2Day in #OpenGov 5/23/2011

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It’s been awhile, but the daily roundup is back! Here is Monday’s look at the week’s transparency-related news items, congressional committee hearings, transparency-related bills introduced in Congress, and transparency-related events.

News Roundup:

  • Undisclosed spending from secret donors is proliferating in election spending, as groups work around federal law requiring FEC disclosure. (Bloomberg) The Washington Post also reports that outside spending approaching the 2012 election cycle is increasing dramatically.
  • The Service Employees International Union and Americans for Tax Reform have become unlikely bedfellows, both lobbying for tax legislation that would allow companies to temporarily bring overseas profits back to the US for a smaller cost in taxes. (Roll Call $)
  • Tea Party groups are siding with left-leaning advocacy groups to derail three free trade agreement proposals. (Roll Call $)
  • Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel signed three new executive orders and reissued three additional executive orders, all aimed at limiting the influence of lobbyists in the city. (Lobby Comply Blog)
  • Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee has sent letters to Rhode Island’s 17 quasi-public agencies requesting that they end any non-critical contracts with lobbyists. (Lobby Comply Blog)
  • The National Federation of Independent Business has been relatively silent regarding debit-card transaction fees – a policy battle that has a significant impact on small business. (The Hill)
  • The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a decision of the District Court, thereby disagreeing with the argument that Minnesota’s disclosure requirements prohibit corporate independent expenditures and inhibit free speech through burdensome regulations. (Lobby Comply Blog)
  • Former Rep. Rick Boucher will move to law firm Sidley Austin’s new government strategies practice. (Roll Call $)
  • 60 Minutes investigates the case of whistleblower Tom Drake. (CBS News)
  • The Consumer Financial Bureau has sparked a  lively and informative discussion by asking for public input regarding proposed designs for a single mortgage disclosure form. (Tech President)
  • White House adviser Elizabeth Warren is set to testify at the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee hearing this week regarding the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. (NASDAQ)
  • The Government Printing Office (GPO) has named Charles Riddle as its new Chief Information Officer (CIO). (GPO)
  • Over 80 business groups and trade associations led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wrote to President Obama protesting his draft executive order requiring government contractors to disclose political spending. Over 30 public interest groups wrote a letter in favor of the order. (Lobby Comply Blog)
  • Last week YouTube launched YouTube Town Hall, “an online platform for members of Congress to debate and discuss the most important issues of the day.” (Lobby Comply Blog)
  • Resource: Papers from the 1st Global Conference on Transparency Research. (Rutgers)
  • Opinion: Eliza Newlin Carney writes that the greatest threat to First Amendment free speech protection is not increased transparency and disclosure, but secrecy. (National Journal)
  • Opinion: Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) criticizes the Obama Administration’s draft executive order that would mandate disclosure of political spending for government contractors. (Washington Post).

Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 5/23-5/27:

House

  • Oversight and Government Reform. Subcommittee on TARP, Financial Services, and Bailouts of Public and Private Programs. Who’s Watching the Watchmen? Oversight of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Tues. 4/24. 2:00pm. 2154 RHOB.
  • Oversight and Government Reform. Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and Procurement Reform Subcommittee. White House Information/Regulatory Affairs Office Oversight. Wed. 4/25. 9:30am. 2154 RHOB.
  • Ways and Means. Oversight Subcommittee. Improper Payments of Refundable Tax Credits. Wed. 4/25. 10:30am. 1100 LHOB.
  • Administration. Oversight Subcommittee. House’s FY09 Financial Statements Audit. Thurs. 4/26. 9:30am. 1310 LHOB.

Senate

  • Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Stimulus Contractor Tax Cheats. 2:30pm. Tues. 4/24. SD 342.
  • Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Wed. 4/25. 10:00am. Hearings to examine how to save taxpayer dollars, focusing on case studies of duplication in the Federal government. SD 342.
  • Judiciary. Wed. 4/25. 10:00am. Hearings to examine holding criminals accountable, focusing on extending criminal jurisdiction to government contractors and employees abroad. SD 226.
  • Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Foreign Services, and International Security. Wed. 4/25. 2:30pm. Hearings to examine assessing efforts to eliminate improper payments. SD 342.

Relevant bills introduced:

House

  • None.

Senate

  • S. 1028. A bill to increase transparency regarding debt instruments of the United States held by foreign governments, to assess the risks to the United States of such holdings, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Finance.
  • S. 1029. A bill to amend the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 to provide electric consumers the right to access certain electric energy information, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

Transparency events scheduled for 5/23-5/27:

  • None.
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