2Day in #OpenGov 8/19/2011


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:


  • According to documents obtained through a FOIA request by Judicial Watch, the Obama Administration spent millions of dollars on a publicly funded ad campaign to promote the Affordable Health Care Act. (Judicial Watch)
  • The Interior Department’s Inspector General is investigating claims that a department biologist violated procurement rules in helping a researcher obtain funding for a study on polar bears. The study’s conclusion, that climate change is threatening polar bears, has been called into question in a separate investigation by the Inspector General. (New York Times)

Super Congress

  • Sen. Robert Portman (R-OH), a member of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, said that the committee will allow the public to have access to the process but also reserve a way for members to have private conversations. (Cleavland Plain Dealer)
  • The Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction may not meet until after Labor Day despite its November 23 deadline for passing legislation through Congress. Members of the committee have continued raising money throughout the August recess. (Politico)

Campaign Finance

  • Governor Rick Perry is working to expand his network of donors beyond Texas, reaching out to wealthy donors in Washington, D.C. and beyond. (Politico)
  • President Obama has attended 127 fundraisers so far in his term, putting him ahead of former presidents George W. Bush (88) and Bill Clinton (76) at similar points in their terms. (Politico)


  • Local, state, and federal governments’ use of mobile applications has transformed how citizens and government interact, from making it easier for citizens to pay fees with their cell phones to providing the government with real time hunting data. (NextGov)

State and Local

  • A bill that would subject the University of California to the state’s public records law passed through the California State Senate 36-1. (OfficialWire)
  • Despite a ruling by the California State Assembly’s Rules Committee that rejected a public records request for records showing how much individual member’s offices spent this year, a growing number of legislators have released their records to the public. (Sacramento Bee)


  • Western Cape Premier Helen Zille responded to corruption allegations by opening the provincial government’s books up to the public and allowing the Auditor-General to investigate the accusation. She has agreed to resign if the allegations are true. (iOL News)
  • Opinion: China’s government must respond to the increasing social demand for government transparency with real steps towards transparency instead of “emphasizing form over content.” (People’s Daily Online)

Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 8/19:

  • None

Relevant bills introduced:

  • None

Transparency events scheduled for 8/19:

  • None