2Day in #OpenGov 6/22/2011

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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:

Government

  • Rep. Issa’s DATA Act has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA). The legislation will create a central website to comprehensively track government spending. (Federal Computer Week) Ten transparency organizations sent a letter to Rep. Issa and Sen. Warner expressing support of the Act yesterday. (Sunlight Foundation)
  • Sen. Harry Reid’s top aide is just one of many congressional staffers who have received money from previous employers after starting work on the Hill. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The number of complaints received by the Office of Special Counsel regarding inappropriate political behavior in the federal workplace has increased. (Government Executive)
  • The top ten federal contractors received 25 percent of the $537 billion awarded in government contracts last year. (POGO)
  • The Senate confirmed Leon Panetta as Defense secretary. (National Journal)
  • The Office of Congressional Ethics is investigating allegations sexual harassment made against Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) by a former female staff member. (Politico)

Lobbying

  • Caterpillar Inc. spent $1.1 million lobbying issues such as foreign trade and worker safety regulation in the first quarter of 2011. (Forbes)
  • The Wall Street Journal reports on former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s involvement in lobbying for the Salt Lake Olympics.
  • The Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit was essentially killed last week perhaps due to the lobbyists advocating against the bill, who outspent those on the other side. (Biofuel Blog War)
  • United States Tour Operators Association is stepping up their lobbying efforts, hiring strategic partners to manage their advocacy efforts. (Travel Agent Central)

State and Local

  • A Republican state senator from Cleveland County, North Carolina is leaving the state legislature to become a lobbyist. (Progressive Pulse)
  • New York City will provide access to the datasets in its New York City Datamine in an effort to open lines of communication with the public and support the software industry. (techPresident)
  • Illinois is modifying lobbyist reporting requirements so that only activities related to reportable expenditures are required to be reported. (Lobby Comply Blog)
  • District of Columbia Councilman Tommy Wells plans to introduce three ethics bills. (Lobby Comply Blog)
  • Illinois has launched Data.Illinois.Gov, a website providing state agency information in a searchable format. (CivSource)
  • Texas concludes the 82nd legislative session having passed pen government laws that require state agencies to increase the information put online while restricting certain private information about individuals. (Texas Tribune)
  • Bakersfield, California is rethinking plans to destroy a large archive of old emails as well as its policy of automatically deleting emails after 30 days. (The Bakersfield Californian)
  • Opinion: The Denver Post, which brought suit against former Gov. Bill Ritter to obtain his cellphone bills, writes that the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision that the cellphone bills are not public records is “certainly a disappointing loss.” (The Denver Post)

International

  • Ontario Ombudsman is advocating for increased open government initiatives in the province. (The Globe and Mail)

Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 6/22:

Senate

  • None.

House

  • Business Meeting. House Oversight and Government Reform. 9:30am. 2154 RHOB.
  • Regulatory Accountability. Judiciary, Courts, Commercial, and Administrative Law Subcommittee hearing. 10:00am. 2141 RHOB.

Joint

  • Committee Organization. Joint Library, Full Committee. Wednesday. 10:30am. SC-6, Capitol.
  • Committee Organization. Joint Printing, Full Committee. Wednesday. 10:30am. SC-6, Capitol.

Relevant bills introduced:

  • None.

Transparency events scheduled for 6/22:

 

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