2Day in #OpenGov 8/1/2013


by Justin Lin, policy intern


  • A bill by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Tom Udall (D-NM) would create an office that would argue in favor of privacy rights in the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) courts. This follows a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with several officials from the Obama administration and former judges. In addition, the three senators will be introducing another bill to change the way FISA judges are appointed. (The Hill)
  • Gun control groups and gun rights groups have been raising a lot of money in the first half of the year. Gun control groups started by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords have raised over $8.6 million in the first half of 2013. However, gun rights groups have raised quite a lot as well, with the NRA raking in $7.1 million in the first half of the year, up from $4.8 million at this point last year. (Public Integrity)
  • Republican Senators Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee gave speeches to a group of 300 college students, which was received with great fervor. The three gave speeches that attacked certain members of the Republican establishment or of the establishment as a whole, with many students calling on Paul to run for president as he gave his closing remarks. (Politico)
  • Usually August is quieter for Congress and both political parties, but Democrats are using August to target many Republicans at their events. Hold them Accountable, a progressive organization, has encouraged their members to show up at local events to talk to these Republicans. Another group, Organizing for Action, was personally encouraged by Obama to be active during the August recess. (Washington Times)
  • The deal between Republicans and Democrats regarding the confirmation process nearly fell apart when Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AL) initially voted no to end the filibuster of Obama’s nomination of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. However, Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Susan Collins (R- Maine) were able to convince Murkowski to change her vote to end debate. (New York Times)