Policy Fellow Matt Rumsey wrote this post.
Here is a look at this week’s transparency-related news items, congressional committee hearings, transparency-related bills introduced in Congress, and transparency-related events.
- A video of police officers in Azerbaijan openly taking bribes went viral after it was posted on December 31, 2011. The Azerbaijani government quickly reacted by dismissing the officers involved. (Radio Free Europe)
- Corruption has run rampant in Haiti since the devastating earthquake that struck the country in January 2010. The new Haitian government has promised to fight corruption and increase transparency, but the process is moving slowly. (Transparency International)
- MapLight, which tracks money in politics, added a Companies page to its website. The page tracks 200 companies, trade associations and unions that contribute a lot of money to campaigns and ranks them based on the number of bills they successfully advocate for or against. (National Journal)
- Newt Gingrich and his consulting companies provided financial-services company Credit Suisse with information, analysis, and help setting up meetings with senior Republican policy aides. Credit Suisse used this information to help guide their stock recommendations. (National Journal)
- Criminal prosecution is highly unlikely to result from coordination between candidates and outside groups making independent expenditures. An investigation of FEC records found that even civil sanctions are rare. (iWatch News)
- The president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has vowed to mount the “most aggressive grassroots mobilization and voter education program” in the organization’s history and spend large sums to support pro-business policies and candidates. (National Journal)
- Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced that he would be willing to cut a provision from PIPA, the Senate version of SOPA, that has drawn the ire of technology companies and internet activists. (Tech President)
- Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) is standing strong against growing opposition to SOPA, saying that it is necessary to protect free enterprise. (Yahoo/Reuters)
- The Cheezburger Network, which gets as many as 8.5 million page views per day, is planning to join the January 18th blackout spearheaded by Reddit to protest SOPA. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is said to be actively considering it as well. (Tech President)
Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 1/13:
Relevant bills introduced: