The Day in Transparency 4/14/2011

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Here is Thursday’s look at transparency-related news items, congressional committee hearings, transparency-related bills introduced in Congress, and transparency-related events.

News Roundup:

  • K Street is hiring staffers with backgrounds working with finance to increase expertise regarding Wall Street reform. (Roll Call $)
  • Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) said e-government budget cuts do not have to mean the end of Data.gov, USASpending.gov, and others. (Federal News Radio)
  • While Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is insisting that his request for funding for a port study in SC is not an earmark, he has previously requested the funds as earmarks. (TPM)
  • Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH) may have put herself in a politically vulnerable situation by suing her two-time opponent David Krikorian for defamation, as the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) has reportedly launched an investigation into the legal assistance she has received from the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund. (Politico)
  • West Virginia has passed a bill prohibiting state government employees from lobbying for one year after leaving office. (Lobby Comply Blog)
  • The son of a South Carolina state Senator Bill Sandifer (R) is an unregistered lobbyist for S.C. Blue Cross Blue Shield. (Fits News)
  • The Georgia House of Representatives just voted to add requirements that lobbyists report “expenditures made on behalf or for the benefit of a public employee for the purpose of influencing a public officer.” The bill now heads to the Senate. (Lobby Comply Blog)
  • Citizens are about to witness the impact of Oklahoma’s push to implement open government policies, when, for the first time in the history of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, conference committee meetings will be open to the public. (Edmond Sun)
  • The Hartford Ethics Commission is considering whether to hire an outside law firm to investigate potential conflicts of interest between Mayor Pedro Segarra and his spouse, who earns financial interest as landlord for low-income housing locally coordinated by the city. (Hartford Courant/more information from the Courant)
  • CQ Press just launched First Street, a database that gathers and connects information related to congressional, government, and lobbying relationships to track DC money and influence. (Bradenton)
  • Newly introduced legislation would require agency CIOs to review information technology projects if a project begins to deviate 20 percent or more from its baseline cost estimate. The bill would also codify OMB’s Federal IT Dashboard (Federal Computer Week).
  • Opinion: Even if the Public Online Information Act becomes law, FOIA will still be needed as a way for the public to retrieve information that the government does not post online. Also, for POIA to be effective, Congress will need to provide better guidelines and standards for what information needs to be posted online. (Investigative Reporting Workshop, Exemption 10 Blog)
  • Opinion: Instead of apologizing for saying that abortions comprise 90 percent of Planned Parenthood activities when the real number is 3 percent, Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) had staff say that his statement was not intended to be a factual statement, and was only illustrating that Planned Parenthood performs abortions. (Huffington Post)
  • Opinion: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is getting involved in redistricting even after assuring voters that he would not interfere. (NOLA)

Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 4/14:

House:

  • Financial Services. Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.  10:00am. On oversight of the Financial Stability Oversight Council.  Dept. and public witnesses.  2128 RHOB.

Senate:

  • Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. 10:00am. Hearings to examine Federal regulation, focusing on how to best advance the public interest. SD-342.
  • Appropriations. Subcommittee on Legislative Branch. 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:

House:

  • H.R. 1512. A bill to amend the Federal Reserve Act to remove the representatives of the Federal Reserve banks from membership on the Federal Open Market Committee; to the Committee on Financial Services.

Senate:

  • S. 814. A bill to require the public disclosure of audits conducted with respect to entities receiving funds under title X of the Public Health Service Act; to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

Transparency events scheduled for 4/14:

 

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