How can the 114th Congress build a more transparent government?
Despite constant reports of gridlock and polarization one issue has brought Republicans and Democrats together in recent years — government transparency. In the 113th Congress alone they fought to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act, changed the way the Federal government tracks and shares spending data, and adopted new protections for whistleblowers.
These improvements have been rightly celebrated, but there is more work to be done. As the 113th Congress comes to a close, it is time to identify priorities and possibilities for next year and beyond. The task of opening up the government should continue to bring the parties together in the 114th Congress.
The Advisory Committee on Transparency and the Sunlight Foundation are excited to provide a forum for a panel of experts and advocates from across the political spectrum to discuss their ideas for reforms and strategies for success. Join us on Thursday, December 11th from 12:30 to 1:30 pm in room 342 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.
- Dan Epstein, Executive Director, Cause of Action
- Sean Moulton, Director of Open Government Policy, Center for Effective Government
- Shanna Devine, Legislative Director, Government Accountability Project
- Rick Blum, Coordinator, Sunshine in Government Initiative
- Matt Rumsey, Policy Associate, The Sunlight Foundation
Bringing Law into the Light: Public access to law in a rapidly changing world
Public access to law is a principle that has thrived for centuries. Without it, citizens would be powerless to navigate everyday interactions with their governments. Unfortunately, the scope of “law” has expanded rapidly and public access is struggling to keep up.
Laws passed by Congress and State legislatures are not the only documents that have the power of law. Technical standards, secret court opinions, municipal regulations, international trade documents, and more impact every American. Yet, they are often nearly impossible, if not illegal, for the public to access.
The Advisory Committee on Transparency is excited to host a conversation exploring these “secret laws” and discussing ways to boost the public’s ability to access and understand them.
V. David Zvenyach, General Counsel, Council of the District of Columbia Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel and Policy Adviser, American Civil Liberties Union Patrice McDermott, Executive Director, OpenTheGovernment.org Daniel Schuman, Policy Director, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington Moderator: Matt Rumsey, the Sunlight Foundation
The Future of FOIA
To celebrate Sunshine Week and recent House passage of the FOIA Act, the Sunlight Foundation and the Advisory Committee on Transparency are hosting an event on the Future of FOIA. The panel discussion will assess efforts and ideas to bring the Freedom of Information Act into the future, ensuring that it continues to be an effective tool to shed light on the inner workings of government far into the 21st century.
The event will be held on Wednesday, March 19 from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. in room 2203 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The panel of experts will include:
- Amy Bennett: Assistant Director, OpenTheGovernment.org
- Ali Ahmad: Majority Staff, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
- Corinna Zarek: Policy Adviser for Open Government, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
- Ginger McCall, Moderator: Associate Director, Electronic Privacy Information Center
You can RSVP here. We hope that you can join us!