Here is Wednesday’s look at transparency-related news items, congressional committee hearings, transparency-related bills introduced in Congress, and transparency-related events.
- The Office of Management and Budget plans to close two open government websites due to budget cuts: FedSpace and the Citizen Services Dashboard. (Federal News Radio)(Washington Post)
- Newark Mayor Corey Booker has signed a new pay-to-play ordinance into law. The ordinance prevents redevelopers from contracting with the city if a contribution of over $300 has been made in the year prior to the contract. (Lobby Comply Blog)
- The Panamanian government has hired new K Street help to lobby Congress for approval of a proposed free trade agreement with the US. (Roll Call $)
- Women groups are advocating for a larger role in budget discussions. (Roll Call $)
- Two independent expenditure PACs – the House Majority PAC and the Majority PAC – have requested an advisory opinion from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) regarding whether federal officeholders and candidates can solicit unlimited contributions on behalf of PACs. (Lobby Comply Blog)
- The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is expected to approve a whistleblower rewards program today. (Washington Post)
- Tensions were high in a House hearing yesterday, as Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) claimed that the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will have “virtually unchecked discretion.” (New York Times)(The Hill)
- Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has signed legislation creating a Joint Committee on Transparency and Open Government. (The Daily Record)
- The Indiana Senate has passed a bill that would require increased lobbying disclosure. (The Republic)
- Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has signed a bill ensuring funding for the state Ethics Commission. (Lobby Comply Blog)
- Facebook is ramping up its international lobbying efforts. (TG Daily)
- Sen. Chuck Grassley sent a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requesting information regarding oversight of the SAC Capital Hedge Fund. (Wall Street Journal)
- Agencies are trying to figure out how to signal to the public when data such as that released on Data.gov has been reviewed and when it has not been. (Next Gov)
- Experts in the UK say that the government needs to do a better job releasing government data. (V3)
- The US Supreme Court ruled that private claims brought by plaintiffs under the False Claims Act (FCA) could not be based on information obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. (Association of Corporate Counsel $)
- Open Government has become a campaign issue in San Francisco with five mayoral candidates signing open government pledges. (Tech President)
- Opinion: Open government should start locally with an engaged public. (Online Opinion)
Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 5/25:
- Oversight and Government Reform. Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and Procurement Reform Subcommittee. White House Information/Regulatory Affairs Office Oversight. 9:30am. 2154 RHOB.
- Ways and Means. Oversight Subcommittee. Improper Payments of Refundable Tax Credits. 10:30am. 1100 LHOB.
- Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. 10:00am. Hearings to examine how to save taxpayer dollars, focusing on case studies of duplication in the Federal government. SD 342.
- Judiciary. 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. 2:30pm. Hearings to examine assessing efforts to eliminate improper payments. SD 342.
Relevant bills introduced:
- H.R. 1973. A bill to amend title 18, United States Code, to prohibit public officials from engaging in undisclosed self-dealing; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
- H.R. 1974. A bill to require the Public Printer to establish and maintain a website accessible to the public that allows the public to obtain electronic copies of all congressionally mandated reports in one place, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and in addition to the Committee on House Administration, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.
- H.J. Res. 65. A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to prohibit candidates for election to Congress from accepting contributions from individuals who do not reside in the State or Congressional district the candidate seeks to represent; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
Transparency events scheduled for 5/25: