2Day in #OpenGov 6/7/2011

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Here is Tuesday’s look at transparency-related news items, congressional committee hearings, transparency-related bills introduced in Congress, and transparency-related events.

News Roundup:

Lobbying

  • State universities and colleges are ramping up their lobbying efforts as they face funding cuts. For example, records show that public universities in Alabama spent over $1.3 million on federal lobbying in 2010. (Times Daily)

Revolving Door

  • Daniel Gallagher, a recently announced nominee for SEC commissioner, is an example of the revolving door that exists between the federal government and Wall Street. (POGO)
  • In another example of the public-to-private revolving door, former U.S. health care fraud prosecutor Michael K. Loucks joined Skadden, Arps last July and has since become an avid corporate defender. (New York Times)
  • The Department of Defense is proposing new ethics requirements for contractors to ensure compliance with the post-employment restrictions placed on federal employees who move to private sector jobs. (Federal News Radio)

Campaign Finance

  • Opinion: A Bloomberg Editorial says that House and Senate leadership would “do the republic a favor by introducing bipartisan legislation to require disclosure of all political contributions.” (Bloomberg)

Access to Information

  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced that she plans to voluntarily publish her FEC campaign finance disclosures online. (techPresident)
  • The Faster FOIA Act of 2011 passed the Senate. (POGO)
  • A federal circuit judge upheld the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System’s decision to withhold certain FOIA-requested documents according to FOIA Exemptions 4, 5, 6 and 8. (Leagle)
  • The USDA is taking animal inspection data that was previously only available through FOIA requests and moving it to a public online searchable database. (Federal News Radio)

Government

  • At the Personal Democracy Forum, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said that the way to fix Washington and restore public faith in elected officials is to use technology and the Internet to make government more transparent and accountable. (Capital New York)
  • Robert Naylor has been named FCC CIO. (Federal Computer Week)
  • White House advisor Austan Goolsbee is resigning as Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. (Federal News Radio)

Technology

  • Pietro Calogero provides a list of useful tech applications that already exist, saying that there is no reason for digital activists to reinvent the wheel. (Cloud to Street)
  • OpenGovDC, a one-day open government conference, will be held June 14th at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington. One of the event producers shares his thoughts regarding the importance of open source technology to improving government transparency. (GovFresh)

Ethics

  • Congressional Democrats are calling for an ethics investigation into whether Rep. Anthony Weiner broke any rules or used government resources to send lewd pictures. (Federal News Radio) Rep. Weiner plans to cooperate with the probe. (Federal News Radio)
  • Emails exchanged between John Edwards and a former aide are being used as evidence by prosecutors to prove that he knew about the payments to his mistress. (Washington Times)

State and Local

  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has achieved one of his legislative priorities in reaching a deal with state political leaders regarding ethics reform. (Thirteen)
  • Chicago Reader investigative journalist Mick Dumke discusses the lawsuit he filed against the city of Chicago for refusing to respond to his FOIA requests. (Gapers Block)
  • Florida failed to implement stricter ethics standards for public officials during this legislative session despite a number of corruption cases within the state. (Ocala)
  • A new law in Colorado has created a conflict between the new primary date and campaign finance reporting requirements. Colorado Secretary of State is planning to hold a rulemaking hearing next week to temporarily resolve the conflict. (Colorado Statesman)
  • The Vernon, California city administrator pled guilty to illegally using public funds to pay for personal luxuries. (LA Times)
  • Opinion: Greg Rabidoux urges state legislatures to, “Follow the example of states like Alaska who have chosen to open up their redistricting process with live streaming and webinars on the internet.” (Common Blog)

International

  • The EU Home Affairs Commissioner announced that the European Commission will publish a special report every two years detailing what member states are doing to fight government corruption. (EU Observer)
  • The Council of the European Union (EU) has adopted a 23 point E-government Action Plan that aims to increase the use of e-government services to 50 per cent of citizens and 80 per cent of businesses by 2015. (Asia Pacific Future Gov)
  • India is launching Data.gov.in, based on the United States’ Data.gov. (MediaNama)
  • The New Brunswick Legislative Assembly has introduced legislation requiring lobbyist registration and regulation. (Lobby Comply Blog)

Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 6/7:

  • None.

Relevant bills introduced:

  • None.

Transparency events scheduled for 6/7:

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