2Day in #OpenGov 10/6/2011


Policy Fellow Matt Rumsey wrote this post.

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:

Super Committee 
  • Foreign nations are getting in on the race to influence members of the Super Committee. Each member of the committee has met with at least one foreign lobbyist in the past year. They have also received more than $50,000 in contributions directly from foreign lobbyists this cycle. (POGO)
Campaign Finance
  • It appears likely that Super PACs will not have to disclose the details of their fundraising until well after the first votes have been cast to decide the Republican nominee . The Iowa Caucuses are expected to take place in the dawning days of 2012, and at least 4 additional contests will be held before the January 31st filing deadline. (Washington Post)
  • A new FEC ruling will make it easier for PACs to combine the functions of traditional and Super PACs. The ruling allows these hybrid PACs to raise unlimited funds for independent expenditures, provided they store that money in a separate bank account from the money they raise for direct donations to candidates. (Roll Call)
  • About one Super PAC has been formed every day since late September, easily outpacing numbers for the 2010 election cycle. The PACs are expected to spend significantly more than in 2010 as well. (Politico)
Government and Ethics
  • A group of House Democrats are calling for a Congressional investigation into ethics and conflict-of-interest questions that have been floating around Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. The issues came to light after Justice Thomas filed financial disclosure papers, reporting more than $1.5 million in previously undisclosed income that his wife has earned since 1997. (Politico)
  • Sunlight Labs is getting some love for Influence Explorer. The site is making it easier to search for public comments on proposed regulations posted on regulations.gov. (Federal Computer Week)
  • OMB released new guidelines today that will preclude registered lobbyists from being appointed to sit on federal boards and commissions. Lobbyists have come out against the decision, claiming it will limit access to their expertise. (Roll Call)
  • K Street is losing a major funding stream, as trade deals with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea are expected to be ratified by Congress soon. The three countries have spent at least $15 million on lobbying, legal, and PR fees related to the Free Trade Agreements since 2006. (The Hill)

Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 10/6:


  • Banking. Financial Stability Oversight Council Report. 538 DSOB, 10:00 am. Full Committee Hearing.
  • Financial Services. Financial Stability Oversight Council Report. 2128 RHOB, 2:00 pm. Full Committee Hearing.
  • Oversight and Government Reform. Healthcare Law’s Employer Penalty. 2154 RHOB, 9:30 am. Health Care, District of Columbia, Census, and the National Archives Subcommittee Hearing.
  • Oversight and Government Reform. Federal Contract Suspension and Debarment Sanctions. 2247 RHOB, 9:30 am. Technology, Information Policy, and Intergovernmental Relations and Procurement Reform Subcommittee Hearing.

Relevant bills introduced:

  • None.

Transparency events scheduled for 10/6:

  • Transparency Caucus. 2237 RHOB, 10:30 am.




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