2Day in #OpenGov 8/11/2011

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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

  • All but one of the members on a government board tasked with making recommendations about the safety of fracking have financial ties to the natural gas industry. (iWatch)
  • John Larson (D-CT) is planning to introduce legislation that would create a new job creation super committee, built on the framework of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction. (Politico)
  • Groups are calling on members appointed to the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction to step down from their fundraising and leadership posts. (Yahoo!)

Earmarks

  • As his state struggles to pay for a pet project, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham may turn to earmarks if legislation to fund the project with federal dollars fails. (Charleston Regional Business Journal)
  • Opinion: Michelle Bauchman should not be criticized for supporting a bipartisan bridge building project in her district. (New York Times)

Access to Information

  • Opinion: The US government has classified documents that do not contain secret information. Classifying information that is not related to national security is harmful to the national interest. (LA Times)

Lobbying

  • The American Bar Association called on Congress to enact a two year ban on fundraising by lobbyists for members of Congress they recently lobbied and close the 20 percent loophole. (Politico)
  • Patty Murray, the co-chair of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, has received significant contributions from the defense industry. Defense contractors are concerned about automatic cuts to the Pentagon that will be triggered if the committee fails to pass legislation through Congress. (Bloomberg)

Campaign Finance

  • A small group of wealthy Republican donors are being courted by presidential candidates. Many of these donors remain undecided as the 2012 Republican field continues to take shape. (Politico)
  • Stephen Colbert’s Super PAC launched a new campaign ad encouraging voters in Iowa to write in Rick Parry (with an “a”) in the upcoming Ames Straw Poll. (Reuters)
  • In a suit filed against the FEC, Steve Schonberg challenged the Federal Elections Campaign Act and the McCain-Feingold Act, arguing that existing campaign finance rules give an unfair advantage to incumbents. (Gainesville Sun)

Technology

  • The Sunlight Foundation released new Roku apps to help make videos from the White House and Congress more accessible. The app also features audio recordings of oral arguments before the Supreme Court. (The Hill) (Sunlight Labs)

State and Local

  • Within four months of leaving office, former Alabama Governor Bob Riley became a lobbyist for interests he represented as governor. (Examiner)
  • A member of an Illinois school board was denied access to a public record after being told her request required approval from the full school board. Its rules  only allows printed document to be used by a member after they are distributed to the entire board following a vote. (Southtown Star)
  • Opinion: City council officials should not be allowed to conduct important votes in secret. The governor and state legislature should pass legislation to strengthen existing transparency laws. (Coloradoan)

International

  • Prime Minister David Cameron suggested that his government may disrupt social media tools viewed by officials as an important catalyst to riots unfolding across the country. (Yahoo!)
  • Alassane Ouattara, a former deputy director of the IMF and current President of the Ivory Coast, is requiring government ministers to sign a new ethics pledge aimed at rooting out corruption. (Reuters)
  • Opinion: Making agreements between Bangladesh and other countries available for public review will remove suspicions surrounding the current agreements. (Financial Express)

Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 8/11:

  • None

Relevant bills introduced:

  • None

Transparency events scheduled for 8/11:

 

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