2Day in #OpenGov 7/25/2011

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

News Roundup:

Lobbying

  • The National Journal reported that, contrary to a recent report by Politico, lobbying groups have been successfully gaining revenue. (The National Journal)
  • The new trade deals under consideration are strong supported by multinational corporations who are lobbying Congress. (HuffPost)
  • A new lawsuit challenges how the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act defines “foreign official,” and the Chamber of Commerce is lining up against broad enforcement of the law. (Washington Post)
  • Opinion: A new third party must be launched to combat the money and corporate influence in government. (HuffPost)

Ethics

  • Many of the members of Congress who voted to undercut OCE’s funding were previously probed in ethics investigations. (Sunlight Blog)
  • Newly published reports from the inspector general at the SEC reveal evidence of unethical behavior by staff members. (POGO)
  • Nancy Pelosi asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate Rep. David Wu (D-OR) over allegations he had an “unwanted sexual encounter” with a woman. (Roll Call)
  • Opinion: The congressional ethics process is in urgent need of reform. (The Hill)
  • Opinion: Congress should enhance the powers of the Office of Congressional Ethics in light of the Rep. Maxine Waters scandal. (The New York Times)

Campaign Finance

  • A new ad by Citizens United promoting a film about Michelle Bauchman has stirred controversy about whether the buy is an independent expenditure, a political message, or neither. (Politico)

Technology

  • IBM has released cloud-based tools for government agencies in an effort to improve government services and transparency. (GovTech)
  • A new blogpost series on the Sunlight Blog evaluates congressional committee websites. (Sunlight Blog)
  • Opinion: “Gov 2.0 is more about people than it is about technology.” (Gov In the Lab)

Access to Information

  • Gawker is suing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for access to public records of conversations the governor allegedly had with Fox News chief Roger Ailes. (National Journal)

State and Local

  • Virginia companies donate money almost exclusively to incumbent candidates’ campaigns. (Washington Post)
  • South Carolina beefed up its ethics rules for lobbyist registration, among other things. (The TANDD)
  • Stateline released its evaluation of state Governors and how they use social media (techPresident)
  • An Ohio county executive has kept his promise of open government under his purview, PolitiFact reports. (The Plain Dealer)
  • Opinion: “Local municipalities should be open about money paid, benefits received through federal government.” (TC Palm)
  • Opinion: Greater transparency will restore faith in Pennsylvania’s state government. (Patch)

International

  • A local station in Georgia reported last week that members of Georgia’s ethics panel have made political contributions while serving on the panel; one serves as a registered lobbyist. (WSBTV)
  • Egyptian bloggers acknowledged that Internet and social media were not the only tools behind the Egyptian Revolution (Yahoo!)

Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 7/25-7/29:

House

  • Public Corruption Law Amendments. Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing. House Committee on the Judiciary. Tuesday. 10:00 am. Rayburn House Office Building, room 2141.

Senate

  • Small Business Contracts: How Oversight Failures and Regulatory Loopholes Allow Large Businesses to Get and Keep Small Business Contracts. Contracting Oversight Subcommittee hearing. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Tuesday. 10:00 am. Dirksen Senate Office Building, room SD-342.

Joint

  • Fiscal Rules to Restrain Federal Overspending. Full committee hearing. Joint Economic Committee. Wednesday. 10:00 am. 216 HSOB.

Relevant bills introduced:

House

  • None

Senate

  • S. 1409. A bill to intensify efforts to identify, prevent, and recover payment error, waste, fraud, and abuse within Federal spending; to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Transparency events scheduled for 7/25-7/29:

Monday

Tuesday

Friday

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