2Day in #OpenGov 8/12/2011

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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:

Government

  • An investigation by the USPS inspector general found that supervisors lowered employee ratings on evaluations in order to avoid performance based pay raises. (Government Executive)
  • A data-driven look at the Home Affordable Modification Program. (Sunlight Blog)
  • Opinion: Data about derivatives and swaps that will be collected in repositories mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act will bring greater transparency to the derivatives market. Regulators should take steps to ensure that these provisions are implemented. (Roll Call)

Super Congress

  • Members of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction have received $3 million in the last five years from special interests. The largest contributors are defense contractors, health providers, and labor unions. (Yahoo!)
  • Now that the members of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction have been selected, outside groups are waiting to see what ties the committee’s staffers will have to special interests. (Huffington Post)
  • Supporters for Rep. Becerra (D-CA) are using his recent appointment to the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction to raise the profile of a fundraising event featuring the congressman. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Sen. Leahy (D-VT) sent a letter to the newly appointed chairs of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction to ask the committee to adopt rules that promote transparency and accountability. (The Hill)

Access to Information

  • Opinion: The Dodd-Frank whistleblower provisions that take effect today strike the right balance between providing whistleblowers  a financial incentive to report abuse and encouraging them to go through their company’s internal review process before coming to the government. (Politico)

Lobbying

  • Speaker Boehner is using the August recess to raise cash across the Midwest, organizing fundraisers and golf outings. (Politico)
  • A campaign advisor for presidential candidate John Huntsman has said he will not step down from his post as a paid lobbyist while he works for Huntsman’s campaign. (Politoco)

Technology

  • The Department of Defense plans to close at least 44 data centers by the end of FY 2011 in an effort to follow Vivek Kundra’s Plan to Reform Federal IT Management. (Federal Computer)
  • Opinion: The US Government should move away from a model where services and information are available across hundreds of websites and develop a government portal to consolidate access and cut IT costs. (GovFresh)

State and Local

  • D.C. city officials have used an independent non-profit established by the city council to direct money to pet charities and reward campaign donors. (Washington Post)
  • A new report from the California state auditor recommended that the University of California take more steps to make its budget process transparent, including making more information available to the public. (Orange County Register)
  • Critics of The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) are suggesting that the organization violated Minnesota’s lobbyist disclosure laws. Minnesota has one of the toughest lobbyist laws in the country, which includes a broad definition of “lobbying.” (Minnesota Independent)
  • California Assemblyman Anthony Portantino released his legislative calendar to the press after a controversial decision by the Assembly Rules Committee to deny public access to legislator’s calendars. The Los Angeles Times and Sacramento Bee have filed a lawsuit against the state legislature for the release of similar records from the rest of the Assembly. (Sacramento Bee)

International

  • Investigative journalists in China are using social media and microblogging sites to generate public pressure as a way of challenging government censors. (Yahoo!)

Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 8/12:

  • None

Relevant bills introduced:

  • None

Transparency events scheduled for 8/12:

  • None
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