The Day in Transparency 4/21/2011


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:

  • The White House is circulating a draft Executive Order seeking to bring transparency to the contracting process through mandating disclosure of political contributions and expenditures. View the draft here.
  • After a year of abstaining from making political contributions, BP is once again making campaign expenditures. BP’s contributions last month mainly went to Republican House leaders and Republican Party committees. (Open Secrets)
  • Jon Ralston investigates the influence and dealmaking that went on in Nevada regarding a PokerStars “influence-peddling attempt” that “badly backfired.” (Las Vegas Sun)
  • AT&T has hired former Representative Bill Tauzin (R-LA) to lobby Congress to approve the company’s proposed merger with AT&T. (National Journal)
  • Many major lobby firms saw their first quarterly revenues for 2011 flatline or decrease when compared to 2010’s first quarter revenues. (The Hill)(Roll Call $)
  • The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) did not submit the documents demanded under a subpoena issued by House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA). (The Daily Caller) Rep. Issa is threatening to begin contempt proceedings against ATF Director Kenneth Melson if he does not comply. (Roll Call $)(The Hill)
  • Federal agencies are celebrating the anniversary of when they first had to develop plans to increase transparency by publishing progress reports and highlighting accomplishments. (Federal Computer Week)
  • The European Union is launching a project where tech companies and freelance programmers will create an EU-wide online open data portal to facilitate public access to government information and services. (Deutsche Welle World)
  • A federal appeals panel determined that recommendations issued by federal advisory committees can be withheld from the public under FOIA Exemption 5. (The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press)
  • One year after the BP oil spill, insufficient resources are hindering the ability of the government to perform effective oversight of offshore drilling. (NPR)
  • Spain’s “Right to be Forgotten” movement has resulted in the “Data Protection Agency” forcing Google to remove several unflattering searches. (Techland)
  • Watch live streaming of the O’Reilly Media Conferences. (O’Reily Where 2.0 Conference)
  • The Computing Research and Education Association of Australia (CORE) advised the Australian federal government that all computerized voting systems need to be made open source. (ZDNet)
  • Opinion: Evan Mantyk writes that America is better off now that the earmarks that have been “eating away at the moral integrity of our country” have been banned. (The Epoch Times)
  • Opinion: The Lake Wales News opines that the editors would like to “see a law that clamps down on the big soft-money contributions lobbyists can make to legislator’s political organizations.” (The Lake Wales News)
  • Opinion: Despite FOIA requirements, some states make it difficult to access public records. (The Daily Eastern News)

Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 4/18-4/22:

  • None. House and Senate not in session.

Relevant bills introduced:

  • None. House and Senate not in session.

Transparency events scheduled for 4/21:

  • None.