2Day in #OpenGov 3/25/2013

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NEWS ROUNDUP:

  • Influence organizations avoid lobbying disclosure rules by adopting “grass-roots” strategies. For example, while working for the Retail Industry Leaders Association, the DCI group generated more than 30,000 constituent calls and connected small business owners with over 1,600 meetings with members of Congress but never had to disclose their activities. (Roll Call)
  • A billionaire environmentalist is planning to move ahead with an expensive campaign against Massachusetts Senate hopeful Rep. Steven Lynch for his support of the Keystone XL Pipeline. The campaign is coming despite requests from Rep. Ed Markey, Lynch’s primary opponent for the Democratic nomination, to stay out of the race.  (Washington Post)
  • Mitt Romney just can’t seem to shake the fundraising habit. He recently invited top donors and bundlers to a $5,000, four-day “summit” in Park City, Utah this June. (Politico)
  • The Senate Intelligence Committee announced a rare ray of light last week. It will now disclose how Senators vote on bills and nominations in Committee markups. The panel has had a longstanding policy of withholding its vote counts.  (Roll Call)
  • Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) has a novel idea to hold Congress more accountable, and keep them safe at the same time. Last week he introduced a resolution that would create a “virtual Congress”, allowing members of the House to complete their constitutional duties via videoconferencing and other electronic means. (The Hill)
  • The singularity might be far away for most of us, but President Obama keeps moving closer to becoming one with Organizing for Action, the supposedly independent “nonprofit” spin-off of his campaign. His official Twitter account is now under OFA’s control and he’s still going to tweet from it.(Washington Post)
  • Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the anti-gun group chaired by Michael Bloomberg, is planning to spend $12 million targeting Senators who may be wavering on upcoming gun control votes.  (Politico, New York Times)
  • Hallmark Cards is stepping up its lobbyist game to support Saturday mail delivery. They have registered their first in house lobbyist and are shifting their government affairs focus to Washington. (The Hill)

RELEVANT BILLS INTRODUCED:

  • H.Res.137Recognizing the security challenges of convening government officials in one specific place and directing the House of Representatives to take appropriate steps so that the House of Representatives can meet in a virtual setting.
  • H.R. 1326. To amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to provide for increased price transparency of hospital information and to provide for additional research on consumer information on charges and out-of-pocket costs.
  • S. 549The Public Online Information Act of 2013.
  • S. 652. A bill to protect investors by fostering transparency and accountability of attorneys in private securities litigation.

HAPPENING THIS WEEK 3/25-3/29:

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