2Day in #OpenGov 10/3/12




  • Failed FOIA leads to lawsuit: The group Cause of Action filed a federal lawsuit after a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request it submitted to the IRS was denied. The group had submitted the FOIA request seeking information about what tax returns President Barack Obama has seen. (Politico)
  • ‘Funny money’ forces resignation: A Veterans Affairs Department official resigned after an investigation found he spent more than $6 million on lavish conferences. One of the expenses? Nearly $50,000 for a parody video of the late Gen. George Patton. (The Hill)
  • Disclosure details become available: Some of the disclosures required under the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act were posted Monday, giving a glimpse into the finances of Congressional members. The implementation of the Act means some disclosures will also have to be made more frequently rather than only annually as they had been before. (Washington Post)
Campaign finance 
  • Battleground states flooded with ads: Conservative groups spent more than liberal organizations on ads in the second half of September, according to a Politico analysis. The top conservative spending group shelled out some $20 million to spread their message on TV and radio. (Politico)
  • Calls for bringing dark money to light: The Roll Call staff recommended several steps Congress can take to bring dark money out from the shadows. Outside political spending has increased dramatically, but Congress could recommend the IRS put new disclosure rules in place, Roll Call staff suggested. (Roll Call)
  • Former Congressman becomes tobacco lobbyist: Former Republican Congressman Steve Buyer, who famously gave a floor speech comparing smokeless tobacco to smoking lettuce, has registered as a lobbyist for tobacco company Reynolds American. (ProPublica)
  • Open Government Partnership shifts focus: Marking its first full year, the Open Government Partnership has already seen a shift in leadership and will soon see a shift from planning to action. The growing organization is active in nearly 60 countries and will start implementing more initiatives. (Fierce Government)
  • OpenCongress goes local: OpenCongress is looking for a developer to take their legislative tracking platform to the local-government level, thanks to a grant from the Knight Foundation. The local platforms will allow users to track legislation, connect with officials and more. (Tech President)
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