Here is Wednesday’s look at transparency-related news items, congressional committee hearings, transparency-related bills introduced in Congress, and transparency-related events.
- The Nuclear Energy Institute, the nuclear energy industry’s loudest voice in Washington, spent $3.76 lobbying as well as $323,000 through its political action committee on 134 House and 30 Senate candidates during the last election cycle. Politico
- Labor unions across the country are using the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assasination to rally for the right to collectively bargain. The Hill
- Veteran groups are lobbying Congress to prevent military benefits from being cut. The Hill
- David H. Stevens is stepping down from his position as commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration and becoming the next chief executive of the Mortgage Bankers Association. The Wall Street Journal
- Open government advocates and experts are telling Congress that FOIA suffers from a lack of usability due to agency backlogs and lack of compliance. The Associated Press
- President Obama is accepting an award for his commitment to transparency and open government today at the While House in conjunction with Sunshine Week. Politico
- Missouri Republicans have accused Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) of improperly using taxpayer funds to pay for an airplane trip to a political event. Politico
- Chairman of the House Ethics Committee, Rep. Jo Bonner (R-AL), accused his predecessor, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), of violating House rules when she suspended two staff lawyers during an investigation into alleged misconduct by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA). The Washington Post
- Payday lenders more than doubled their expenditures on federal lobbying from 2009 to 2010, advocating against Congressional attempts to limit short-term loan interest rates as well as against increased regulation by the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Center for Public Integrity
- The Government Accountability Office’s recently released report on government waste and agency duplication had 90,277 visits in the first week after its release, over three times the visits of the next best-read item on GAO’s website, demonstrating the level of concern with overspending. Washington Times
- The Navy has ceased work with a Georgia contracting company accused of participating in a kickback scheme abusing Navy funds. Federal Times
- The Electronic Frontier Foundation is using crowdsourcing to determine what exactly is in the thousands of pages they are receiving in response to FOIA requests by seeking volunteers to review the voluminous documents. Boing Boing
- Opinion: Norman Ornstein writes that serious, thoughtful oversight hearings are needed, not extravagant rhetoric from both sides of the aisle. Roll Call $
Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 3/16:
Relevant bills introduced:
- S. 586. A bill to amend the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 to apply whistleblower protections available to certain executive branch employees to legislative branch employees, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
- H.R. 1081. A bill to delay the implementation of proposed or final rules issued under the authority of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act relating to the reasonable and proportional fees and rules for electronic debit transactions, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Financial Services.
- H.R. 1082. A bill to amend the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 to provide a registration exemption for private equity fund advisers, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Financial Services.
- H.R. 1088. A bill to prohibit any increase in the amount established for the Members’ Representational Allowance during a period of high unemployment and public debt; to the Committee on House Administration.
- H.R. 1094. A bill to abolish the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal reserve banks, to repeal the Federal Reserve Act, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Financial Services.
Transparency events scheduled for 3/16:
- Technology, Classification, Declassification, and the Public Interest. Public Interest Declassification Board. 3:00-4:30pm. Newseum. 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. Washington D.C., DC 20001.