Video: Transparency Lightning Talks

The Advisory Committee on Transparency hosted its final event of 2021 on November 8, 2021, titled Transparency Lightning Talks. Instead of the traditional panel discussion, the event brought together transparency experts from across the political spectrum to give presentations on improving government transparency and accountability. 

Watch the full discussion below.

Panelists included:

Walter Shaub, Senior Ethics Fellow, POGO: The need to create a government ethics records database.

Erica Newland, Counsel, Protect Democracy: Congressional oversight and congressional lawyering as transparency issues.

Freddy Martinez, Policy Analyst, Open The Government: FOIA and reform efforts.

Anna Massoglia, Investigative Researcher, Open Secrets: Transparency around foreign money in U.S. elections.

Reynold Schweickhardt, Senior Advisor, Lincoln Network: Accelerating innovation in the Legislative branch. 

Corinna Turbes, Policy Director, Data Coalition: Spending transparency initiatives included in the passage of the DATA Act/GREAT Act, and the Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act.

Tom Susman, Strategic Advisor, American Bar Association: Increasing access to Legislative Branch information.

Ryan Mulvey, Policy Counsel, Americans for Prosperity Foundation: FOIA case law developments in SCOTUS and circuit.

The discussion was moderated by Ginger Quintero-McCall, Legal Director for Demand Progress.

Save The Date: Transparency Caucus Event on Pandemic Response Accountability Committee Transparency

The Congressional Transparency Caucus is hosting an event on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 at 10:00 AM ET over Zoom.

RSVP here.

Representatives Mike Quigley and Tim Walberg are hosting a conversation to learn about the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) and its crucial role in overseeing over $5 trillion in pandemic relief legislation.

Panelists include:

Michael Horowitz, PRAC Chairman and Department of Justice Inspector General 

Liz Hempowicz, Director of Public Policy at the Project on Government Oversight

Joseph Ferguson, Chicago Inspector General

Caryl N. Brzymialkiewicz, Ph.D., Deputy Inspector General at the U.S. Department of the Interior

These leaders will discuss the importance of transparency and oversight of the trillions of dollars the federal government has spent fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and supporting Americans during this crisis and how PRAC can help the administration, state and local government, and Congress to ensure effective use of these funds and fight fraud, waste, and abuse.

Save The Date: Transparency Lightning Talks

The Advisory Committee on Transparency is hosting its fourth webinar on Monday, November 8th, at 11:00 am ET via Zoom.

RSVP here.

Instead of the traditional panel discussion about a certain topic or issue, this event aims to bring together transparency experts from across the political spectrum to present various issues of high importance. Each presenter will get five minutes to discuss their topic in a PowerPoint format — with each slide taking 30 seconds or less.

Presenters include:

  • Walter Shaub, Senior Ethics Fellow, Project On Government Oversight
    • Topic: The need to create a government ethics records database.
  • Erica Newland, Counsel, Protect Democracy
    • Topic: Congressional oversight and congressional lawyering as transparency issues.
  • Tom Susman, DC Open Government Coalition
    • Topic: Increasing access to Legislative Branch information.
  • Corinna Turbes, Policy Director, Data Coalition
    • Topic: Spending transparency initiatives included in the passage of the DATA Act/GREAT Act, and the CBJT Act.
  • Ryan Mulvey, Policy Counsel, Americans For Prosperity Foundation
    • Topic: FOIA caselaw developments in SCOTUS and circuits
  • Anna Massoglia, Investigative Researcher, OpenSecrets
    • Topic: Transparency around foreign money in U.S. elections.
  • Freddy Martinez, Policy Analyst, Open The Government
    • Topic: FOIA and reform efforts.
  • Reynold Schweickhardt, Senior Advisor, Lincoln Network
    • Topic: TBD
  • Moderator: Ginger McCall, Legal Director, Demand Progress

About the Advisory Committee on Transparency: Democracy is dependent upon a transparent, accountable, and effective government. The Advisory Committee on Transparency is a decade-old effort to educate policymakers on transparency-related issues, problems, and solutions and shares ideas with members of the Congressional Transparency Caucus. It hosts events to discuss important and wide-ranging transparency policy issues with experts from a variety of backgrounds and develops educational publications and provides timely information to the public and members of Congress.

More information: Visit the Advisory Committee on Transparency at https://transparencycaucus.info/about

Video: Keeping the Free Press Free

The Advisory Committee on Transparency partnered with The Fourth Amendment Advisory Committee to host its second event of the 117th Congress on Wednesday, July 21, at 12 p.m. via Zoom. The panel discussion focused on the status of the free press in the U.S., concentrating on surveillance of journalists and their sources.

Panelists included Jennifer Henrichsen of Yale Law School’s Information Society Project, Kathy Kiely of Missouri University, Melissa Wasser of The Project on Government Oversight, and Michael De Dora of the Committee to Protect Journalists. The discussion was moderated by Sean Vitka, Senior Policy Counsel for Demand Progress.

Watch the full discussion below.

Save the Date: Keeping the Free Press Free

The Advisory Committee on Transparency and the Fourth Amendment Advisory Committee is hosting a conversation on the status of the free press in the U.S. focused on surveillance of journalists and their sources.

