2Day in #OpenGov 5/26/2011


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:

  • Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus and Sen. Charles Grassley sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), asking the agency to improve the transparency of its petition processes and require lobbying groups to disclose financial ties to major pharmaceutical companies. (WTAQ)
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced plans to implement the whistleblower provisions in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. (Web Wire)
  • Facebook is hiring former Bush Administration officials to augment their lobbying efforts. (Roll Call $)(Politico)
  • Both VeriSign and Go Daddy have significantly increased their US lobbying expenditures over the course of the last year. (Domain Name Wire)
  • The Defense Department has started looking for a replacement for the Colt M4 carbine, causing Colt Defense to hire lobbyist Roger Smith to be the company’s advocate in Washington. (Washington Post)
  • The powerful radiation lobby is responsible for causing TSA to subject all passengers to radiation-emitting body scanners rather than profiling high-risk passengers. (Investors.com)
  • Despite allegations made in a recent Washington Times editorial, NPR has never used any federal funds for advocacy or lobbying activities. (Washington Times)
  • Edward Demarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, testified to Congress that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should not be subject to FOIA. (Market Watch)
  • Starting in October 2011, Maryland will allow public officials to remove metadata from records requested under the state’s Public Information Act (PIA). (Michael D. Berman – Mediation of E-Discovery Disputes)
  • Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) is drafting a letter addressed to OMB requesting information regarding actions that are being taken to decrease the overlap between government programs as reported by GAO. (Federal Computer Week)
  • According to GAO, at least 3,700 Recovery Act recipients owe over $750 million in taxes, despite receiving a $24 billion bailout from the federal government. (iWatch News)
  • According to Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), requiring contractors to disclose political expenditures would hurt competition and small business. (Federal Computer Week)
  • 17 state and local governments were honored by the Public Technology Institute (PTI) for “innovative use of Web 2.0 applications and social media tools to engage citizens, improve efficiency and increase accountability.” (Government Technology)
  • The Salt Lake County Council revised its open-records regulations to stipulate that all government records, including electronic correspondence, should be available online. (The Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Transparency organizations from Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Chile, and Argentina are collaborating to brainstorm new ideas for transparency and technology in Latin America. (Informacion Civica)
  • A new academic study conducted by four university researchers found that Members of Congress consistently outperform the stock market in their personal investments. (Huffington Post)
  • Change.org is hosting a “Hack for Change” competition in June to “accelerate a growing movement of using the web to transform advocacy, philanthropy, government, and politics.” (GovFresh)
  • A new television show focused on Gov 2.0 and open government launched this week. Watch the first episode on GovFresh.
  • Opinion: Although the US Supreme Court endorsed disclosure in its Citizens United decision, the real result of the decision has been to create “a system awash in anonymous donations to shadowy political groups.” (Bloomberg)
  • Opinion: “We’ve reached the point in the [open government] movement where hacking for hacking’s sake and professional finger-pointing has reached its capacity to affect sustainable change in government… It’s now time to be big picture proactive and results-oriented.” (GovFresh)

Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 5/26:


  • Administration. Oversight Subcommittee. House’s FY09 Financial Statements Audit. 9:30am. 1310 LHOB.


  • None.

Relevant bills introduced:

  • None.

Transparency events scheduled for 5/26:

  • None.