Today in #OpenGov 8/21/2013



  • Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) is looking to tackle dark money and the recent IRS controversies head on with a lawsuit challenging the IRS’ interpretation of a law governing tax-exemption eligibility for certain social welfare groups. Filed along with campaign finance watchdogs Democracy 21, the Campaign Legal Center, and Public Citizen addresses the way that the IRS determines 501(c)(4) eligibility. (Washington Post)
  • James Bond has a new number to call when he needs some influence on the Hill. The American Silencer Association has hired Shockey Scofield Solutions to lobby on the National Firearms Act. (POLITICO)
  • Congress may consider a bill aimed at making NSA funding slightly more accountable. The NSA Accountability Act, floated by Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), would cut NSA funding if it violates proposed rules to stop the agency from indiscriminately collecting data on Americans. (The Hill)
  • Earlier this year G8 countries committed to tackling the problem of hidden company ownership. Ideally, this could take the form of open data around beneficial ownership structures. (Open Knowledge Blog)
  • The Justice Department is attempting to block the release of email records related to an Iowa Sheriff’s work on a federal board in charge of putting together a high-speed, nationwide broadband network for emergency responders. They argue that Congress exempted the board from the FOIA. The Sheriff, Paul Fitzgerald, has been critical of other members of the board, who he claims are too close to wireless interests.  (Security Law Brief)
  • Opinion: President Obama, after promising to lead the most transparent administration in history, but many federal agencies are failing to follow his calls for a “presumption of openness” and hiding behind FOIA. (Roll Call)

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