Policy and News Updates for September 28, 2010



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

 

News from Coalition Partners & Others

I. Help Evaluate Open Government

II. Bill to Eliminate SEC FOIA Exemption Passed by Congress

III. Congressionally Mandated Reports Act up for House Vote

News from Coalition Partners & Others

Center for Responsive Politics and New York Times Launch Map to Track Congressional Races

The Center for Responsive Politics (OpenSecrets.org) and the New York Times launched an interactive map that combines OpenSecrect.org’s vast store of data and research on federal campaign money with the New York Times’ reporting.

 

Society of Professional Journalists Announces Convention and National Journalism Conference

October 3 – 5, the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) will host a Convention and National Journalism Conference at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, NV. Learn more about the program and register to attend here.

 

I. Help Evaluate Open Government

Last week OpenTheGovernment.org and several coalition partners announced the release of a draft framework for evaluating open government in the agencies. The proposal is open for public comment through October 4. The evaluation framework will be used to measure each agency examined on the basis of: the availability of information identified by the nongovernment openness community as critical for accountability; progress in implementation of the agency’s open government plan; and the accessibility of information on the agency’s website.

To read and comment on the proposal, visit http://bit.ly/ogov-feedback. Add your comments by clicking on the "talk bubble" on the right-hand side of the webpage. You can add general comments, or comments on a particular section of the proposal. To comment on the proposal without posting them to the site, please email info@openthegovernment.org. We will consider and respond to all relevant comments before releasing a final framework.

 

II. Bill to Eliminate SEC FOIA Exemption Passed by Congress

Last week Congress passed S. 3717, legislation to strike the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) exemptions created for certain records provided to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under Section 929I of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act).OpenTheGovernment.org and several of our coalition partners supported the legislation as a sensible fix to address the groups’ concerns that, if interpreted broadly, the new exemptions could severely hinder the public’s ability to access critical information related to the SEC’s oversight activities. In the aftermath of the recent financial crisis, the need for greater transparency in our financial system and in regulatory oversight is all too apparent.

 

III. Congressionally Mandated Reports Act up for House Vote

Today the House is scheduled to vote on H.R. 6062, the Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act, to require that any report issued to Congress and releasable under FOIA be posted on a website managed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). These reports contain a wealth of information that enable the public to better understand how well federal agencies are (or are not) fulfilling their respective missions, from ensuring the safety of our drugs and food supply, to protecting the environment, and monitoring the soundness of our financial institutions. Last week more than 30 organizations concerned with transparency and accountability sent a letter to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in support of the legislation on the grounds that it makes it easier for the public to find this information and use it to hold officials accountable for their actions.

 

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