Save the Date: Congressional Transparency Tools to Track Legislative Information

The Congressional Transparency Caucus announced it will hold a briefing on Friday, June 7th, at 2 p.m., in the Capitol Building, room HC-8 to discuss tools that make legislation information more readily available.

This briefing will include discussion, tech demos, and the opportunity to ask questions from panelists that have created these tools.

These websites make it easier for Congressional staff to track bills, find Inspector General reports, monitor floor activity, compare voting records, watch the courts, understand policy issues, and more.

RSVP here.

The list of confirmed panelists are below. More are expected.

  • Michael Horowitz, Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, Oversight.gov
  • Steve Dwyer, Office of House Majority Leader, Dome Watch
  • Daniel Schuman, Demand Progress, EveryCRSReport
  • Ben Hammer, GovTrack
  • Marci Harris, PopVox
  • Derek Willis, Pro Publica, Represent
  • Steve Schultze, Court Listener, RECAP
  • Andrew Weber, Library of Congress, Congress.gov
  • Sheila Krumholz, Center for Responsive Politics, Open Secrets
  • Veneice Smith, Clerk of the House, Clerk Website Clipping

We will share more information, including the location and additional panelists, when it becomes available.

Save the Date: Congressional Transparency Caucus Briefing on the Foreign Agents Registration Act

The Congressional Transparency Caucus will host a briefing on foreign lobbying on July 25th at 2pm in Rayburn 2456. RSVP here.

Rep. Mike Quigley will be giving opening remarks. Panelists will include:

  • Carrie Levine, Senior Political Reporter, Center for Public Integrity
  • Lydia Dennett, Investigator, Project on Government Oversight (POGO)
  • Daniel Schuman, policy director, Demand Progress Action
  • Tom Susman, Director of Government Affairs, the American Bar Association

Here is the announcement from Rep. Mike Quigley, caucus co-chair, in his “Dear Colleague” letter.


Transparency Caucus Briefing: Shining a Light on Foreign Lobbying

Dear Colleague,

Please join me at the next Transparency Caucus briefing titled “Shining a Light on Foreign Lobbying.”

Revelations of foreign meddling in the 2016 presidential election have renewed interest in the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). The Act, which too many lobbyists take lightly due to historic underenforcement by the Justice Department, played a significant role in the recent indictment of Paul Manafort Jr, who served as Chairman on the Trump Presidential campaign while also working for a Ukrainian political party. Passed in 1938, it requires persons acting as agents of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity to make periodic disclosure of their relationships and financial transactions with foreign principals. FARA, in its current state, however, is susceptible to dangerous loopholes and its lax enforcement undermines other legislation intended to increase transparency in federal lobbying practices, such as the Lobbying Disclosure Act.

Now more than ever, we must be able to identify foreign influence and hold foreign actors seeking to lobby the United States government as accountable as any other lobbyist. In June, the Justice Department released years of advisory opinions which have provided some clarity, but also highlighted the need for reform. In the interest of promulgating transparency and safeguarding our democracy, Congress must take on the task of reforming this vital legislation and ensuring its full enforcement.

Join us as the Transparency Caucus welcomes a panel of expert speakers to discuss the challenges we face in monitoring foreign influence in our country, and work to bring greater transparency to the federal government.

Opening Remarks by:

  • Congressman Mike Quigley

Panelists:

  • Daniel Schuman, Demand Progress
  • Tom Susman, American Bar Association (ABA)
  • Lydia Dennett, Project on Government Oversight (POGO)