Here is Tuesday’s look at transparency-related news items, congressional committee hearings, transparency-related bills introduced in Congress, and transparency-related events.
- New data compiled by the Sunshine in Government Initiative shows that federal agencies have used FOIA exemption b(3) to apply over 240 other laws to justify withholding information during the last decade. Pro Publica
- While federal agencies received more FOIA requests in 2010 than in 2009, they are responding to fewer of these requests, and it is taking them longer to respond. Center for Public Integrity
- According to the Executive Director of the National Freedom of Information Coalition, agencies prefer to err on the side of nondisclosure because the penalties for releasing private information are much more severe than those for withholding documents. Federal Times
- Both Democrats and Republicans are beginning to voice concerns that the earmark ban could be enforced too broadly due to the lack of a clear definition for what constitutes an earmark. Roll Call $
- While the Obama Administration open government initiatives have increased the number of websites offering public access to government data, much of the data is incorrect. Next Gov
- The House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and Procurement Reform held a hearing Friday to examine the effectiveness of the Obama Administration’s open government initiatives. Project on Government Oversight
- Republicans are attempting to limit the impact of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill through introducing bills that would repeal what Republicans argue are some of the most partisan and restrictive provisions. The Hill
- SEC Rule 206(4)-5 goes into effect today, making it illegal for advisors of hedge funds, private equity funds, and other investments to be compensated for providing investment advisory services to a government entity within two years after a contribution to an official of that government entity is made by the investment adviser, their associates, or their PAC. Lobby Comply Blog
- The Obama Administration took the first step in moving towards its promised government reorganization with a memorandum directing the Office of Management and Budget to develop a plan to reorganize federal trade and export agencies within the next three months. Government Executive
- A new IBM tool, City Forward, allows users to visually compare individual cities according to various performance statistics. Government Technology
- Republicans appear to be disassociating from Rep. David Rivera (R-FL) due to concerns regarding allegations that Rivera misused campaign funds prior to beginning his Congressional career. Politico
- Using a Microsoft Excel reporting tool, GL Wand, Detroit was able to submit its annual financial report ahead of the deadline this year for the first time in over a decade. Government Technology
Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 3/15:
- Judiciary. Hearings to examine the Freedom of Information Act, focusing on ensuring transparency and accountability in the digital age. 10:15am. Dirksen Building 226.
Relevant bills introduced:
- H.R. 1056. A bill to amend title 35, United States Code, with respect to false marking; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
- H.R. 1059. A bill to protect the safety of judges by extending the authority of the Judicial Conference to redact sensitive information contained in their financial disclosure reports, and for other purposes; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
- H.R. 1061. A bill to require Federal agencies to show receipts and expenditures every two weeks on agency websites; to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
- H.R. 1062. A bill to amend the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to repeal certain additional disclosure requirements, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Financial Services.
- H.R. 1067. A bill to rescind earmarks for certain surface transportation projects, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
Transparency events scheduled for 3/15: