Sunrise (4/15/11)

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STANDING UP FOR DATA.GOV

Sunlight: “We shouldn’t be surprised that people are often confused by Data.gov. It is new, and represents something complicated. When the current budget cuts were revealed to include cuts to the e-government fund that supports Data.gov, everyone starting questioning Data.gov’s value … Comments have tried to defend, or sometimes to cast doubt on, Data.gov’s value, through a few partcular lines of question. Sunlight hasn’t been shy about criticizing this administration, and we’ve certainly been critical of Data.gov in the past. But the current budget fight throws a little clarity on what it is we could lose if Data.gov were to go dark. … We’ve got two huge forces at work here. The public data of the American federal government, and the entire online public. Data.gov exists to connect the two, through direct access. In Data.gov, the administration has stated as clearly as possible “public reuse of national data is a public good.”

CORPORATE CARIBBEAN TRIP HOST PLEADS GUILTY

Roll Call: “The New York newspaper publisher who organized an annual Caribbean conference attended by some members of the Congressional Black Caucus pleaded guilty Thursday to lying to Congress about how the 2007 trip was financed. … Karl Rodney, publisher of the Carib News, admitted Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that travel documents he provided to the House Ethics Committee in 2007 did not accurately disclose the private sponsors of the trip to Antigua and Barbuda. Rodney stated on the forms that Carib News Foundation, of which he was the CEO, was the sole sponsor of the trip. In fact, the Members’ travel and lodging were provided “by the foreign host country and a private corporation,” the Justice Department said.”

INSURANCE AGENTS CONTRIBUTE HEAVILY

The Hill: “Health insurance agents and brokers who are lobbying to be excluded from a healthcare reform provision gave lawmakers more than $3.18 million in the 2010 election cycle, Consumer Watchdog said Thursday. … The announcement comes as more than 1,000 agents and brokers are on Capitol Hill to lobby for bipartisan legislation that would exclude agent and broker fees from being counted when insurers calculate their plans’ medical-loss ratio. Agents are worried that counting their commissions will make it harder for insurance plans to spend at least 80 percent of premiums on medical care, as they’re required to by the new law.”

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