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Tag Archive: Lobbying reform

Announcing Sunlight’s international lobbying disclosure guidelines

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With more and more civil society organizations in the open government universe recognizing that “thorny issues” -- such as political finance transparency or surveillance -- need to be tackled somewhat more vehemently, we are eager to seize the momentum and start a hopefully constructive dialogue around an embarrassingly under- or unregulated area: lobbying disclosure. A few weeks back, with the support of our friends at the Open Knowledge Foundation, we took the first steps to create a community of interested advocates, activists and academics, and launched a public working group around the world of influence.

Today, we are excited to announce our draft lobbying disclosure guidelines and invite the community to provide input on these recommendations.

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Suggestions for the OGP National Action Plan

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OGP

The Obama Administration is expected to release the second version of its Open Government Partnership National Action Plan this fall.  The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is the primary multi-national initiative for open government, founded in 2011. The original US plan, released on September 20, 2011, covered a lot of ground, but also suffered a lack of detail and ignored several of the most pressing transparency issues. (Both money in politics and national security went uncovered.)

Given the US’s leadership role in the world (and in OGP), and the variety of issues the country faces, we hope the US National Action Plan will demonstrate how an administration can use transparency reform to help address some of the most fundamental challenges it faces.

The following are four Sunlight priorities for the upcoming US National Action Plan, and are priorities that we’ve often repeated to White House officials in our work.

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Why Promontory matters

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Today’s New York Times looks into the case of Promontory Financial Group, a self-described “leading strategy, risk management and regulatory compliance consulting firm focusing primarily on the financial services industry.” What’s notable, according to the Times is that:

Nearly two-thirds of its roughly 170 senior executives worked at agencies that oversee the financial industry. The founder, Eugene A. Ludwig, is a former comptroller of the currency and a law school friend of Bill Clinton; the latest hire, Mary L. Schapiro, ran the Securities and Exchange Commission until late last year.
Building off those connections, the Promontory Financial Group has emerged as a major power broker in Washington, helping Wall Street navigate an onslaught of new rules and regulatory scrutiny. Promontory accompanied Morgan Stanley when the bank urged regulators to rethink limits on risky trading, records show. It also joined Bank of America, Citigroup and other big banks at the Treasury Department to discuss plans for dismantling failing financial firms.

Using Sunlight’s Dodd-Frank meeting logs tracker, the Times found ten instances where firm executives met with regulators to discuss “thorny issues like the so-called Volcker Rule that curbs risky trading.”

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