2Day in #OpenGov 12/15/2011

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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:

Campaign Finance
  • Reform groups renewed their request for the IRS to investigate if nonprofits that spend millions on political activities are eligible for their tax-exempt status. In a letter, the groups called out organizations including Americans Elect and Crossroads GPS. (Roll Call $)
  • A new report from POGO and CRP found that companies involved in the Joint Strike Fighter program contributed almost twice as much money to lawmakers who joined the newly-formed Joint Strike Fighter Caucus than they did to other lawmakers. (Government Executive)
  • The DCCC has charted an aggressive fundraising course heading into 2012. They recently erased $19 million in debt and are almost debt free as they prepare to spend on 2012 races. (Politico)
Government
  • A small language change in the defense bill sparked a large lobbying battle this week. The edit, backed by Florida lawmakers and lobbyists for Odyssey Marine Explorations, would have made it easier for the company to claim $500 million worth of treasure from a shipwreck. The Spanish government and the Obama administration opposed the language and it was eventually removed. (Washington Post)
  • Code for America got a $1.5 million grant from Google to continue their efforts at making governments work better for people. (Government Technology)
State and Local
  • California’s online campaign finance database has been offline for the past two weeks and the Secretary of State doesn’t know when it will be back up. (Lobby Comply)
  • A Missouri State Representative introduced a wide ranging ethics bill that would ban lobbyist gifts, strictly limit campaign contributions, and prohibit legislators from working as political consultants. (Lobby Comply)

Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 12/15:

House

  • MF Global Bankruptcy. Financial Services. HVC-210, Capitol. 1:00 pm. Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee hearing.
Senate
  • Physician Payments Sunshine Act. Aging. 562 DSOB. 2:30 pm. Full Committee hearing.

Relevant bills introduced:

  • H.R. 3565, Reconnecting Congress with America Act. Referred to the House Financial Services Committee.
Transparency events scheduled for 12/15:

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