2Day in #OpenGov 7/20/2011

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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

  • Despite India’s withdrawal from the Open Government Partnership, the country is still involved with open government initiatives, according to the State Department. (techPresident)
  • The OMB will require federal agencies to report detailed information about their IT investments as part of the Obama administration’s push for open government. (Information Week)
  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau faces opposition to its regulatory power, and its newly nominated Director will face serious obstacles in his confirmation. (MSNBC)

Ethics

  • Rep. Maxine Waters formally requested that the House Ethics Committee drop its investigation into her activities after committee staffers may have compromised the integrity of the investigation. (The New York Times)
  • A State Department contract specialist participated in awarding more than $52 million worth of contracts to a company owned by her husband and daughter from a previous marriage, according to the Daily Caller. (Daily Caller)

Campaign Finance

  • President Obama was the top recipient of campaign donations from people affiliated with News Corporations. (The National Journal) (The National Journal’s article is based on a story by our reporting team on Tuesday.)
  • None of the 2012 Republican presidential candidates will reveal their top campaign fundraisers or bundlers. (ABC News)
  • The Campaign Finance Institute reported that three of the top four fundraisers in the campaign for the presidency have relied mainly on small donors. (CFI)
  • President Obama’s reelection campaign has publicly stated that it has not accepted cash from lobbyists, but some of its top fundraisers are in the business of influencing government. (TIME)
  • Sen. Claire McCaskill amended her FEC filings that date back to 2006 after her involvement in a campaign finance scandal. The new records show that her campaign committee did not declare 143 contributions in the 2006 election cycle. (Politico)
  • The FEC may charge former presidential candidate John Edwards nearly $2.3 million due to penalties and primary matching funds. (Roll Call)

Lobbying

  • The Justice Department charged two individuals with acting as unregistered foreign lobbyists for Pakistan; the Pakistani government denied knowing about the case. (The Hill)
  • The Hill published its weekly roundup of high-profile lobbyist hirings. (The Hill)
  • Goldman Sachs lobbyists have met with financial regulators nearly 100 times, iWatchNews reported. (iWatchNews) (The story uses our new Dodd-Frank meeting log, a lobbyist tracking database.)
  • Opinion: “News Corp is not a news company at all, but a global media empire that employs its newspapers – and in the US, Fox News – as a lobbying arm.” (Guardian)

Technology

  • Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz was indicted in Boston on charges that he stole millions of documents from MIT and JSTOR. (The New York Times)
  • The Office of Management and Budget has joined Twitter, seeking to bring attention to budget-related issues through social media. (Federal Computer Week)

State and Local

  • The American Lung Association in California released a study on how big tobacco money influences California politics. (Mercury News)
  • Opinion: A Maine State Senator should not be allowed to take up a high-profile lobbyist position and keep his Senate seat. (Morning Sentinel)

International

  • The government of British Columbia launched an open data website on Tuesday, making over 2,500 sets of public data available for download. The website has received mostly – though not all – positive reviews. (Vancouver Sun)(The Globe and Mail)
  • Opinion: Defense secrecy in South Africa is a prime example of the lack of transparency and corruption plaguing the country. (The Daily Maverick)

Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 7/20:

House

  • Pending Business. House Judiciary Committee. Full committee markup of H.R. 704, H.R. 1550, H.R. 2076, H.R. 963, H.R. 1059, and H.R. 1981. 10:15 am. 2141 RHOB. (Markups will continue on Thursday.)

Senate

  • Federal Regulation (Part II). Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Full committee hearing. 10:00 am. 342 DSOB.

Relevant bills introduced:

  • None

Transparency events scheduled for 7/20:

  • None
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