Today in #OpenGov 7/28/2014


Keep reading for today’s look at #OpenGov news, events, and analysis, including the Office of Congressional Ethics calling out illegal lobbying for the first time, Guyana’s controversy over presidents-as-lobbyists, and a former Virginia Governor’s upcoming corruption trial.

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National News

  • For the first time, the rather secretive Office of Congressional Ethics has accused an entity of lobbying Congress illegally. The offense? Failure to register under the Lobbying Disclosure Act. (The Hill)
  • The New York Times editorial board wrote in support of Senator Leahy’s Senate version of the USA Freedom Act, calling it “a significant improvement over the halfhearted measure passed by the House in May.” (The New York Times)
  • The Obama Administration  quietly dispatched an additional 62 advisers to Iraq as it tries to chart a policy response to the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has taken over towns in Western and Northern Iraq. (The Hill)
  • Sen. Ron Wyden is weighing the possibility of using a seldom-invoked procedure to declassify an Intelligence Committee report on the use of torture, following a report disclosure lag from the White House. (Roll Call)

International News

  • The Philippines’ Department of Justice lent its support to a bill that would require the disclosure of funding and financing sources for government surveys. “The funding disclosure requirement would give the public a fair and educated judgement as to the veracity and legitimacy of surveys,” the Philippines’ Justice Secretary stated. (Inquirer)
  • The Thai water authority plans to consolidate all location-based data across its departments into a central system within the next five years. This consolidation is planned to dramatically increase the water authority’s efficiency at responding to consumers and handling repairs and system expansions. (FutureGov)
  • Guyana has been rocked by allegations of a former president serving as a lobbyist for foreign investors with contracts in the country. (Stabroek News)

State and Local News

  • In their much-anticipated federal corruption trial set to begin Monday, former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, will seek to win acquittal on multiple charges of corruption and lying on financial documents. (Washington Post)
  • California Governor Jerry Brown will meet with with foreign officials — including the Mexican President — as well as encourage businesses to invest in California and perhaps tour some of the city’s cultural landmarks. But his trip to Mexico is no state visit. Instead, it’s funded by scores of delegates, including business leaders and lobbyists who paid $5,000 each to travel with the governor. (Los Angeles Times)
  • When you’re Nebraska governor, the gifts just keep coming. Gov. Dave Heineman reports he received 255 gifts last year, an average of nearly five gifts a week. The gifts ranged from food, books, and T-shirts to 25 free golf outings with friends, business executives and lobbyists. Most of the gifts fell below the state’s $100 reporting requirement, but four were valued at more than $1,000, including memberships at two exclusive golf clubs. (WOWT)

Events This Week

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