2Day in #OpenGov 8/3/2011

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

News Roundup:

Government

  • David Vitter introduced legislation to impose transparency measures for the special committee created by the Budget Control Act. (Huffington Post)

Access to Information

  • Millions of federal court records were ordered to be destroyed to help the judiciary confront budget cuts. The cost of storing the documents is about $6 million annually. (iWatchNews)
  • The Faster FOIA Law, previously passed in the Senate but stripped in order to pass a debt ceiling law, was reintroduced and passed in the Senate. (FAS Secrecy Blog)
  • A review of the latest report from the newly created National Declassification Center shows that the government has doubled the rate at which it is releasing historical documents. (Federal Computer)
  • The CIA has released information about the failed “Bay of Pigs” invasion following a FOIA request by the National Security Archive. (Global Research)

Lobbying

  • The creation of a “Super Committee” to handle extensive budget negotiations has led to calls make the process and the committee more transparent. (Huffington Post) (Sunlight Blog)
  • President Obama will start celebrating his birthday a little early this year with multiple Chicago fundraisers planned for tonight. (Washington Times)
  • Law school professor Jonathan Adler presents lobbying as a principal agent problem, asking whether corporate lobbyists really represent the companies that pay their salaries. (National Review)
  • Opinion: Public sector lobbying by local and state governments is on the rise and costing tax payers money. (KnoxNews)

Revolving Door

  • The Project on Government Oversight looks at a case where having someone from the private sector at the SEC may have improved enforcement. (POGO)

Technology

  • The Federal Register released API tools to allow developers to access data on its website including information about rules and regulations passed by federal agencies. (Information Week)

State and Local

  • A county in Maryland is considering removing requirements for lobbyists to disclose their annual incomes. (Lobby Comply Blog)
  • Police in Utah launched a new website to collect anonymous tips online. (GovTech)
  • A small village in Illinois has launched a transparency website including information on lobbyists and salaries that will try to make information available to the public before they file FOIA requests. (Orland Park Patch)

International

  • China has promised more openness following a train crash that quickly became a national tragedy that was shrouded in mystery. (Reuters)

Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 8/3:

House

  • None

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:

House

  • None

Senate

  1. S. 1498. A bill to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to provide for additional reporting with respect to contributions to members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction; to the Committee on Rules and Administration.
  2. S. 1501. A bill to require the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to conduct the business of the Committee in a manner that is open to the public; to the Committee on Rules and Administration.

Transparency events scheduled for 8/3:

  • None
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