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Tag Archive: ACMRA

Continued cuts to legislative branch budget hurt transparency, accountability, and capacity.

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photo by Flickr user Tax CreditsThis morning, the House Appropriations Committee's Legislative Branch Subcommittee marked up its FY 2014 funding bill, agreeing to a plan that would cut funding for Congress and legislative support agencies well below FY 2013 levels, and even beneath sequestration levels for most offices. Committee leadership claimed that cuts were necessary to "lead by example" and help get the government's "fiscal house in order," but, in reality, the cuts will likely limit accountability, access to information, and the ability of Congress and the legislative support agencies to do their jobs efficiently and effectively. The shrinking budgets could also make it more difficult for Congress to implement a number of important transparency initiatives. Specifically, the plan would continue several years of cuts to House operations and the Government Accountability Office that have diminished the capacity of both bodies.

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Oversight Committee Endorses Public Access to Agency Reports to Congress

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Legislation that would require virtually all agency reports to Congress be available online in one central location advanced out of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee yesterday on a voice vote. The Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act, originally sponsored by Rep. Mike Quigley and enjoying the bipartisan support of Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and ranking member Elijah Cummings, will need the sign-off of the Committee on House Administration before it can get a vote on the House floor. In March, 26 organizations wrote to the Oversight Committee to express their support for ACMRA.

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A Sunshine Week Call for Greater Transparency

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As part of Sunshine week, I had the opportunity to testify at a  House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing to share a few of Sunlight's ideas about making the executive branch more transparent. Video and text of my opening statement are below. It almost goes without saying that we're very interested in the transparency bills the Oversight Committee will be marking up this Wednesday.  

Text of Opening Statement

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2Day in #OpenGov 7/26/2011

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Policy intern Eric Dunn contributed to this roundup. Here are Tuesday’s transparency-related news items, congressional committee hearings, transparency-related bills introduced in Congress, and transparency-related events. News Roundup: Government

  • The current debt ceiling talks have been secretive and un-transparent, despite modern political rhetoric favoring open government. (Politico)
  • The Congressional Management Foundation reported that Congress has adapted new social media tools faster than it has picked up on technology in the past; Facebook is more popular than Twitter among Hill offices. (The Washington Post)(The National Journal)
  • Opinion: The U.S. Department of Transportation lags far behind other agencies in social media utilization. (Gov Fresh)
Lobbying
  • Lobbyists are hard at work trying to convince legislators to come to a debt-ceiling agreement, but are having little success. (Washington Times)
  • Opinion: Lobbyists should support the Lobbyist Disclosure and Enhancement Act. (Sunlight Blog) (Sunlight Foundation consultant Lisa Rosenberg wrote this in response to a piece by Howard Marlowe, president of the American League of Lobbyists.)
Ethics
  • Roll Call responded to an inquiry regarding whether or not ethics training is required for lobbyists. (Roll Call)
  • Rep. David Wu declared that he did “nothing illegal” in his sexual encounter with a teenage family friend last Thanksgiving. (Politico)
Campaign Finance
  • A Congressional Quarterly study revealed that House lawmakers have made their spouses among the high-paying employees of their election campaigns. (Roll Call)
Technology
  • The Joint Committee on Printing redirected its website to the House Administration Committee following a Sunlight report that criticized the website. (Roll Call)
  • The director of the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team resigned after recent breaches in cybersecurity on government networks. (Tech Daily Dose)
State and Local
  • Alex Tourk, a former lobbyist who ran into trouble with the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, has signed on to Bevan Duff’s campaign for mayor. (Huffington Post)
  • Over a hundred people participated in a training session in Topeka, KS that focused on explaining the state’s transparency related laws. (The Topeka Capital-Journal)
  • State disclosure laws are finding it hard to keep up with the money being spent by lobbyists to influence health care legislation in Vermont. (Forbes)
  • Opinion: A local group advocated for public officials in Florida to sign an open government pledge. (TC Palm)
International
  • A watchdog group determined that an agency in Ottawa, Canada gave preferential treatment to certain employees for a public advisory committee. (CTV News)
  • Hopes are high that a new member of the Public Health Foundation of India, Narayana Murthy, will bring greater transparency to the publicly funded organization. (MoneyLife)
  • A look at the progress the UK has made since Prime Minister David Cameron unveiled a pledge to make government data more transparent. (Tails Consulting)

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