Videos on “Kick-starting the 113th Congress”


At last Monday’s Advisory Committee on Transparency event, 16 lightning talks were given on transparency-related topics like FOIA, lobbying reform, and opening up congress. The three-minute presentations distilled some of the best thinking by advocates and activists on what the government could do right now to be more open. We’re pleased to make those videos available to you.


Here’s a list of the talks, broken up by issue area, with links to the videos.

Lobbying Reform

  • Sarah Bryner, of the Center for Responsive Politics, encouraged the release of federal lobbyist unique IDs alongside other lobbying data. (Video)
  • Lisa Rosenberg, a Government Affairs Consultant for the Sunlight Foundation, argued that lobbyist registration rules should be tightened to catch those who avoid the current high reporting thresholds. (Video)
  • Robert Maguire, of the Center for Responsive Politics, argued that the IRS should publish online the tax reports that all nonprofits are required to file and include all organizations in summary data. (Video)

Congressional Operations

The Executive Branch

  • Jeremy Miller, the Policy Director at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, urged expansion of public access to the DOJ’s office of Legal Counsel opinions.  (Video)
  • Jim Harper, of the Cato Institute, argued that the Federal government’s organization chart should be online in a machine-readable format. (Video)
  • Hudson Hollister, the Executive Director of the Data Transparency Coalition, urged facilitation of Federal spending tracking by requiring all federal awards to have a unique government-wide identifier. (Video)

Improving Member Offices

  • Lorelei Kelly, the Smart Congress Pilot Lead at the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute, encouraged members of Congress to partner with local colleges to add “Technology Mashup Fellows” in their district offices. (Video)
  • Josh Tauberer, who runs, argued that members of Congress should hire a “transparency director.” (Video)


  • Rick Blum, the Coordinator of the Sunshine in Government Initiative, argued that any attempt to carve exemptions into FOIA must go through the relevant committees of jurisdiction. (Video)
  • Justin McCarthy, of Judicial Watch, contended that the FOIA’s “deliberative process” and other b(5) privileges should be explicitly defined in law. (Video)
  • Gavin Baker, an Open Government Policy Analyst at the Center for Effective Government, argued that agencies should be required to proactively publish more data online. (Video)

Courts and Access to Law

  • Steve Schultze, the Associate Director at the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University argued that Federal court opinions stored in PACER should be freely available online to all taxpayers. (Video)
  • Harlan Yu, a partner at Robinson + Yu, argued that Federal law should be made more understandable by enacting the U.S. Code into positive law. (Video)