Freedom of Information

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  • Editorial on Pending FOIA Amendments

    The FOIA blog
    scott hodes
    15 Sep 2014 | 5:54 am
    My friend, Amy Bennett from OpentheGovernment.org, has this editorial that has appeared in a number of newspapers around the country on the amendments to the FOIA that is pending before the Senate. As I've said before, there are only a limited amount of days before Congress recesses for the year, so the Senate really needs to get busy on this issue or the legislation will have to be reintroduced in 2015.
  • Brown Act roundup: San Diego city council in hot water over restrictions on public comment

    FIRST AMENDMENT COALITION » News & Opinion
    donal brown
    16 Sep 2014 | 12:17 pm
    A San Diego nonprofit filed a lawsuit claiming that the City of San Diego was violating the Brown Act, California’s open meeting law, by failing to add or allow non-agenda public comment on Monday agendas thus eliminating public comment. The nonprofit claims that the Brown Act requires public comment for each meeting. (San Diego Reader, […]
  • Open public records key to limiting government

    IDOG
    IDOG
    11 Sep 2014 | 12:31 pm
    Idaho typically elects conservative officeholders with skeptical views of government and then allows them to lower the blinds on public information. One would think voters would want the government closest to them to be the most open, but that’s not how it works in the Gem State. Editorial from The Spokesman-Review
  • Legend of K Street Helped Industry Boom

    OpenSecrets Blog
    Russ Choma
    15 Sep 2014 | 2:58 pm
    Thomas Hale Boggs Jr. was a huge force in the lobbying industry. (PattonBoggs.com) It’s hard to overstate the significance to K Street of the death of Thomas Hale Boggs Jr. today. For almost as long as the Center for Responsive Politics has tracked data, Boggs was, literally, the biggest name in lobbying. Boggs joined a small law firm in 1966 and with two other partners built it into the lobbying mammoth Patton Boggs — but the firm has been all Boggs for decades. And it has been the top paid lobbying firm, according to OpenSecrets.org data, since 2003. From 1998, when we began…
  • Campaign intelligence: Conservative money plays catch up

    Sunlight Foundation Blog
    Peter Olsen-Phillips
    16 Sep 2014 | 1:13 pm
    Welcome to another edition of "Campaign Intelligence" — a recurring series on candidates, campaigns and elections in which Sunlight's Reporting Group highlights interesting stories we see developing from our data analysis tools. After a costly season of primary campaigns in which hardline conservative groups often found themselves at odds with establishment players and the national GOP party committees, outside and inside dollars are coalescing behind Republican nominees in Senate races in Alaska, Iowa and Michigan — the three states that have seen the most outside spending over the past…
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    The FOIA blog

  • Editorial on Pending FOIA Amendments

    scott hodes
    15 Sep 2014 | 5:54 am
    My friend, Amy Bennett from OpentheGovernment.org, has this editorial that has appeared in a number of newspapers around the country on the amendments to the FOIA that is pending before the Senate. As I've said before, there are only a limited amount of days before Congress recesses for the year, so the Senate really needs to get busy on this issue or the legislation will have to be reintroduced in 2015.
  • Friday FOIA Roundup: 2 Interesting Court Decisions

    scott hodes
    12 Sep 2014 | 4:30 am
    This week we have two very interesting FOIA decisions. First, is a decision reported by Politico that the sole document found responsive to a request concerning the costs of creating or maintaining Guantanamo Camp is properly classified.  Most of the government's briefing was done ex parte and shown only to the judge because event the explanation was, according to the government, classified.  It's really hard to know what they were arguing.  The most interesting takeaway is that only one single page document was found responsive to the request.  I'm…
  • Thank You to the 2014 ASAP Workshop Attendees

    scott hodes
    8 Sep 2014 | 1:22 pm
    I just wanted to give a big thank you to all of those that attended the 2014 American Society of Access Professionals (ASAP) Workshop last week in Chicago.  It was great meeting all of those in attendance and discussing FOIA issues with you.  And remember, ASAP always has FOIA training available in the form of webinars.  You can find out more here. 
  • Freedom of the Press Foundation Blog

    scott hodes
    8 Sep 2014 | 6:19 am
    The Freedom of the Press Foundation has a blog entitled This Week in Transparency.  It highlight's transparency issues- its not all FOIA, and it comes from the viewpoint of a journalist.  I find it to be a very interesting read and it can be found here.
  • Radio Television Digital News Association Urges FOIA Amendment Passage

    scott hodes
    3 Sep 2014 | 5:06 am
    The RTDNA (Radio Television Digital News Association) has came out strongly in favor of passage of the pending FOIA reforms in the Senate.  As the article states and I stressed over the summer, there is only a few legislative days left in Congress this session, so if the FOIA bill is going to be passed, the Senate needs to get busy.
 
