2Day in #OpenGov 8/10/2011

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

News Roundup:

Government

  • Sen. Harry Reid’s three picks for the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction have close ties to the financial sector, law firms, women’s issues organizations, and PACs. (Atlantic Wire)
  • Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader McConnell have chosen members for the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction. (National Journal)
  • Standard and Poor’s is fighting back against a proposal by the Securities and Exchange Commission to require ratings agencies to disclose “significant errors” in their evaluation process. (Reuters)
  • Opinion: The Securities and Exchange Commission should draft a rule requiring corporations to disclose their political contributions to shareholders. (New York Times)
  • Opinion: Congress should establish an independent review agency accountable to the legislature, not the President, to compliment the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. (RegBlog)

Ethics

  • A year after being convicted of 11 ethics violations by the House, Charlie Rangel has become less toxic than he was during the investigations. The article quotes a Democratic staffer, “It’s all history, it doesn’t mean anything anymore.” (Politico)

Lobbying

  • 81 members of the House will travel to Israel for a week on a trip paid for AIPAC, a pro-Israel lobby. (Washington Post)
  • Lobbying firms with close ties to Republicans have beat the trend among struggling lobbying firms and seen their revenue increase this year. (The Hill)
  • Opinion: The Lobbyist Disclosure Act needs to be updated by closing the “20 percent loophole” and enhancing disclosure requirements. (The Hill)
  • Opinion: The Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction should be transparent so that any efforts to influence the committee are out in the open. (Politico)

Campaign Finance

  • Independent expenditure groups are increasingly relying on anonymous donors. Spending by 501(c)4 groups for the 2012 election cycle by political parties and other organizations is on pace to eclipse records set in the last election. (Politico)
  • Super PACs created to raise money for specific candidates have exploded onto the scene in the 2012 election cycle. Candidates are leaning on these groups, which have accepted and spent millions in undisclosed contributions so far. (Politico)

Technology

  • Citizens are increasingly turning to tools such as Twitter to connect with representatives, voice complaints about policy, and organize protests. (National Journal)
  • Americans Elect has planned an online political convention for June 2012 that will allow voters to nominate candidates and draft policy questions for nominees. (Politico)

State and Local

  • A new law in Illinois will require the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to publish detailed information about doctors on its website. Patients will be able to find out whether a doctor has been fired, convicted of a crime, or paid a malpractice payment within the last five years. (Chicago Tribune)
  • A city government in California released a comprehensive report documenting compensation for all of the city’s 572 employees for FY 2010. (Daily Pilot)
  • The Anschutz Entertainment Group, which recently received permission to build Farmers Field football stadium in Los Ageneles, employed dozens of lobbyists to move its proposal through local and state governments. (San Diego Reader)

International

  • Two of Canada’s three largest telecommunication firms have appointed former cabinet members to serve on their boards. (techdirt)
  • Members of Prince George’s advisory council have expressed support for allowing the meetings to be broadcast on the web in order to make the council’s deliberations public. (Gazette.net)

Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 8/10:

  • None

Relevant bills introduced:

  • None

Transparency events scheduled for 8/10:

  • None
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