Today in #OpenGov 7/29/14


Keep reading for today’s look at #OpenGov news, events, and analysis, including an announcement of Mayday PAC’s targeted races, judicial appointment reform in India, and (potential) new municipal broadband policy at the FCC.

A newspaper with the headline Open Gov

National News

  • An examination of recently released lobbying and campaign finance records revealed that representatives of Alberta’s government made large donations to five U.S. senators within months of extensive lobbying in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring oil from Alberta’s tar sands to the United States. (Toronto Star)
  • Mayday PAC, headed by Harvard professor Larry Lessig (a member of Sunlight’s Advisory Board) and Bush administration adviser Mark McKinnon, a political action committee formed to get money out of politics, has announced the first two of its five targets for the 2014 election cycle. Mayday will spend $4 million of its $12 million war chest on the New Hampshire Republican senatorial primary and the race in Iowa’s 3rd congressional district. (New York Times)
  • Anne Rung, President Obama’s nominee to head the Office of Federal Procurement Policy in the Office of Management and Budget, faced pointed questions from the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) pressed Rung to commit to better communication with the committee—by White House policy, OFPP career employees do not testify before the committee. (Federal News Register)
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) have negotiated a $17 billion agreement to overhaul the sprawling and tragically ineffectual Department of Veterans’ Affairs. (New York Times)

International News

  • While fighting in Libya has raised questions about the ability of the new government to preserve law and order, questions of bribery and corruption in the ousted Gaddafi regime still remain that implicate major foreign companies in the United States, UK, Canada, and Norway. (Transparency International)
  • Tunisia has been an unexpected leader in internet rights in northern Africa. A new law on cybercrime has drawn protests from civil society actors, who expressed concerns that the new law would do away with user privacy and free speech protections. (Global Voices)
  • India is considering an overhaul of its system of judicial appointments. A recent exposé by retired Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju alleged collaboration between senior members of the judiciary in the appointment of a corrupt judge to the High Court of Madras. (The Hindu)

State and Local News

  • The FCC has begun taking comments on policy that would allow local/municipal governments to preempt state laws that prohibit cities from providing municipal broadband that competes with private Internet service providers. Restrictions on municipal broadband have already been passed in twenty states. The initial comment period lasts until August 29. (Ars Technica)
  • This year’s Senate Republican primary in Mississippi wasn’t run entirely by super PACs, but that future might not be too far off – 83% of defeated Senate hopeful Chris McDaniel’s campaign funds came from PACs outside of the state, and the percentage of funds coming from outside donors is on the rise around the country. (Washington Post)
  • A new law signed by New Hampshire governor Maggie Hassan requires nonprofits that spend more than $5000 a year engaging in political activities to register with the Secretary of State and report their expenditures. (New Hampshire Public Radio)

Events Today

Events Tomorrow

Do you want to track transparency news? You can follow the progress of relevant bills, court cases, and regulations using Scout. You can also get Today in #OpenGov sent directly to your preferred news reader. If you would like suggest an event, please email by 7 am on the Monday prior to the event.