Here are Thursday’s transparency-related news items, congressional committee hearings, transparency-related bills introduced in Congress, and transparency-related events.
- The Legislative Branch Appropriations Act of 2012, which includes amendments addressing opening CRS reports and funding for the GPO, was reported to the House on Wednesday. (THOMAS) (We wrote about this legislation here)
- A new environmental de-regulation bill that the House passed last week bears a “striking resemblance” to model legislation authored by the conservative action group ALEC. (TPM)
- Opinion: The SEC is ineffective as a bloated, centralized bureaucracy, and should be localized and shrunk. (Forbes)
- The House Ethics Committee has hired outside counsel to probe whether or not the committee’s investigation of Rep. Maxine Waters may continue. (Roll Call $)
- Finance industry leaders represent the top corporate donors for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, as Romney continues to criticize Obama’s record of financial regulation. (The Washington Post)
- Lobbying groups are facing a slump in revenue, which they blame on legislative gridlock. (Politico)
- The Chamber of Commerce was a top spender in the second quarter, but its lobbying efforts have not reached levels of the health care debate. (Roll Call $)
- Newly released House records shed light on how much the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spends lobbying for amendments to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. (Wall Street Journal)
- Lobbyists have slowed the implementation of financial regulations, according to our own Bill Allison. (Marketplace)
- The recent arrest of two foreign agents allegedly working for Pakistan has raised questions about how foreign influences may lobby the U.S. government. (The National Interest) Lawmakers have denied that their actions and decisions were influenced by these agents. (The New York Times)
- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce attacked FINRA for being “out of touch” with the financial firms it regulates. (Thomson Reuters)
- Lobbyists and interest groups fear what the Gang of Six’s proposed tax code overhaul could do for their clients and constituencies. (The Hill)
- House Majority Leader Eric Cantor took comments on Quora for a question about the debt crisis; Cantor’s staff said it plans to continue experimenting with the forum tool. (techPresident)
- USA.gov has organized a hackathon for citizens to engage with federal data from its new URL shortener. (Governing People)
State and Local
- Ohio watchdog groups met at the statehouse on Wednesday to advocate for greater transparency in the congressional re-districting process. (Daily Journal)
Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 7/21:
- 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. (Continued from Wednesday)
- Wall Street Reform Act Review. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Full committee hearing. 10:00 am. 538 DSOB.
Relevant bills introduced:
- H.R. 2606. A bill to improve the accountability and transparency in infrastructure spending by requiring a life-cycle cost analysis of major infrastructure projects, providing the flexibility to use alternate infrastructure type bidding procedures to reduce project costs, and requiring the use of design standards to improve efficiency and save taxpayer dollars; to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
Transparency events scheduled for 7/21:
- Cybersecurity: Incentives and Governance (RSVP here). The Brookings Institution. 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. 1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW. Washington D.C.
- A New Framework for Consumer Data Privacy Protections (RSVP here). The Brookings Institution. 3:30 pm. 1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW. Washington D.C.
- Reforming Our Nation’s Financial System: Dodd-Frank One Year Later (RSVP here). The Aspen Institute. 8 am. 1 Dupont Circle NW, St. 700, Washington D.C.