2Day in #OpenGov 6/15/2011


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

News Roundup:


  • Nearly 200 of Obama’s biggest donors have landed government jobs, contracts, or attended elite White House meetings or social functions. (iWatch News)(Politico)
  • According to Earl Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, the government would get more accurate data if recipients of federal funds were responsible for reporting it rather than the agencies. (Federal Computer Week) In addition, a uniform coding system would help track government contracts, awards, and grants across agencies. (NextGov)(The Hill)
  • Vice President Biden announced a campaign to reduce government waste for all agencies modeled on the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, which used one central website to track federal money. (Government Executive)
  • A coalition of whistleblowers and organizations are asking the five watchdogs which gave President Obama a transparency award in March of this year to rescind that award due to a lack of transparency within his administration. (Guardian)
  • Watchdog organization CREW has filed an ethics complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) against House Speaker John Boehner, claiming that he violated the Antideficiency Act by awarding a contract to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court without first appropriating funds. (Daily Kos)

Revolving Door

  • There are now 195 former legislators working in the lobbying business – 90 Democrats and 105 Republicans. (Talking Points Memo)
  • Senior White House legislative aide Sean Kennedy is leaving the administration to become chief lobbyist for the Air Transport Association of America. (Washington Post)

Access to Information

  • Managing FOIA requests through a new cloud-based portal should reduce the average case time at the National Archives and Records Administration from 25 to 15 days. (Next Gov)
  • In a push to decrease duplication and waste, the White House imposed a 90-day freeze on all new websites that use the .gov domain (Next Gov), causing some (including the Sunlight Foundation) to be concerned about whether this will negatively impact public access to government data. (Roll Call $)
  • Listening to website users and overcoming cultural inertia were key to the FCC website redesign. (Federal Computer Week)
  • There are no recorded emails for almost a month of Sarah Palin’s time as governor. (Washington Post)

State and Local

  • The top two staff members of the Georgia Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission have been “dismissed ‘for financial reasons.'” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
  • Some in the Louisiana State Legislature are pushing to increase transparency regarding collective bargaining negotiations. (The Pelican Post)
  • New York is experiencing an increase in law firms handling ethics and scandal cases. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Former Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell announced that he will be making documents from his two terms as governor available for public review at the Pennsylvania State Archives. (WHPTV)
  • Opinion: In a letter to the editor, a Montana resident suggested state lobbying reforms. (Helena IR)

Other Resources

  • Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board Chairman Earl Devaney’s report, “Accountability and Transparency: Template for the Future.”

Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 6/15:

  • None.

Relevant bills introduced:

  • None.

Transparency events scheduled for 6/15: