The Open House Project from The Sunlight Foundation

The Day in Transparency 2/10/11

February 10th, 2011 by Melanie Buck · No Comments

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

News Roundup:

  • Disclosure reports indicate that for the fourth consecutive six-month period, lobbying firms and their clients have sent fewer funds toward Congressional charities. (Roll Call $)
  • It is not news to lobbyists that the big financial bill passed last year left room for regulators and rulemakers to make a big difference in the bill’s implementation. (NPR)
  • Former lobbyists and consultants from Morlowe & Co., a top appropriations lobby shop, started a free monthly publication listing federal grants and programs available to state and local governments in October 2010 to help officials find funding without K Street’s help. (The Hill)
  • Energy lobbyists are uncertain how freshman Republicans will deal with issues such as offshore drilling and nuclear energy. (Politico)
  • Despite insiders claiming that 75 percent of lawmakers think earmarks are an appropriate use of Congressional authority, most think earmarks had gotten out of control and had to go. (Washington Times)
  • In most major corporate financial scandals, whistleblowers could have prevented disaster, but major corporate companies insist that they can police themselves, making the Dodd-Frank whistleblower law unnecessary. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Seventy-four House Democrats are urging Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from any health care reform cases, citing reports that his wife has financially benefited from efforts to repeal the legislation. (Politico)
  • Lawyers for Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay are asking for a retrial based on misapplication of the state’s election code, juror misconduct, and the possible unconstitutionality of state campaign finance laws. (Politico)
  • The Pennsylvania State House gave final approval to an idea pushed by Gov. Tom Corbett to establish a searchable website containing expenditures of the Legislature, state agencies and the judiciary. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
  • Seattle is celebrating the first anniversay of its open data portal this month, one of the most inclusive data repositories provided by any city thus far. (Tech President)
  • Republican leaders say they are learning from their mistakes as they try to figure out how to maintain party unity while in the majority. (Roll Call $)¬†(The Hill)
  • The Federal Communications Commission has developed a public platform that allows anyone to copy and paste in complicated data and create interactive, easy-to-understand maps. (Tech President)
  • Rep. Chris Lee (R-NY) resigned yesterday after allegations arose that he pursued a date with a woman on Craigslist, despite being married, and sent her a revealing photo of himself.(Roll Call $)(Politico)
  • Brian Wild, one of House Speaker Boehner’s top legislative advisers, is headed to the lobbying firm Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti. (The Hill)
  • Opinion: The Director of Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy’s January memo stating that the Defense Contract Audit Agency will, in several areas, defer to the Defense Contract Management Agency is potentially damaging to taxpayers. (Project on Government Oversight)
  • Opinion: The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) should hold its ground against industry lobbying and develop a robust whistleblower program while rulemaking under the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. (Project on Government Oversight)
  • Opinion: Rep. Elijah Cummings thinks that Rep. Darrell Issa’s efforts to engage business leaders in targeting job killing regulations is on the right track, but falls short of being truly effective. (Politico)
  • Opinion: Yale’s Heather Gerken posits that lobbying could be the new campaign finance. (Election Law Blog)

Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 2/10: House:

  • Oversight and Government Reform: Full Committee. On regulatory impediments to job creation. 2167 Rayburn House Office Building. 9:30am – open.
  • Judiciary: Courts, Commercial, and Administrative Law Subcommittee. On the Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2011. 2141 Rayburn House Office Building. 1:30pm – open.

Senate:

  • None.

Relevant bills introduced:

  • H.R. 590. A bill to prohibit States from carrying out more than one Congressional redistricting after a decennial census and apportionment, to require States to conduct such redistricting through independent commissions, and for other purposes; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
  • H.R. 597. A bill to restore the Federal electoral rights of the residents of the District of Columbia, and for other purposes; to the Committee on House Administration, and in addition to the Committees on Oversight and Government Reform, and the Judiciary, 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.

Transparency events scheduled for 2/10:

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