Policy and News Updates for December 2, 2008


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

News from Coalition Partners & Others

I. OpenTheGovernment.org Calling for Bailout Transparency

II. OpenTheGovernment.org, Coalition Partners, Share Expertise on Access to Information Laws

News from Coalition Partners & Others

OMB Watch Shines Light on Midnight Regulations

The regulatory policy team at OMB Watch has been working hard to make sure the public is aware of last minute regulatory changes pushed by the Bush Administration to weaken rules protecting health and safety. In the last few weeks, Matt Madia, a regulatory policy analyst at OMB Watch, has discussed the issue on NBC Nightly News, NPR, Democracy Now, and CNN and has been quoted in several publications including stories in the Christian Science Monitor and the Los Angeles Times

 

POGO Reports on Report on Air Marshal Problems with the OSC

On November 25th, the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) released Breaking the Sound Barrier: Experiences of Air Marshals Confirm Need for Reform at the OSC. The report covers current and former air marshals that have been shut out and retaliated against when they tried to report problems to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), an independent federal agency intended to protect whistleblowers, and recommends a major overhaul of the OSC to the incoming Administration.

 

GAP Issues Transition Memo on Federal Whistleblower Rights

The Government Accountability Project (GAP) submitted a transition memo to the Obama-Biden transition team detailing solutions for inadequate federal whistleblower protections. Read all of our coalition partner’s transition papers on increasing transparency and strengthening oversight here

 

Dirt Diggers Digest: Shining Light on Big Business

For commentary on current controversies about big business as well as reports on new information sources, check out the Dirt Diggers Digest. The Digest, a corporate research project of Good Jobs First, combines essays on corporate misbehavior, coverage of trends in disclosure and new info sources for corporate researchers. Subscribe to the newsletter by email here.

 

I. OpenTheGovernment.org Calling for Bailout Transparency

OpenTheGovernment.org and the National Taxpayers Union are circulating a letter addressing the numerous transparency issues that have become apparent in the implementation of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, including inefficient oversight and the Department of the Treasury’s neglect to require companies that receive bailout money to disclose certain information about how the money is spent. The letter, which has already been signed by several coalition partners, asks the relevant Congressional Committee heads to work with congressional leadership to address these issues and asks that whistleblower protections be extended to public and private employees connected to the bailout. Later this week, the letter will be sent to the Chairman and Ranking Members of the Committees with jurisdiction over the bailout and leadership of the House and Senate; the letter will be posted on our website once it is sent.

 

II. OpenTheGovernment.org, Coalition Partners, Share Expertise on Access to Information Laws

This week several coalition partners are sharing their expertise on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act (PA) at the American Society of Access Professionals (ASAP) Training Sessions and Symposium. In addition to OpenTheGovernment.org, ASAP invited individuals representing the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT), Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), Federation of American Scientists, National Security Archive, and OMB Watch to speak on a variety of topics including international privacy issues, secrecy and the rule of law, sensitive but unclassified information, and records management through the federal government transition. The training sessions, which are scheduled for today, provide comprehensive overviews of the FOIA and PA. At tomorrow’s Symposium, participants will address FOIA and PA policy issues, air current controversies, and explore information disclosure frontiers.

 

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