2Day in #OpenGov 7/29/2011

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Here are Friday’s transparency-related news items, congressional committee hearings, transparency-related bills introduced in Congress, and transparency-related events.

News Roundup:

Government

  • The Government Accountability and Transparency Board held its first meeting yesterday behind closed doors. (Tech President)
  • A Border Patrol agent who refused overtime pay and faced pressure and punishment from his superiors told his story to the Advisory Committee on Transparency. (The Washington Post) (Advisory Committee on Transparency)
  • The IRS will make a database of tax-return preparers that includes information like qualifications and unique ID numbers available to the public as soon as 2013. (Bloomberg)
  • A group of House Democrats sent the White House a letter requesting President Obama consider issuing a draft executive order that was leaked in April to require government contractors to disclose political contributions. (Huffington Post)

Access to Information

  • A federal judge ruled that documents relating to Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal must be released because of their value to historians. (Politico)

Ethics

  • An investigation by the Washington Times found that only few people found guilty of campaign finance violations actually spend time in prison for their crimes. (Washington Times)
  • An Obama appointee to the Department of Labor resigned after an Inspector General’s report found “a pattern of conduct” that violated federal ethics laws. (Washington Post)
  • Opinion: Melanie Sloan argues that the ethics process in Washington is sorely lacking enforcement capabilities. (Roll Call)

Technology

  • A tech company called Firmstep launched a Web-based platform designed to help local governments launch accessible websites. (GovFresh)
  • NASA launched a new open website to highlight and encourage transparency efforts within the agency. (Gov Fresh)
  • After numerous websites crashed following speeches by President Obama and Speaker Boehner, members of the House are calling for an end to outside vendors hosting websites. (Roll Call)
  • A new report by the Government Accountability Office declared that agencies should develop specific policies to deal with social media. (Executive Gov)
  • The Department of Labor became the first federal agency to make software development kits available on its website to make its data more accessible. (US Department of Labor)

State and Local

  • Rahm Emanuel’s ethics reform efforts passed through the Chicago City Council after facing initial setbacks. The law will fundamentally change the way lobbyists work in the city. (Huffington Post)
  • Colorado issued a new rule requiring lobbyists to disclose expenditure reports regarding campaign contributions on a biweekly basis beginning in September. (Lobby Comply Blog)
  • Opinion: city council meetings should be televised and made available to the public. (Florida Times-Union)

International

  • Posts on Chinese social media websites regarding a tragic train accident are driving outrage and calls for transparency among local citizens. (Tech President)
  • A group of citizens from Iceland sent the parliamentary speaker a new constitution which was drafted by hundreds users through a popular Internet campaign. (Yahoo!)

Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 7/29:

  • None

Relevant bills introduced:

House

  • H.R. 2680. A bill to establish a commission to conduct a comprehensive review of Federal agencies and programs and to recommend the elimination or realignment of duplicative, wasteful, or outdated functions, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and in addition to the Committee on Rules, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.
  • H.R. 2690. A bill to amend title 40, United States Code, to direct the Inspector General of the Department of Transportation to conduct an annual independent financial audit of the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Senate

  • None

Transparency events scheduled for 7/29:

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