2Day in #OpenGov 8/4/2011

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

News Roundup:

Government

  • A group of six Senators wrote a letter to congressional leadership requesting that any meeting of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction be held in public. (Heller Press Release)
  • A Missouri Senate candidate is calling for members chosen for the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to refuse contributions from special interests. (Politico)
  • A former executive for Microsoft was tapped to be Obama’s new Chief Information Officer. (NextGov)

Ethics

  • After controversial ethics allegations, Congressman David Wu (D-OR) officially resigned from Congress. (National Journal)
  • A proposed National Institute of Health rule to require individuals receiving research grants to disclose conflict of interest forms online was dropped. (Nature)

Access to Information

  • Miami-Dade county responded to a Freedom of Information Act request by asking a non-profit to pay $22,000 for information about public employee salaries and benefits. (Sunshine Review)
  • Opinion: The redistricting process should be more transparent, open to the public, and taken away from legislatures who benefit from the districts they draw. (The Cap Times)
  • Opinion: The California State Assembly should release information about the current year’s spending records because they are public records. (Sacramento Bee)

Campaign Finance

  • OpenSecrets interviewed Trevor Potter, a former FEC commissioner and attorney who advocated on behalf of Colbert PAC, about the FEC and money in politics. (Open Secrets Blog)
  • A company that donated $1,000,000 to Romney’s presidential campaign rapidly dissolved just months after being created, causing speculation about where the money came from. (MSNBC)
  • The president celebrated his 50th birthday (Happy Birthday, Mr. President) with a group of supporters who paid upwards of $38,000 to join him. (Yahoo!)
  • Former Congressman Eric Massa, who resigned amid ethics investigations, is suing his former chief of staff for allegedly paying himself $40,000 of campaign money without approval. (YNN)

State and Local

  • A state Senator in Maine will step down in December to take over the state’s largest sportsman’s lobbying group. (Maine Outdoors)

International

  • The Minister for the Cabinet Office of the United Kingdom took steps to open up government records in an effort he called “Freedom of Information 2.0.” (BBC)
  • Australia added new provisions to restrictions on lobbyists, including a requirement to disclose any former public officials employed by a firm. (PSNews)

Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 8/4:

  • None

Relevant bills introduced:

  • None

Transparency events scheduled for 8/4:

  • None
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