2Day in #OpenGov 8/5/2011


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

News Roundup:


  • Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) called on the Office of Management of Budget to release documents relating to a regulation at the National Institute of Health that would tighten disclosure of conflicts of interest. (Pharmalot)
  • A Justice Department report indicates that at least half of all cabinet departments have made no progress on reducing their backlog of FOIA requests. (Executive Gov)


  • Tech and pharmaceutical companies have employed more than 800 lobbyists to shape a new patent “reform” bill intended to limit patent troll lawsuits. Huffington Post)

Revolving Door

  • The US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan will be leaving his post after 6 months to go to work in the private sector. He did not disclose who hired him, saying only that the offer was “too good to pass up.” (National Journal)
  • Ethics reports show that President’s Obama’s prospective nomination for Deputy Defense Secretary, Ashton Carter,  received hundreds of thousands of dollars from defense contractors such as Raytheon and Global Technology Partners. Mr. Carter was one of 30 individuals given a waiver from the President’s ethics rules. (Washington Times)
  • The Project on Government Oversight issued recommendations on how the Department of Defense can improve its revolving door regulations. (POGO)

Campaign Finance

  • A review of contributions to the seven largest “Super PACs” found that they are being funded by a handful of wealthy donors. (USA Today)
  • Ten corporate law experts called on the Securities and Exchange Commission to require public companies to disclose political contributions to shareholders. (Harvard Law School Blog)
  • Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA) introduced legislation to curb the use of campaign “war chests.” The legislation would make it illegal for politicians to use money raised in one election cycle to pay for a future campaign. (Slate)
  • Opinion: President Obama should sign a draft executive order  requiring government contractors to disclose contributions to independent expenditure groups. (New York Times)


  • The Sunlight Foundation launched a new tool that makes it easier for the public to access reports from the House Ethics Committee. (Sunlight Foundation Blog)
  • The Energy Department launched a new website with interactive data visualizations to engage the public. Users can now find nearby alternate fueling stations or learn about American energy consumption. (O’Reilly Radar)
  • A coalition of tech and media companies launched a campaign in Philadelphia to allow citizens to actively engage in the redistricting process. (San Francisco Chronicle)

State and Local

  • A small county in Maryland is looking to beef up its laws regulating how lobbyists disclose their compensation. (Fredrick News Post)
  • After a series of complaints, Florida Governor Rick Scott has taken steps to lower the cost of requesting records under the state’s public records law and pledged to put more documents online. (TC Palm)


  • A new application launched by private companies in Cape Town, South Africa, will make the assets of politicians available to the public. (Times Live)
  • Opinion: The UK’s Freedom of Information Act, passed in 2004, has led to increased transparency and a realization that government is doing its job. (Guardian)

Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 8/5:

  • None

Relevant bills introduced:

  • None

Transparency events scheduled for 8/5:

  • None