The Day in Transparency 4/22/2011


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:

  • Most freshmen Members of Congress spent the first few months in office introducing bills demonstrating their commitment to changing Washington. Others, however, spent the time introducing legislation to reward their supporters. (Politico)
  • While Facebook spent more than ever before on lobbying in the first quarter of 2011, it still did not come close to spending what Google and Microsoft spent. (Politico)
  • In the first quarter of 2011 Planned Parenthood spent more than three times the amount it spent on lobbying in the first quarter of 2010. (Roll Call $)
  • The House blocked an amendment introduced by Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) that critics claimed was an earmark in all but name. (Politico)
  • The Department of Justice proposed updates to its FOIA regulations that include proactively releasing information online, denying the existence of sensitive documents, and increasing fees. (OMB Watch)
  • Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) is suing the Federal Election Commission in an attempt to force disclosure of anonymous campaign donations from the independent groups that spent millions of dollars on advertising during the last election. (Politico)
  • Koch Industries has launched an online advertising campaign to discredit a Center for Public Integrity report on its multi-million dollar lobbying activities after repeatedly declining to comment when the story was originally written in early April. (Tucson Sentinel)
  • The House launched a preview of its new website for public feedback. (Roll Call $)
  • Instead of relying on third parties to find innovative ways to deliver government data to citizens, the city of Boston’s Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics is finding creative ways for the city to bring services to the public itself. (Tech President)
  • Philadelphia launched a mobile app that allows citizens to report instances of fraudulent government spending. (Government Technology)
  • Local governments and federal agencies can make data publicly available to citizens on-the-go using YouTown. (Gov Fresh)
  • A recent Socrata study found that citizens are more likely to vote for politicians who are open government advocates. (O’Reilly Radar)
  • The proposed budget cuts to the Electronic Government Fund sparked debates regarding the value added by  open government initiatives. (Federal Computer Week)
  • Amazon’s EC2 cloud storage service has been suffering a prolonged outage, causing trouble for numerous organizations and federal agencies. (Government Technology)(Next Gov)
  • Uganda’s telecom authority ordered a blockage of Facebook and Tweeter to “eliminate the connection and sharing of information that incites the public.” (Tech President)
  • Opinion: Representative Government Specialist for the Leauge of Women Voters of Pennsylvania Lora Lavin writes that redistricting is “the most  self-serving and least transparent process of state and local government.” (The Philadelphia Jewish Voice)
  • Opinion: A New Hampshire resident advocates for limiting lobbying to a volunteer activity, saying, “If folks want to volunteer to lobby, that’s okay, but they should not be paid to pressure those who serve us.” (Concord Monitor)

Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 4/22:

  • None. House and Senate are not in session.

Relevant bills introduced:

  • None. House and Senate are not in session.

Transparency events scheduled for 4/22:

  • None.