2Day in #OpenGov 8/8/2011

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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

  • Nancy Pelosi called for meetings of the Deficit Reduction Committee to be open to the public and streamed on the web. (Politico)
  • A panel of federal judges declined to reinstate an air marshal who lost his job after leaking information about TSA cutbacks to MSNBC. (CNN)
  • A group of political donors called on the IRS to clarify a decision on how contributions to advocacy groups in the 2012 election cycle will be taxed. The agency initially planned to tax contributions but reversed course after receiving letters from members of Congress. (New York Times)

Ethics

  • The House Ethics Committee cleared Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH) of allegations that she received imporper legal assistance from a Turkish-American interest group. The Committee also cited the Chief of Staff for Rep. John Lewis (R-GA), Michael Collins, for failing to report $54,000 in income he received doing campaign work. (Roll Call)
  • A former aid to Rep. Don Young (R-AK) was convicted of failing to report a trip with corporate lobbyists to the 2003 World Series. (Yahoo!)

Access to Information

  • A federal judge rejected a FOIA request filed by Judicial Watch that would have required the Federal Housing Finance Agency to release records about political contributions by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. (The Hill)

Lobbying

  • Advocacy groups and lobbyists have continued working during the August recess, attending fundraisers and local town halls. (Roll Call)

Campaign Finance

  • A new hybrid super PAC, the Efficient America PAC, filed papers with the Federal Elections Commission. The organization plans to accept unlimited contributions for independent expenditures and simultaneously accept limited contributions to a separate account for direct contributions to candidates. (Sunlight Reporting Group)
  • A former managing director at the financial firm Bain Capital, Ed Conrad, admitted he was behind the mysterious company that vanished after donating $1 million to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. Mitt Romney served as the CEO of Bain Capital. (Huffington Post)

State and Local

  • After being denied requests for legislative records, newspapers in California have filed a lawsuit to force the state legislature to release information about how leadership offices distribute money to rank and file members. (LA Times)
  • Lobbyists, energy companies, and other special interests have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to two charter schools in Oakland, CA, that Governor Brown (D-CA) helped establish when he was mayor. (LA Times)

Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 8/8 – 8/12:

  • None

Relevant bills introduced:

Senate

  • None

House

  • H.R. 2796. 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.
  • H.R. 2802. A bill to provide for media coverage of Federal court proceedings; to the Committee on the Judiciary.

Transparency events scheduled for 8/8 – 8/12

Tuesday

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