Today in #OpenGov 7/18/2014


Keep reading for today’s look at #OpenGov news, events, and analysis including a host of PAC formations and expansions in the lead-up to the 2014 Midterm Elections, the UK’s apparent struggles with data and water damage, and plenty of state and local news.

A newspaper with the headline Open Gov

National News

  • As technology companies ramp up lobbying and buy up office space near Capitol Hill, their office openings have drawn significant government guests. Most recently, Google’s new DC office opening was attended by California Representative Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, along with Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley and South Carolina Representative Mark Sanford. (Financial Post)
  • Chris Jankowski, the former head of the Republican State Leadership Committee, is creating a new super PAC that will will support economic and fiscally conservative candidates on the state level. Called the State Conservative Reform Action PAC, or “SCRAP,” the group will focus this year on state legislative races in tight elections in states like West Virginia, Minnesota, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico. (Politico)
  • The auditing firm Ernst & Young agreed to pay $4.1 million to settle accusations by the Securities and Exchange Commission that it violated independence rules by lobbying on behalf of two of its audit clients. (New York Times)

International News

  • As the IRS faces criticism for weak the data retention practices surrounding Lois Lerner’s emails, UK struggles with keeping records intact and accessible have also surfaced. The UK Foreign Office was asked to produce documents detailing the use of its Diego Garcia base for CIA extraordinary rendition flights, but relevant years of information were “incomplete due to water damage.” (TechDirt)
  • The Asian Development Bank announced that it would provide technical and financial assistance to the continent’s countries as they develop and pursue their Open Government Partnership goals. The OGP is an international platform to make government more open, accountable and responsive to citizens. (FutureGov)

State and Local News

  • Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers-backed PAC that pushes for conservative policymaking–spending over $44 million on television ads–announced that it would open new chapters in South Dakota and Alaska in the coming weeks. These office openings will bring to 35 the number of states with permanent Americans for Prosperity presences. (Washington Post)
  • In a race for Independent Democratic Conference Leader in the New York State Senate, transparency and disclosure has emerged as a significant talking point. Jeff Klein, the incumbent leader running for reelection,  knocked his primary challenger Oliver Koppell for failing to file a campaign finance disclosure form with the Board of Elections on time. (NY State of Politics)
  • While Texas Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial hopeful Greg Abbott boasts about his transparency record on the campaign trail, open government advocates find his transparency record to be much more varied, especially in light of recent rulings that kept both the locations of facilities storing dangerous chemicals and details about compounding pharmacies that produce execution drugs out of view. (Texas Tribune)

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