2Day in #OpenGov 10/10/12




  • Outsourcing FOIA: At least 25 federal agencies are outsourcing parts of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process to contractors. These contractors are handling steps ranging from building FOIA software to recommending what information should be withheld and redacted. (Bloomberg)
  • Self-serving legislation: More than 70 members of Congress sponsored or co-sponsored legislation in recent years that could benefit their interests or the interests of family members, the Washington Post found by sifting through financial disclosures. Under current rules, this activity is allowable and legal. (Washington Post)
  • Ethics committee or protection committee? The congressional ethics committees have increasingly taken the role of protecting incumbents, some critics charge. Opinions from ethics committees containing legal advice also tend to support actions members have taken rather than raise questions about the principles involved. (Washington Post)
Campaign Finance
  •  Member PACs heavily deployed this year: More than three-fourths of Congress now has personal Political Action Committees (PACs), also known as leadership PACs. These groups are increasingly testing unlimited money rules, adding to high campaign spending totals this election season. (Roll Call)
  • Wealthy donors spread their money: Those who can afford to give thousands or millions of dollars to political causes are not just picking one issue and stopping there. An analysis shows wealthy donors are funneling their money into a wide variety of races and issues. (Public Integrity)
  •  Cybersecurity awareness sparks debate: October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and in this case awareness has also led to debate. Republicans and Democrats have started sparring over cybersecurity recommendations that are part of an executive order being finalized. (Federal Computer Week)
  • The lowdown on lobbying:  Professor James Thurber, who helped write a report on lobbying reform for the American Bar Association, talked with CBS about the current state of the lobbying world in DC. He estimated $9 billion is spent every year on lobbying and advocacy. (CBS)
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