Here is Thursday’s look at transparency-related news items, congressional committee hearings, transparency-related bills introduced in Congress, and transparency-related events.
- Some are criticizing the Obama administration for reneging on transparency after HUD told housing advocates that they must sign confidentiality agreements to continue participating in a rental policy working group. (Politico)
- House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) issued his first subpoena of the 112th Congress seeking documents related to Countrywide Financial’s VIP loan program, “Friends of Angelo.” He is pursuing an investigation into whether or not federal officials received special deals on mortgages and rental agreements. (Roll Call $)
- Sherron Watkins, the Enron whistle-blower, does not think the proposed whistle-blower protections mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act will be effective. (CFO)
- A recently released CRS report suggests that Congress does not have to remain a bystander when it comes to opening the federal government. (Tech President)
- White House spokesman Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney, a senior aide, are leaving the White House to form a political consulting firm. (Politico)
- Agencies are planning to use one quarter of their requested $80 billion information technology budget in 2012 to move e-mail and other tools to the cloud. (Federal Times)
- The Government Accountability Office released its biannual High Risk List, detailing 30 federal programs that are in trouble. Lawmakers say this list serves as an oversight guide as they plan hearings and streamline agency programs. (Federal News Radio)
- Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) has a reputation for being the prince of pork, but he is quickly proving that as House Appropriations Chairman he is willing to slash spending. (Roll Call $)
- While criminal penalties for leaking classified information currently only apply to specific categories of classified information, legislation introduced this week by Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) seeks to expand the application of criminal penalties to include all classified information. (Project on Government Secrecy)
- As required by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a national, interactive map identifying which communities do and do not have access to broadband is set to be released by the Commerce Department on February 17th. (National Journal)
- Opinion: Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Rep. Fred Upton say that proposed FCC regulations are a threat to online innovation and need to be included in President Obama’s review of burdensome regulations. (Politico) Despite criticism from House Republicans, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski maintained that the agency chose the right balance. (Washington Times)(Wall Street Journal)
Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 2/17:
Relevant bills introduced:
- S. 347. A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide for reporting and disclosure by State and local public employee retirement pension plans; to the Committee on Finance.
- S. 348. A bill to amend title 28, United States Code, to provide an Inspector General for the judicial branch, and for other purposes; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
- S. 354. A bill to amend the Classified Information Procedures Act to improve the protection of classified information and for other purposes; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
- S. 358. A bill to codify and modify regulatory requirements of Federal agencies; to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
- H.R. 703. A bill to amend section 798 of title 18, United States Code, to provide penalties for disclosure of classified information related to certain intelligence activities of the United States, and for other purposes; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
- H.R. 727. A bill to amend title 28, United States Code, to provide an Inspector General for the judicial branch, and for other purposes; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
Transparency events scheduled for 2/17:
- The Goldilocks Solution: Getting Systemically Important Financial Institution Regulation Just Right. The Brookings Institution. Thurs. 2/17. 10:00-11:30am. Falk Auditorium, The Brookings Institution. 1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW. Washington, DC.