobbying group that the elder Barbour started. (Roll Call $)
- The 2011 Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, recently introduced in the Senate, is almost identical to the bill that was blocked by an anonymous senator on the last day of the 111th Congress. (Government Executive)
- The first IRS whistle blower award has been given in the amount of $4.5 million to an accountant who helped the IRS retrieve $20 million by making the IRS aware of a tax lapse that he had noticed but that his employer was choosing to ignore. (Associated Press)
- The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC)’s newly launched FOIA Project allows the public to view lawsuits related to agency refusals to release documents. The project will also be instituting a “FOIA Hall of Shame” where members of the public can nominate and vote on agencies for inappropriate withholding practices. (Project on Government Oversight)
- Contrary to what campaign finance reform advocates often say, campaign lawyers say that while there is certainly an ideological divide at the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the commission is not broken. (Roll Call $)
Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 4/11-4/15:
- Ways and Means. Full committee. Wed. 4/13. 10:00am. Comprehensive tax reform. 1100 LHOB.
- Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Subcommittee on Government Organization, Efficiency, and Financial Management. Fri. 4/15. 10:00am. Improper payments: Finding solutions. 2247 RHOB.
- Judiciary. Subcommittee on the Constitution. Tues. 4/12. 10:00am. Hearings to examine the Fair Elections Now act, focusing on a comprehensive response to Citizens United. SD-226.
- Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Subcommittee on Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security. Tues. 4/12. 10:30am. Hearings to examine the President’s plan for eliminating wasteful spending in information technology. S-116.
- Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Thurs. 4/14. 10:00am. Hearings to examine Federal regulation, focusing on how to best advance the public interest. SD-342.
- Appropriations. Subcommittee on Legislative Branch. Thurs. 4/14. 2:30pm. Hearings to examine proposed budget estimates for fiscal year 2012 for the Secretary of the Senate, the Senate Sergeant at Arms, and the United States Capitol Police. SD-138.
Relevant bills introduced:
- H.R. 1446. A bill to amend title 31, United States Code, to provide for transparency of payments made from the Judgment Fund; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
- H.R. 1454. A bill to require the salaries of Members of Congress to be held in escrow if all regular appropriation bills for a fiscal year have not been enacted by the beginning of the fiscal year, and for other purposes; to the Committee on House Administration, and in addition to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.
- H.R. 1471. A bill to prevent Government shutdowns by providing for the automatic continuation of Federal funding during a lapse in appropriations; to the Committee on Appropriations.
- H.R. 1432. A bill to require formal rulemaking procedures for rules related to health care reform; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
- H.R. 1435. A bill to amend chapter 141 of title 10, United States Code, to include disclosures made by Department of Defense contract employees to their immediate employers in the provisions providing protections against reprisals for certain disclosures; to the Committee on Armed Services.
- S. 784. A bill to prevent the shutdown of the Federal Government; to the Committee on Appropriations.
- S. 768. A bill to provide for continuing operations of Government in a fiscally responsible manner; read the first time.
- S. 756. A bill to amend title XI of the Social Security Act to provide for the public availability of Medicare claims data; to the Committee on Finance.
Transparency events scheduled for 4/11-4/15:
- The FCPA: Practical Perspectives on Compliance. The American Bar Association. Mon. 4/11. 12:00-1:30pm. Greenberg Traurig. 2101 L St., NW. Suite 1000. Washington, DC 20037.
- Internet Circumvention Tools and Methods: Evaluation and Review. Freedom House. Tues. 4/12. 12:00-2:00pm. 1301 Connecticut Ave, NW. Floor 4. Washington, DC 20036.
- Silos in Finance: The Silences that Contributed to the Financial Crisis. George Mason University School of Public Policy. Fri. 4/15. 5:00-6:30pm. Center for Emerging Market Policies. 3351 Fairfax Drive. Arlington, VA 22201.