Steering Committee Minutes, 9/25/2007

 

Steering Committee Minutes 9/25/07, 1pm I. Updates A. Legislation/Law i. FOIA -discussion of status of FOIA bill ii. Presidential Records Act -There is a hold on the Senate bill (S. 886). Suspected to be Sen. Kyl [UPDATE – it is now known it is Sen. Bunning (KY)] – We will be working with the National Coalition on History on this legislation iii. Whistleblower legislation (Report from Beth D. at POGO) -Whistleblower leg. passed in the House earlier this year -A hold on the Senate bill has been lifted, now needs floor time -The Senate bill is weaker than the House bill, whistleblower advocates are working on strengthening Senate bill -New leg. from Sen. McCaskill (MO) attached to Defense Authorization for Defense contractors iv. Contracting -update on Coburn-Obama leg. and FFATA v. Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 (S.1, PL 110-81) -Voter Watch, a group out in California, is concerned with Sec. 402 (requires publicly available video, audio, or transcripts of hearings within 14 days) – Voter Watch thinks or should have been AND -Voter Watch is circulating a sign on -Should bring this to the attention of the Open House Project. Bill A. will facilitate -Other issues with S. 1: -9 different provisions which call for lobbying disclosure date, bundled contributions, etc- all discrete from each other. Not clear how this will get done. May need to put resources into approps bills? Contact Gary if you’re interested in joining talks -Earmark disclosure provision- when the Pres. signed the law, said it was very weak -original intent was undermined- now, complete earmark information will not have to be put online until 48 hours before bills reach the floor. -Bill sent around CQ piece on this II. Financials -Patrice sent around abbreviated financial statement, YTD. -In the future, she will send around this abbreviated version and a longer, more detailed version -Net assets don’t include Carnegie -We will do more fundraising -Patrice is working on reports to foundations -Need to search for new sources of money- if you have ideas, email Patrice -We are still working towards projected revenue III. Other A. Helium.com update -We have decided to partner with Helium, the online debate and discussion forum -Emily is collecting questions on open government/transparency/secrecy from steering committee and partners that will be placed on our partner page. Email Emily with ideas. -Emily will email around final set of questions to the SC B. 21st Century Right to Know Project -SC members should expect calls from James Benton, consultant with OMB Watch, on compiling specific past recommendations C. Europe treat on access to docs sign on -Patrice circulated a reminder. OTG signed on. -Deadline is Sept. 26 -OSI is sponsoring an international FOIA conference at the Carter Center in Feb. to discuss international best practices. Conrad will circulate info as it becomes available -Another international resource is The Global Legal Information Network (GLIN) – http://www.glin.gov/search.action – a public database of legal sources contributed by governmental agencies and international organizations. IV. Sunshine week idea -Idea is outlined in the Agenda -Summary: Presentation of preliminary ideas from the 21st century RTK project, followed by a panel of D and R presidential candidates on government transparency; follow the event with a website for candidates’ policy positions on transparency; later in the week, release the results of a survey of House and Senate candidates on govt transparency -Comments: -may need more than 90 mins -will we need to divide into 2 webcasts? -need to get on candidates calendars ASAP -make it a free webcast -get questions from the audience in advance -We could also create a viral video for people to ask candidate questions at local forums and share them online -Who to moderate? Journalist? (like Dana Priest) and non-journalist? Will need to discuss -May want to loop in broader subject of Executive powers, accountability to Congress and the public (Mickey Edwards discussed this at a Constitution Project event recently) -OMBW and other SC partners could offer help in planning -Is this worth pursuing? -consensus is yes -Will need to check IRS laws NEXT STEPS: -Patrice will come back with details and Gary will frame the question for the lawyers -Conrad will set up a meeting with DSCC exec. Director to get feedback on the idea of survey to Congressional candidates

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