2Day in #OpenGov 1/5/2012

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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:

International
  • Rwanda has focused on combating corruption and is now considered one of the least corrupt countries in Africa. But, it is still a challenge for rural communities to report and fight corruption. Transparency International is setting up district and mobile centers to help less connected Rwandans take action. (Transparency.org)
  • The new acting Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction believes that his agency is gaining “investigative momentum” and is ready to aggressively monitor the millions of dollars spent each day on humanitarian and development projects in the country. (POGO)
  • Early in 2011 Bulgaria released some government data on Parliament.bg. It didn’t quite live up to the standards of Boyan Yurukov, a blogger and activist, so he scraped all the data and enhanced it. (Open Knowledge Foundation)

Government

  • President Obama used a recess appointment to install Richard Cordray as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The move outraged Senate Republicans who blocked Cordray’s nomination and have made multiple efforts to weaken the powers of the bureau. (Government Executive)
  • The Recording Industry Association of America dismissed the SOPA alternative proposed by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), saying that it is “not a meaningful solution.” (The Hill)

Lobbying

  • A top Lockheed Martin executive worked closely with lobbyists for Bahrain, a major Lockheed client, to get an Op-Ed defending the nation’s embattled government placed in the Washington Times. Bahrain has been lobbying aggressively recently. (Salon)
  • Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) is losing his top health staffer during the Super Committee negotiations to the revolving door. Michelle Spence is joining the American Medical Group Association as a vice president of public policy. (National Journal)
Campaign Finance
  • In upholding their state’s law limiting corporate political spending, the Montana Supreme Court attacked the actual corrupting influence that comes with unlimited and opaque expenditures. (Slate)
  • There are few rules in place to govern what happens to Super PACs if the candidate they were created to support stops running for office. According to one campaign legal expert the groups can do “whatever they want” with left over funds. (Washington Post)
  • The Red, White and Blue Fund, a Super PAC supporting Rick Santorum, is adding a veteran Capitol Hill communications operative to boost its efforts. (Politico)
  • Newt Gingrich is a vocal supporter of the Citizens United decision. But, is trying to square this position with his anger at Super PAC spending against him. (Politico)

Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 1/5:

  • None.

Relevant bills introduced:

  • None.
Transparency events scheduled for 1/5:
  • None.

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