2Day in #OpenGov 7/20/2012




  • Newspaper group asks for Congressional tax returns, gets only 17: McClatchy Newspapers, who asked all 535 members of Congress for their tax records, only received the information from 17 lawmakers–only three percent of the legislature. This comes at a time when Mitt Romney has come under considerable fire for releasing only one year of his tax records; presidential candidates have traditionally provided a more comprehensive picture. (Politico)
  • Opinion: Secrecy in politics hurts small businesses: A leader of the Main Street Alliance small business network has argued that opposition to disclosure legislation in the name of protection small businesses is essentially a form of “identity theft” by the special interest groups who truly benefit from secrecy. (The Hill)
  • Is getting information through FOIA worth the wait?: A journalist-filed lawsuit against numerous government agencies to obtain legally required estimations of FOIA request completion has finally been resolved–seven months later. However, the information requested will take at least another four months to reach the journalist. (Truthout)

Campaign Finance

  • McConnell asks why coordination between candidates and party committees is outlawed: After $85,000 is spent on a candidate’s election campaign by a party committee (such as the National Republican Congressional Committee), all additional funds must be spent through an independent expenditure wing of the group, which isn’t allowed to communicate with the candidate. Mitch McConnell (along with other legislators from both parties) finds this practice “absurd” and dangerous. (National Journal)
  • Opinion: Fix out campaign finance laws–and fast: A writer for the National Journal agrees with McConnell and Van Hollen in arguing against the inanity of the illusion of non-collusion between a congressional candidate and the Congress-run campaign committees, arguing that the unnecessary secrecy ignores the real problem: “independent” outside groups not run by government legislators. (National Journal)


  • Congress passes bill asking how President will deal with sequestration: The bipartisan Sequestration Transparency Act (which passed with only two opposing votes) orders the president to provide a report of how he will deal with the cuts that will come with sequestration, which will come to around $1.2 trillion over ten years. (Federal Computer Week)
  • Declassification backlog too daunting to finish by date ordered by President: A presidentially mandated order to eliminate 25 years’ worth of report declassification will, barring a miracle, not be completed. The author believes that this is due in large part to the inefficiency of the current declassification process. (FAS Project on Government Secrecy)


Note: THOMAS is running slowly today, so the bills are linked to their respective page on Scout, a tool created by Sunlight.

  • S.3389: Protecting American Trade Secrets and Innovation Act of 2012. Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
  • S.3392: A bill to amend the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, to require the disclosure of the total number of the domestic and foreign employers of issuers. Referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
  • S.3394: A bill to address fee disclosure requirements under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, to amend the Federal Deposit Insurance Act with respect to information provided to the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, and for other purposes. Referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.


  • None.


  • None.

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