Here is Thursday’s look at transparency-related news items, congressional committee hearings, transparency-related bills introduced in Congress, and transparency-related events.
- The House is planning to vote on a bill that would cut funding for National Public Radio today, seemingly violating Speaker Boehner’s pledge to make all bills available online for 72 hours before voting. Sunlight Foundation
- Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, accused the Department of Homeland Security of inappropriately demoting a senior employee who privately complained to the inspector general that political appointees were inappropriately interfering with FOIA requests. Associated Press
- The numerous regulations involved in implementing health care and Wall Street reform has opened the door to a flurry of lobbying activity. Politico
- Over 150 fundraising parties are scheduled this week for members on both sides of the aisle. Washington Times
- Georgia passed a new bill this week redefining the term “lobbyist” to include a threshold where someone is not considered a lobbyist until ten percent of his or her working hours are spent on lobbying activities. Lobby Comply Blog
- The Department of Justice released FOIA.gov in conjunction with Sunshine Week to provide detailed information about agencies’ FOIA activities. The Interior Department’s Inspector General has one of the worst backlogs of the department. Project on Government Oversight
- Some lawmakers continue to solicit earmark requests from constituents, saying they will seek other ways of obtaining funding for pet projects. The Hill
- The Department of Defense has been hiring contractors to perform oversight functions on other contractors. Truthout
- Rep. Issa has also subpoenaed a former senior SEC official who investigated the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme but who had a conflict of interest due to having an account with Madoff. Politico
- According to a recent assessment by U.S. PIRG that graded states on their spending transparency, nine states got an A or a B, 31 received a C, and ten received an F. Government Technology
Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 3/17:
- Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. 10:00am. An oversight hearing to examine the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), focusing on evaluating returns on taxpayer investment. Senate Dirksen Building 538.
- Oversight and Government Reform. 9:30am. On oversight of the Freedom of Information Act. Rayburn House Office Building 2154.
Relevant bills introduced:
- S. 602. A bill to require regulatory reform; to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
- H.R. 1111. A bill to rescind $45 billion of unobligated discretionary appropriations, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Appropriations.
- H.R. 1121. A bill to replace the Director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection with a five person Commission; to the Committee on Financial Services.
Transparency events scheduled for 3/17: