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Tag Archive: Hoc

Smart reforms to deter congressional conflicts

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I wish I'd notice this earlier: Taxpayers for Common Sense and the National Law and Policy Center sent a joint letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell calling for better personal financial disclosure.

The whole letter is worth reading -- it serves almost as a primer on recent congressional scandals -- and all the recommendations are excellent, but if I had to pick just one, it would be this one:

2. Better Disclosure of Business Partners and Joint Investors: While current rules call for disclosure of ...

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Thompson’s FARA Filings Are Not Online

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Two of the shortcomings I mentioned about the new database that the Justice Department's Foreign Agent Registration Unit recently put online are that not every form is available (especially the Short Forms that individual foreign agents must file), and that you can't link to search results.

Both would be useful in providing the information that Nicole Belle asks for at the Crooks and Liars site -- what exactly did former Tennessee senator and possible presidential candidate Fred Thompson do when he was a lobbyist for Arent, Fox, Kintner, Plotkin & Kahn in the early 1990s (from Oct. 10, 1991 to ...

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Findings in the FARA Database

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Two quick items I came across while browsing through the FARA database: the first is the articles of incorporation of the Alexander Strategy Group, the lobbying firm run by former Tom DeLay staffer Edward Buckham, which was implicated in the Jack Abramoff scandals. In January 2006, Buckham told the Washington Post that the firm was closing up shop in because "reports in the press have made it difficult to continue as a lobbying/political entity."

The second: An agreement between Levick Strategic Communications and Sheikhs Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum and Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum of Dubai relating to ...

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FARA Puts Some Disclosures Online

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A while back, we reported that the disclosures filed under the Foreign Agent Registration Act were about to go online. Until now, these detailed disclosures--which require those paid to attempt to influence U.S. policies for foreign governments and some government-controlled entities to list their meetings with government officials, including members of Congress and their staff--were publicly available, but just barely. Only those who visited FARA's New York Ave. office here in Washington, D.C., between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday (closed Federal holidays), and looked up the records on balky, user-unfriendly interface, could ...

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USDA Puts Aid Recipients’ Social Security Numbers Online

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For almost a decade, some divisions of the Department of Agriculture published the Social Security numbers of individuals who receive federal aid in a publicly available online database of government grants. The Farm Service Agency and at least one other agency within Agriculture included the nine digit numbers as part of the tracking number assigned to each recipient of government assistance, called a Federal Award ID.

Those tracking numbers were then published in the Federal Assistance Awards Database System (FAADS), an online compendium of all types of financial assistance awards made by federal agencies to all types of recipients," which ...

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“Our Pledge to You, the Constituent…”

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Here's an idea that occurred to me after reading John Stanton's piece today in Roll Call that notes the disclosure requirements for members of Congress who might personally profit from earmarks--part of the reforms adopted by the House and the Senate--don't apply to congressional aides. There's a passage in the article about a few members who have instituted internal ethics rules to deal with relatives of aides who lobby. Are these written rules? Are there other written rules that members have for their offices? And if so, will members make these public?

This is the relevant ...

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