The event will be on Wednesday, July 21st, at 12:00 pm ET via Zoom.

Panelists include:

  • Jennifer Henrichsen, Yale Law School Information Society Project Fellow
  • Kathy Kiely, Lee Hills Chair in Free-Press Studies at Missouri University
  • Michael De Dora, Washington Advocacy Manager for the Committee to Protect Journalists
  • Melissa Wasser, Policy Counsel for The Project on Government Oversight
  • Sean Vitka, Senior Policy Counsel for Demand Progress (Moderator)

RSVP to the free webinar here.

Stay up to date with the First Branch Forecast and the Secure Liberties Newsletter 

The public recently learned that the Trump administration seized email and phone records from CNN, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, sparking fears for the free press and journalists’ sources. Eric Lichtblau, a target himself, wrote thoughtfully on the issues at hand in The Intercept. The DOJ obtained his and three other NY Times reporters’ information in 2020 as part of an undisclosed leak investigation into their sources. The DOJ also sought their email records — a fight the Biden administration continued to wage. Far from a partisan issue, the Obama administration was frequently decried for conducting a “war on journalism.” Join us for a discussion with experts about the significance of the issues, context, and choices ahead.

About the Advisory Committee on Transparency: Democracy is dependent upon a transparent, accountable, and effective government. The Advisory Committee on Transparency is a decade-old effort to educate policymakers on transparency-related issues, problems, and solutions and shares ideas with members of the Congressional Transparency Caucus. It hosts events to discuss important and wide-ranging transparency policy issues with experts from a variety of backgrounds and develops educational publications and provides timely information to the public and members of Congress.

About the Fourth Amendment Advisory Committee: The Fourth Amendment Advisory Committee is dedicated to supporting civil liberty and the work of the Congressional Fourth Amendment Caucus — helping advise key decision-makers on issues related to the Fourth Amendment, especially in areas where law and technology intersect.

More information: Visit the Advisory Committee on Transparency at https://transparencycaucus.info/about and the Fourth Amendment Advisory Committee at https://fourthadvisory.org/about

Video: Transparency in the 117th Congress – What’s On Congress’s Agenda

The Advisory Committee on Transparency hosted its first event of the 117th Congress on Tuesday, May 4th, at 3 p.m. via Zoom. The event previewed what is on the 117th Congress’s transparency agenda. Panelists included Demand Progress’s Daniel Schuman, The Project On Government Oversight’s Liz Hempowicz, Open the Government’s Freddy Martinez, and moderator Courtney Buble from GovExec. Opening remarks were made by Demand Progress’s Ginger McCall.

Watch the event below.

Save the Date: Transparency in the 117th Congress – What’s On Congress’s Agenda

The Advisory Committee on Transparency will host a webinar on Tuesday, May 4th, at 3 p.m. via Zoom.

The webinar will provide an overview of transparency in the federal government, with a focus on where Congress likely will concentrate its attention and the status of past legislative efforts.

Panelists include:

  • Daniel Schuman, policy director for Demand Progress
  • Liz Hempowicz, director of public policy for the Project on Government Oversight
  • Freddy Martinez, policy analyst for Open the Government
  • Courtney Buble, moderator, a staff correspondent who covers federal management for Government Executive.

RSVP to the free webinar here.

About The Advisory Committee on Transparency: Democracy is dependent upon a transparent, accountable, and effective government. The Advisory Committee is a decade-old effort to educate policymakers on transparency-related issues, problems, and solutions and shares ideas with members of the Congressional Transparency Caucus. It hosts events to discuss important and wide-ranging transparency policy issues with experts from a variety of backgrounds and develops educational publications and provides timely information to the public and members of Congress.

Come to the U.S. Capitol for an Open Government “State of the Union” honoring Sunshine Week 2020

You are cordially invited to attend an Open Government State of the Union in honor of Sunshine Week, the nation-wide celebration of access to public information that takes place every year around President James Madison’s birthday, who famously wrote that “a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

Please join us in a virtual conference on March 12 at 2 PM for a spirited discussion between experts and advocates about a host of topics, from the Freedom of Information Act to open government data, government modernization, transparency at the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel, whistleblowers, press freedom, and democracy in the United States of America in 2020.

Please RSVP at info@openthegovernment.org

Moderator: Lisa Rosenberg, Executive Director, Open the Government (@lisarosenbrg)

Panelists:

 

 

Transparency Caucus features tools to track legislative information

On June 7, the Transparency Caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives hosted a remarkable forum inside of the United States Capitol that featured ten presentations from government officials and members of civil society on innovative tools and technologies. Following is a run down of who spoke and the services, tools and projects they shared:

I attended the forum, shared insights from the presentations on Twitter, and moderated a short Q&A at the end. The event was supported by the Advisory Committee on Transparency.

At a high level, this Transparency Caucus forum was a reminder of the immense progress over the past decade in using the Internet and associated technologies to improve public access to the raw materials of democracy, engage and inform people about new opportunities to learn about their government and participate in it – and the work that still remains to modernize Congress in the 21st century.

An earlier version of this post appeared at e-pluribusunum.org.