The Day in Transparency 4/20/2011


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

News Roundup:

  • The White House is considering measures that would require disclosure of the anonymous campaign contributions that helped fund millions of dollars of political ads in the 2010 elections. (Politico)
  • Credit card companies and other opponents of proposed swipe fee caps have donated almost $60,000 to Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) in the 17 days since he introduced legislation delaying new regulation of the fees. (The Hill)
  • Major business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers intend to increase lobbying efforts to push for increasing the debt limit. (The Hill)
  • The foreign companies that dominate the global Internet poker industry have maintained robust lobbying efforts in the U.S. for the last four years to prevent the government from shutting their online poker operations down. Just last week, however, the Department of Justice began cracking down. (The New York Times)
  • Robb Watters, a lobbyist for technology and financial interests, has become known as a “modern-day medicine man”  among Hill staffers, Members and other lobbyists, gaining himself the nickname “Dr. Watters.” (Roll Call $)
  • According to House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), implementing monitoring systems would decrease waste and fraud in government spending. (NewsMax)
  • Chairman Issa discusses the recent report of the $125 billion spent in improper payments with Greta Van Susteren. (Fox News)
  • Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has reached a deal with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) where Senator Graham will get $50,000 allocated to pay for a study on deepening the Port of Charleston in exchange for not blocking the budget. (TPMDC)
  • Visually identify 2011 earmark requests by district and state using a map based on data gathered by Taxpayers for Common Sense, Taxpayers Against Earmarks, and (EndingSpending)
  • Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), along with Rep. Ron Paul from Texas, are protesting taking earmarks out of the budgets passed by Congress, claiming that banning earmarks gives bureaucrats more control over how taxpayer funds are spent. (Enid News)
  • The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) has proposed a “conflict-of-interest policy” that would prevent contractors from disclosing sensitive government information as well as prohibit them from using accidentally obtained proprietary data to get ahead of the competition. (Government Executive)
  • A U.S. District Judge has thrown out a lawsuit against the Securities and Exchange Commission for alleged negligent oversight regarding the Bernard Madoff investment scheme, saying there were no relevant statutory or regulatory provisions to evaluate SEC investigatory conduct. (Bloomberg)
  • Opinion: Regarding budget cuts to the E-government fund, a Kentucky constituent writes that, “We cannot afford to let Washington’s transparency efforts go dark.” (Courier Press)
  • Opinion: Ivan Osorio writes that regulation is lobbyists’ best friend as  it provides concentrated benefits to certain industries and companies, making lobbying profitable, while the costs are distributed across a wide public population of taxpayers. (Washington Examiner)
  • Opinion: Former defense contractor Jim Roach attests that there is waste in the military budget in the form of “thousands of pet projects to House and Senate home towns.” (North Fort Myers Neighbor)

Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 4/20:

  • None. House and Senate are not in session.

Relevant bills introduced:

  • None. House and Senate are not in session.

Transparency events scheduled for 4/20: