Policy and News Updates for April 21, 2009


In This Issue: [click on the link to go to the corresponding section]

 

News from Coalition Partners & Others

I. OpenTheGovernment.org Launches BailoutWatch.net

II. OpenTheGovernment.org, Coalition Partners, Respond to NARA: Put Public Access First

III. Sunshine Week 2009 Webcast Available

News from Coalition Partners & Others

OpenSecrets.org Opens Up its Data

The Center for Responsive Politics recently announced that the organization was making twenty years of downloadable money-in-politics data available – for free – through www.OpenSecrets.org. A list of the available data sets, and a user guide, resource tables and other documentation are available here.

 

GAP Highlights the Importance of Whistleblower Protections for Economic Recovery

An editorial by Louis Clark, the President of the Government Accountability Project (GAP) has brought public attention to the opportunity to improve whistleblower protections in light of the massive amount of federal spending on stimulus projects. The piece, which has run in the Bell Gardens Sun (CA), the Worthington Daily Globe (MN), the Kennebec Journal (ME), Salem Statesman Journal (OR), the Northwest Arkansas Times, the Valley City Times-Record (ND), and the Nashua Telegraph (NH), makes concrete recommendations to create an atmosphere that does not tolerate waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer funds.

 

CAR Comments Suggest How OMB Can Improve Stimulus Tracking, Transparency

On Friday, April 17, the Coalition for an Accountable Recovery (CAR), a diverse coalition that includes OpenTheGovernment.org and several coalition partners, submitted comments on the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) memo, "Updated Implementing Guidance for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009." The system for tracking dollars from the federal government to the final recipient suggested in the comments represents what techPresident calls, "a gold standard for transparency and accountability.

 

I. OpenTheGovernment.org Launches BailoutWatch.net

BailoutWatch.net, a site built and maintained by OpenTheGovernment.org to track the bailout, is now live. Please visit the new site to follow the latest news, events, analysis, useful tools, federal reports, and more material related to the bailout – all available via RSS feed. You can also visit the expert exchange to read what the experts are saying about transparency at the Federal Reserve, and share your thoughts.

II. OpenTheGovernment.org, Coalition Partners, Respond to NARA: Put Public Access First

On April 17, OpenTheGovernment.org was joined by several coalition partners in sending the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) a response to NARA’s recent request for input (RFI) on alternative models for Presidential Libraries. NARA is required by statute to report to Congress on alternative models for Presidential libraries "1) reduce the financial burden on the Federal Government, 2) improve the preservation of presidential records, and 3) reduce the delay in public access to all presidential records" by mid-July. The letter asks NARA to take full account of the effect any alternative model may have on the public’s ability to gain access to important historical documents and on NARA’s obligation to provide the public with timely access to important historical documents.

 

III. Sunshine Week 2009 Webcast Available

An archived version of the 2009 Sunshine Week webcast is now available. During the webcast, individuals intimately involved in crafting the "Open Government Directive" called for by President Obama’s Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government, kicked off the public conversation about what the Obama administration hopes to achieve, the policy issues facing this administration, the Obama administration’s vision for e-government, and financial and economic transparency. To join the on-going discussion about how to meet the goal of opening the federal government, please join OpenTheGovernment.org’s OpenGovernmementDirective Google Group.

 

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