2Day in #OpenGov 10/19/2011

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Policy Fellow Matt Rumsey wrote this post.

Enjoy the week’s halfway point with Wednesday’s transparency-related news items, congressional committee hearings, transparency-related bills introduced in Congress, and transparency-related events.

News Roundup:

Campaign Finance
  • A Kentucky Circuit Court Judge has issued a restraining order against Restoring America, an independent political group, preventing them from running radio and television ads. The Judge ruled that the group failed to properly report the source of contributions funding their ads, in violation of Kentucky law. Opposition groups have claimed that the ruling is a state-level assault on the Citizens United decision and an appeal is expected. (Lobby Comply)
  • The Justice Department is investigating Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) for possible campaign finance violations. The investigation stems from an FEC probe into allegations that Buchanan directed his former business partner to reimburse employees for donations they made to his campaign. (Roll Call$)
  • FEC filings have revealed that Herman Cain’s presidential campaign paid more than $64,000 to his motivational speaking company, T.H.E. New Voice Inc., for copies of his own books, airfare, lodging and more. In the past, the FEC has allowed campaigns to buy copies of their candidate’s books, as long as the candidate did not profit from those sales. (Bloomberg News)
Government
  • Emails obtained by Judicial Watch suggest that the White House may have had a hand in closing a workshop on FOIA compliance to the press. (Daily Caller/Yahoo)
  • The Office of Special Counsel is beginning to swap its hapless reputation for a more positive image. The new special counsel, Carolyn Lerner,is off to a strong start in her efforts to better protect Federal whistleblowers. (Washington Post)
  • Federal Inspectors General identified more than $87 billion in potential savings last year, according to an annual report released by the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency. (iwatch news)
  • The House Ethics Committee has resumed its investigation into allegations that Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill) offered to raise money for former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich in exchange for an appointment to President Obama’s former Senate seat. The committee had previously stopped their investigation following a request from the Justice Department. (Roll Call $)
  • Opinion: Transparency should be measured by outcomes, not just the amount of data government releases. Data needs to be comprehensible and useful to advance transparency and open government goals. (Government Executive)

Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 10/19:

Senate

  • Judiciary. Homeland Security Oversight. 226 DSOB. 10:00 am. Full committee hearing.
  • Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Business meeting. 342 DSOB. 10:00 am. Full Committee hearing.
House
  • None.

Relevant bills introduced:

  • S. 1712. A bill to increase transparency in the payment of judgments and settlements by agencies, and for other purposes; the Committee on the Judiciary.
  • H.R. 3209. To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to provide predictability, consistency, and transparency to the premarket review process; the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
Transparency events scheduled for 10/19:
  • None.

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