2Day in #OpenGov 8/1/2011

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Happy August! 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:

Government

  • President Obama nominated Michael E. Horowitz as the Department of Justice’s Inspector General. (Main Justice)
  • Opinion: Huge cuts to the budget for the Government Printing Office have jeopardized public access to information. (American Libraries)

Access to Information

  • The American Civil Liberties Union released a report arguing that Congress should revisit and reform laws protecting disclosure of national security information. (POGO)
  • The Ninth Circuit granted a felon’s FOIA request to access information about a confidential informatant who testified against him in court. (Legal Pad)

Lobbying

  • Lobbyists on Capitol Hill are taking on legislation attempting to stop the revolving door and enhance lobbyist disclosure laws. (Politico)
  • President Obama’s focus on private space flight has opened the door for huge lobbying pushes by private companies looking to cash in on government contracts. (Politico)

Campaign Finance

  • Former Senator Russ Feingold expanded his advocacy group, Progressives United, by launching a new 501(c)(4). Feingold has promised to disclose and cap contributions to his organization. (Huffington Post)
  • Special interest groups reported contributions over the weekend revealing huge spending for a presidential campaign on track to break records. (Washington Post)
  • An investigation showed that the Koch Brothers have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Iowa politicians and purchased real estate throughout the state. (Des Moines Register)

Technology

  • Many tools developed for government challenges like Apps for Democracy no longer exist, calling into question whether government initiatives are sustainable. (O’Rielly Radar)
  • Opinion: Improvements to technology and crowd sourcing can supplement whistleblowers and help root out fraud and abuse in government spending. (Nextgov)

State and Local

  • A judge in Santa Clara, CA has proposed a decision to strike down a law which restricts contributions to candidates within 17 days of an election. (Lobby Comply Blog)
  • The Florida legislature took steps to hand control of the state’s lobbyist registration database and website over to a private company. (St. Augustine Record)
  • A water board in Honolulu, HI contributed hundreds of thousands of tax-payer dollars to lobbyists in an effort to steer public funds towards its projects. (Star Adviser)
  • Opinion: Governor Brown should honor his commitment to transparent, open government and release data about California’s budget and spending. (Sacramento Bee)

International

  • A new report from the United Kingdom documented the increasing IT costs facing the government and shed light on the short list of vendors allowed to provides services to the government. (Tech President)
  • The Russian Duma took steps towards open government today by hiring a new website design company to revolutionize the legislature’s website. (CMS Critic)

Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 8/1-8/5:

House

  • SEC Reform. House Committee on Financial Services. Full comittee hearing. Thursday. 10:00 am. 2128 RHOB.

Senate

  • Pending Business. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Full committee markup of S. 1268, S. 1409, S. 743, S. 1379, S. 1444, S. 384, and the nominations of Mark Acton and Robert Taub, both to be a commission of the Postal Regulatory Commission. Wednesday. 10:00 am. DSOB

Relevant bills introduced:

  • None

Transparency events scheduled for 8/1-8/5:

Monday

  • CFTC and SEC discussion on international issues related to the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. 9:00 am. CFTC Headquarters. Three Lafayettee Centre, 1155 21st Street NW. Washington, DC.

Tuesday

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