The Day in Transparency 4/15/2011


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

News Roundup:

  • While Members of Congress are prohibited from lobbying staff or other members for a set period of time after leaving office, there are no restrictions on lobbying the executive branch or on lobbying at the state level. (The Hill)
  • For the second year in a row, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) has introduced legislation that would form a Commission on Freedom of Information Act Processing Delays. (Brad Sherman Press Release)
  • Eight major San Francisco mayoral candidates will host SFOpen 2011, a townhall forum to be held in June that will be “focused specifically on open government, citizen engagement and leveraging technology to build better government.” (GovFresh)
  • California IT officials say they are overwhelmed by the information being requested by citizens under California’s 2009 Electronic Discovery Act. (Government Technology)
  • Beth Noveck, former head of the Obama Administration’s Open Government initiatives, reflects that “open government” is bad branding, framing technology as just a way of “peeling back the curtain on government” rather than as a way to actually change how government works. (Tech President)
  • A bill passed this week by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will force federal agencies to maintain better oversight regarding what employees’ are buying on agency charge cards. (Washington Post)
  • Opinion: Melanie Sloan writes that, “In the name of fiscal responsibility, Congress should defund the FEC.” (Politico)
  • Column: Yet again, the Whistleblower Protection Act has been reintroduced in the Senate. (Washington Post)

Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 4/15:

  • Oversight and Government Reform. Government Organization, Efficiency, and Financial Management Subcommittee. 10:00am. On finding solutions to improper government payments.  Dept. witnesses.  2247 RHOB.
  • None.

Relevant bills introduced:


  • H.R. 1539. A bill to repeal section 939G of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and to restore Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 436(g) repealed by such section; to the Committee on Financial Services.
  • H.R. 1564. A bill to establish the Commission on Freedom of Information Act Processing Delays; to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.


  • S. 817. A bill to provide for the inclusion of independent regulatory agencies in the application of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.); to the Committee on the Budget.
  • S. 848. A bill to provide for the development of reports based on Medicare data, data that is publicly available, or private data that is provided by a requesting entity in order to improve the quality and efficiency of health care; to the Committee on Finance.
  • S.J. Res. 11. A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to limiting the number of terms that a Member of Congress may serve to 3 in the House of Representatives and 2 in the Senate; to the Committee on the Judiciary.

Transparency events scheduled for 4/15: