2Day in #OpenGov 8/17/2011

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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

  • The Department of Defense’s Inspector General is investigating a potential conflict of interest between DARPA and defense contractor RedXDefense. The head of DARPA founded RedXDefense and is the daughter of its current CEO. RedXDefense has been awarded $2 million worth of contracts since July of 2009. (Federal Computer)
  • The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board is considering establishing an “auditor rotation” system to limit how long a firm may work with the same client in order to ensure that auditors remain independent from the companies they are supposed to investigate. (Reuters)

Super Congress

  • Rep. Buchanan (R-FL) argued that the work of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction should be done in open session so the public can track committee progress and deal making. (Politico)
  • When the members of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction meet they will be tasked with cutting money from the same groups that have contributed to their election campaigns. (NPR)

Revolving Door

  • Over the past few weeks, several senior staffers have left Congress to pursue jobs on K street, in the private sector, or in academia. (Politico)
  • Rep Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) chief of staff is stepping down to serve as executive director of the Tory Burch Foundation, an advocacy organization focused on women’s issues. (The Hill)

Campaign Finance

  • The evolution of Super PACs and unlimited campaign contributions have given bundlers the ability to raise unlimited amounts of money for independent expenditure groups, making “Super Bundlers” more valuable than ever. (Washington Post)
  • A new lawsuit against the FEC alleges that the board failed to enforce federal law when it declined to fine Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN) for misreporting the source of a $250,000 campaign contribution. (Washington Times)

Technology

  • Federal agencies are considering developing a sleeker web presence and consolidating rarely visited websites in order to cut their budgets. (NextGov)
  • In an effort to connect to veterans and make accurate government information more available, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced it plans to expand its use of Facebook and other social media tools. (Washington Post)

State and Local

  • The Riverside, CA Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to maintain contracts with lobbying groups that cost the cash-strapped county more than $500,000 a year. (Southwest Riverside News)
  • The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa is launching an open records project to help citizens make use of the state’s public records laws. (KWQC)

Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 8/17:

  • None

Relevant bills introduced:

  • None

Transparency events scheduled for 8/17:

  • Deficit Reduction and the New Congressional Committee: A Primer. 1:30 p.m. The Brookings Institution 1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW Washington, D.C
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