The Open House Project from The Sunlight Foundation

The Day in Transparency 1/25/11

January 25th, 2011 by Melanie Buck · No Comments

Here is Tuesday’s look at transparency-related news items, congressional committee hearings, transparency-related bills introduced in Congress, and transparency-related events

News Roundup:

  • WhiteHouse.gov will be offering visual aids during President Obama’s State of the Union this evening. (Tech President)
  • Democratic Sens. Tom Udall of New Mexico, Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Tom Harkin of Iowa are unsatisfied with the scaled down rules package proposed by Senate leaders. They are instead pushing for the adoption of their proposal by a simple majority of 51 senators rather than the usual 67 required for rules changes, using a legislative tool known as the “constitutional option.” (Politico)
  • The U.S. Office of Special Counsel found that George W. Bush administration officials likely violated the federal Hatch Act during the 2006 election cycle, namely by having on-duty staff members coordinate the official travel of political appointees in the Bush administration to assist in Republican election campaigns. (Roll Call $)(Washington Post)
  • Reps. Darrell Issa and Elijah Cummings are in disagreement about Cummings’ claims that Issa is withholding documents from the minority and issuing subpoenas unilaterally. (Politico)(Government Executive)
  • GOP Freshman Rep. David Rivera (FL) is facing ethical investigations into his finances and campaign records. (Politico)
  • Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has amended 13 years’ worth of disclosure reports to include his wife’s income. He contends that he did not originally include her information based on a misunderstanding of the disclosure directions. (Politico)(New York Times)
  • The Internal Revenue Service has come out with a new free phone application, IRS2Go, which allows taxpayers to track their tax refunds and get tax tips from the IRS. (Washington Times)
  • Alaska has launched AKredistricting.org, joining other states who are trying to use online tools to make their redistricting processes more transparent. (Tech President)
  • THOMAS is an incredibly valuable tool, but there are areas of information that other sites use and enhance. (Library of Congress blog)
  • The economics of E-government may not be as simple as they seem. While online services may save government money and even create new revenue streams, they also may generate new costs. (Government Technology)
  • Carol M. Browner, President Barack Obama’s top energy and environmental adviser, is leaving the White House. (Politico)
  • Republican former Sen. George Allen has officially decided to make a play for his old Virginia seat, potentially running against Democratic Sen. Jim Webb. (Washington times)
  • Whistleblowers and the Obama administration are being credited with helping federal agents recover $2.5 billion from health care fraud judgments. (Federal Times)
  • The Obama administration is strongly opposed to GOP legislation that would end federal funding of presidential campaigns. (The Hill)

Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 1/25:

House
  • Agriculture Full Committee. On organizing the committee for the 112th Congress. 2:00pm. 1300 Longworth House Office Building.
  • Education and the Workforce Full Committee. On organizing the committee for the 112th Congress. 10:30am. 2175 Rayburn House Office Building.
  • Financial Services Full Committee. On organizing the committee for the 112th Congress. 10:30am. 2128 Rayburn House Office Building.
  • Oversight and Government Reform Full Committee. On organizing the committee for the 112th Congress. 9:30am. HVC 210 Capitol.
  • Rules Full Committee. On H.R. 359 – To reduce Federal spending and the deficit by terminating taxpayer financing of presidential election campaigns and party conventions.  10:00am. H-313 Capitol.
Senate
  • None.

Relevant bills introduced:

  • H.R. 402. A bill to facilitate efficient investments and financing of infrastructure projects and new job creation through the establishment of a National Infrastructure Development Bank, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Financial Services, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.
  • H.R. 407. A bill to direct the Secretary of Defense to determine and disclose the costs incurred in taking a Member, officer, or employee of Congress on a trip outside the United States so that such costs may be included in any report the Member, officer, or employee is required to file with respect to the trip under applicable law or rules of the House of Representatives or Senate; to the Committee on Armed Services, and in addition to the Committee on House Administration, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.
  • H.R. 408. A bill to reduce Federal spending by $2.5 trillion through fiscal year 2021; to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and in addition to the Committees on Natural Resources, Transportation and Infrastructure, the Budget, Rules, Appropriations, Agriculture, House Administration, Education and the Workforce, Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, Financial Services, the Judiciary, and Science, Space, and Technology, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.
  • H.J. Res. 22. A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to prohibit the United States from owning stock in corporations; to the Committee on the Judiciary.

Transparency events scheduled for 1/25:

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