Here is Friday’s look at transparency-related news items, congressional committee hearings, transparency-related bills introduced in Congress, and transparency-related events.
- The 13 new Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee, the “Lucky 13″ as they call themselves, are soliciting fundraising help from major lobbyists and defense contractors. (Project on Government Oversight)
- The Obama administration announced that it was vacating a proposal aimed at increasing contract transparency that would have amended the Federal Acquisition Regulation to enable the online posting of contracts and other orders. (Government Executive)
- Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) re-introduced the Non-Federal Employee Whistleblower Protection Act of 2011, a bill to increase whistleblower protections for federal contractor employees. (Project on Government Oversight)
- Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) announced that he will be retiring at the end of this Congress. (Washington Times) Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and John Cornyn (R-TX) are vying to succeed him as GOP Whip. (Roll Call $) For his Senate seat, if Rep. Giffords (D-AZ) decides to run and her health permits, she would be hard to beat. (Washington Times)
- The White House blocked a potential appointee to lead the National Flood Insurance Program due to President Obama’s executive order mandating that all appointees sign an ethics pledge which, among other provisions, prohibits any communication with former clients except in general public meetings. (The Hill)
- Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington submitted a letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics alleging that lawmakers who habitually sleep in their Congressional offices are violating House rules and tax laws. (Roll Call $)
- The Treasury Department submitted the Obama administration’s initial recommendations for reforming the housing market, including limiting the government’s future role and eliminating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac entirely. (Politico)(The Hill)
- Lawyers on behalf of Michael Scanlon, one-time business partner of lobbyist Jack Abramoff, argued that he should not be sent to prison for his part in the lobbying scandal. (Politico) Fraser Verrusio, former aide to Rep. Don Young (R-AK), was also just convicted of playing a part in the scandal. (News Times)
- Since the mid-point of his term, President Obama has been steadily improving his compliance with the Sunlight Before Signing pledge. (CATO)
- Ranking member on the Legislative Branch Subcommittee, Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), is pushing back against spending cuts for important projects. (Roll Call $)
- Oklahoma joined those states who offer their constituents open data portals this week with the launch of data.ok.gov. (Tech President)
- Stan Collender, a federal budget expert at Qorvis Communications, said he thinks there is an over 50 percent chance that there will be a government shutdown, if only because Republicans want to prove to the Tea Party that they are willing to do it. (Federal Times)
Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 2/11:
Relevant bills introduced:
- H.R. 606. A bill to establish a Commission to provide for the abolishment of Federal programs for which a public need does not exist, to periodically review the efficiency and public need for Federal programs, and for other purposes
- H.R. 611. A bill to foster transparency about the commercial use of personal information, provide consumers with meaningful choice about the collection, use, and disclosure of such information, and for other purposes
- H.R. 633. A bill to rescind unused earmarks; to the Committee on Appropriations, and in addition to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, 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. 638. A bill to impose a moratorium on the use of appropriated funds for official travel outside of the United States by Members, officers, and employees of the House of Representatives until the Comptroller General issues a report on the costs of such travel and makes recommendations regarding appropriate restrictions and reporting requirements on such travel; to the Committee on House Administration.
- H. Res. 82. A resolution amending the Rules of the House of Representatives to establish the Committee on the Elimination of Nonessential Federal Programs; to the Committee on Rules.
Transparency events scheduled for 2/11:
- Tech@State. Office of eDiplomacy, U.S. State Department. 8:00am. 320 21st St., NW, Virginia Avenue and 21st St., NW entrance.