2Day in #OpenGov 8/2/2011

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

News Roundup:

Lobbying

  • The 12 member “Super Committee formed by the pending debt deal is already attracting attention from lobbyists seeking to have a hand in budget negotiations. (Politico)
  • Questions have emerged about a former congressman’s support for the telecom industry before and after leaving Congress. (Daily Caller)
  • Opinion: Lobbying may not be inherently bad, but we need to make information about lobbying disclosed in a way that is meaningful, transparent, and accessible. (Miller-McCune)
  • Opinion: If Congress is going to create a super committee, it should be super transparent. (Sunlight Blog)

Government

  • Lawmakers have voiced concerns that constant down-to-the-wire votes have jeopardized commitments to post bills online for at least three days before they receive a vote. (Politico)
  • OSHA has introduced plans to improve its protection for whistleblowers and step up its ability to investigate reports. (Fair Warning)

Access to Information

  • A new complaint filed in court by the former classification czar alleges that the Justice Department and National Security Agency classified documents that did not contain secrets. (New York Times)
  • The Iowa Supreme Court will review a law which forces local governments to pay attorney fees of individuals who win lawsuits to access public records. (Quad City Times)
  • A federal judge declined to hold officials at the CIA in contempt for destroying records of interrogations that took place during the War on Terror. (CNN)

Ethics

  • A 9th Circuit decision regarding corruption charges against Rep. Rick Renzi denied a broad reading of the Speech and Debate clause of the Constitution, which individuals have used as a legal shield against similar accusations. Legal experts predict the case will end up in the Supreme Court. (Roll Call)
  • The Wisconsin Democratic Party has filed a formal complaint against Americans for Prosperity because the group allegedly sent fliers  to absentee voters in Democratic areas asking voters to send in ballots after election day. (Politico)

State and Local

  • California took steps to allow campaign contributions via mobile devices, paving the way for anyone to donate money by text message. (Tech President)
  • After it was revealed that a Delaware business man did not disclose political contributions to politicians, people are calling for stricter rules regulating lobbyists. (Delaware Online)

International

  • Huffington Post reports that access to data about Canadian foreign aid has improved based on steps taken by the government’s Open Government Initiative. (Huffington Post)
  • The Chinese government has urged officials to speak openly, online with citizens about a recent train crash that was initially shrouded in secrecy. (Yahoo!)
  • Opinion: A lobbyist registration database in Ottawa is a great step towards disclosure, but it should only be considered the first step. (Ottawa Business Journal)

Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 8/2:

  • None

Relevant bills introduced:

House

  • H.R. 2728. A bill to amend the securities laws to require that registration statements, quarterly and annual reports, and proxy solicitations of public companies include a disclosure to shareholders of any expenditure made by that company in support of or in opposition to any candidate for Federal, State, or local public office; to the Committee on Financial Services.
  • H.R. 2788. A bill to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to prohibit a candidate for election to the office of Senator or Member of the House of Representatives from making campaign expenditures for the election from amounts that were not raised during the election cycle for that office, and for other purposes; to the Committee on House Administration.

Senate

  • S. 1466. A bill to establish the Commission on Freedom of Information Act Processing Delays; considered and passed.

Transparency events scheduled for 8/2:

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