Here is Friday’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:

  • The Senate voted to agree to two changes to the chambers rules that would eliminate secret holds on nominations and waive the reading of amendments that have been publicly available for 72 hours. Three other changes regarding filibusters along with other procedures that have been used to block or slow the legislative process were rejected. (Roll Call $)(New York Times)
  • Officials have proposed creating a wiki called ExpertNet to expand the practice of gathering expert advice (which they have done since 1972 under the Federal Advisory Committee Act). (Federal Computer Week) Departments would set up a public consultation on a given topic and distribute their questions about the topic to professional networks to start the discussion. (Federal Computer Week)
  • The money that used to be allocated as earmarks is now shifting from being spent on hometown projects to being distributed through federal contracts and grants. (Politico)
  • Rep. Issa, Chairman of the House oversight committee, has requested details of every FOIA request for federal records made during the last five years to ensure that agencies have responded in a timely and substantive manner. (New York Times)
  • After three weeks of waiting while the Senate leadership negotiated new committee ratios, committee seats have finally been distributed. (Roll Call $)
  • White House Chief of Staff William Daley announced a number of staff changes, including that Jay Carney will replace Robert Gibbs as press secretary. (Roll Call $)(The Hill) The Fast Fix provides five fast facts about the new press secretary. (The Washington Post)
  • Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is calling on Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA), the new ranking member on the ethics panel, to produce a private Ethics Committee opinion about her decision to share staff with her sister, Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA). (The Hill)
  • Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said his department will issue new ethics rules to shield the department’s scientific work from politics and other outside influences. (Federal Times)
  • The Illinois Supreme Court overturned the appellate court decision and unanimously decided that former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel is eligible to stay on Chicagos mayoral ballot. (Politico)(The Hill)
  • Opinion: Government officials should completely open up the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System to provide the public with contractors past performance evaluations. (Project On Government Oversight)

Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 1/28:

  • None.

Relevant bills introduced:

  • S. 194. A bill to reduce Federal spending and the deficit by terminating taxpayer financing of presidential election campaigns and party conventions; to the Committee on Finance.
  • H.R. 453. 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. 455. A bill to protect 10th Amendment rights by providing special standing for State government officials to challenge proposed regulations, and for other purposes; to the Committee on the Judiciary.H.R. 463. A bill to apply the Freedom of Information Act to the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation during any period that such entities are in conservatorship or receivership; to the Committee on Financial Services.

Transparency events scheduled for 1/28:

  • None.

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