Keep reading for today’s look at #OpenGov news, events, and analysis including cases of whistleblower retaliation at the VA, an open access version of the D.C. Code, and continuing Afghan elections coverage.
- A new study of hospitals using electronic and paper billing systems reveals no differences in billing practices between the two systems for inpatient stays. The study was prompted by Center for Public Integrity and New York Times reports in 2012 that revealed evidence of Medicare overbilling for emergency room care, which was not analyzed by the new study. (NPR)
- The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing yesterday evening focused on retaliation against whistleblowers in the VA. The Office of Special Counsel is currently investigating 67 separate claims of whistleblower retaliation at the VA, and lawmakers Tuesday promised new legislation to offer whistleblowers more protection. (Washington Post)
- The Pentagon’s F-35 program, which Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) has called the worst example of the “military-industrial-congressional complex,” announced on Thursday that the entire fleet was being grounded following a runway fire at Eglin Air Force base in Florida. Despite safety concerns and cost overruns, the $400 billion program has the support of many legislators. (Foreign Policy)
- Internal investigations reveal that the U.S. government may have made almost $100 billion in improper payments last year, down from a total of $121 billion in 2010. (Washington Times)
- A recent presentation by the Government Accountability Office revealed that expansions to the United States embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, are running two years behind schedule and about $150 million over budget. (Roll Call)
- Vote counts from Afghanistan’s presidential election are still ongoing, and while Ashraf Ghani currently leads by over a million votes, rival Abdullah Abdullah has also claimed victory. The elections have been plagued on both sides by allegations of fraud, and Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with Afghan officials on Friday (NY Times)
State and Local News
- A new study released by the New York Public Interest Research Group has revealed that casinos and other gambling groups have contributed over $11 million in the past two years to government officials, including Governor Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. (NY Daily News)
- D.C. Council General Counsel V. David Zvenyach has been working to make D.C. Code more accessible and useful. Liberating texts from Westlaw or LexisNexis not only provides D.C. residents with an invaluable resource for civic engagement but also serves as a model for implementing open laws initiatives in other states and cities. (GovExec)
- Riverside, CA, launched Engage Riverside, an open data and transparency portal that collates datasets from various municipal sources. Chief Innovation Officer Lea Deesing also announced her intention to release more GIS and procurement data to the public. (Government Technology)
- Outside, In: Big Data and the Policy Behind Big Ideas. Politico. Wed., 7/9. 12:00 pm. The W Hotel, 515 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C.
- Examining Solutions to Close the $106 Billion Improper Payments Gap. Government Operations Subcommittee, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Wed., 7/9. 1:30 pm. 2154 Rayburn House Office Building, 45 Independence Ave SW, Washington, D.C.
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