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    FIRST AMENDMENT COALITION » News & Opinion

  • Brown Act roundup: San Diego city council in hot water over restrictions on public comment

    donal brown
    16 Sep 2014 | 12:17 pm
    A San Diego nonprofit filed a lawsuit claiming that the City of San Diego was violating the Brown Act, California’s open meeting law, by failing to add or allow non-agenda public comment on Monday agendas thus eliminating public comment. The nonprofit claims that the Brown Act requires public comment for each meeting. (San Diego Reader, […]
  • New California law would mandate checks on police use of drones

    donal brown
    16 Sep 2014 | 11:23 am
    A law before California Governor Jerry Brown would require law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant before dispatching drones for surveillance. The law allows use of drones without warrant in emergencies including fires, hostage crises, chase and search and rescue. There are concerns that drones could be used to monitor protests as suggested by the […]
  • Fedral government abuses state secrets privilege

    donal brown
    16 Sep 2014 | 10:52 am
    A federal district judge ordered the Justice Department to provide “in camera” review of documents on the no-fly list that the government claims are protected by the state secrets privilege. “…the Court has a particularly strong and heightened institutional responsibility in these circumstances to review and assess the propriety of such executive branch activity since […]
  • Free speech issue central in California sheriff election

    donal brown
    16 Sep 2014 | 9:48 am
    A deputy sheriff’s association sued in federal court claiming that the sheriff was illegally campaigning in uniform while violating the deputies’ First Amendment rights to speak out in the sheriff election. A county policy prohibits employees from identifying themselves as connected to the sheriff’s office to “endorse, support, oppose or contradict any political campaign or […]
  • Yahoo cites victory in transparency over federal government surveillance

    donal brown
    15 Sep 2014 | 11:21 am
    Yahoo yielded to a government threat of a $250,000 a day fine in releasing customer information to federal intelligence agencies. This new revelation shows how ruthless the federal government was in pursuing their secret surveillance program noted a spokesperson for the Electronic Privacy Information Center. (Reuters, September 12, 2014, by Edwin Chan and Alexei Oreskovic) […]
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    IDOG

  • Open public records key to limiting government

    IDOG
    11 Sep 2014 | 12:31 pm
    Idaho typically elects conservative officeholders with skeptical views of government and then allows them to lower the blinds on public information. One would think voters would want the government closest to them to be the most open, but that’s not how it works in the Gem State. Editorial from The Spokesman-Review
  • Idaho ombudsman needs to take charge

    IDOG
    9 Sep 2014 | 2:11 pm
    In Idaho and the Treasure Valley there is no shortage of public information officers, public affairs officers, communications directors and specialists. There are more combinations of these words - and we didn't even mention the platoons of lawyers who pore over information requests. Dozens and dozens of people throughout the state are paid millions of dollars collectively to broker and serve as information conduits to media and citizens. The proliferation of this class of public employee would lead one to expect the utmost transparency and access to public information, right? Editorial from…
  • Idaho’s public records process reviewed

    IDOG
    9 Sep 2014 | 2:05 pm
    Four months as Idaho's public records ombudsman has taught Cally Younger that more work needs to be done to clarify and strengthen Idaho's public records process. Most of her time is spent answering questions by phone - she's received just two written complaints - and trying to figure out what needs to happen to the state's public records law to make it work better. She's surveying state agencies and meeting with stakeholders in advance of the 2015 Legislature, and recommending potential changes to her boss, Gov. Butch Otter. From the Idaho Statesman
  • Judge denies CNN request for Bergdahl documents

    IDOG
    30 Jul 2014 | 10:33 am
    Judge Robert J. Elgee issued a ruling on Tuesday denying a Cable News Network request for a 15-year-old Blaine County police report involving the Bowe Bergdahl family. From the Idaho Mountain Express
  • Senator suggests secret review by lawmakers before releasing OPE reports

    IDOG
    28 Jul 2014 | 6:05 pm
    Sen. Dean Mortimer, R-Idaho Falls, has been pushing to let lawmakers review reports from the Legislature’s Office of Performance Evaluations in closed meetings and suggest changes before they’re released publicly, the AP reports. The OPE conducts detailed and often controversial investigations into how state agencies operate and points to savings, efficiencies or improvements; its director, Rakesh Mohan, staunchly opposes any such change in the rules because it would alter the office’s independence and credibility. From AP/Eye on Boise
 
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    OpenSecrets Blog

  • Legend of K Street Helped Industry Boom

    Russ Choma
    15 Sep 2014 | 2:58 pm
    Thomas Hale Boggs Jr. was a huge force in the lobbying industry. (PattonBoggs.com) It’s hard to overstate the significance to K Street of the death of Thomas Hale Boggs Jr. today. For almost as long as the Center for Responsive Politics has tracked data, Boggs was, literally, the biggest name in lobbying. Boggs joined a small law firm in 1966 and with two other partners built it into the lobbying mammoth Patton Boggs — but the firm has been all Boggs for decades. And it has been the top paid lobbying firm, according to OpenSecrets.org data, since 2003. From 1998, when we began…
  • American Future Fund Goes to the Islands

    vnovak
    12 Sep 2014 | 11:44 am
    Alejandro Garcia Padilla, governor of Puerto Rico, is under attack by American Future Fund. (GDA via AP Images) A politically active nonprofit that spent more than $25 million on ads to help Republicans in the 2012 elections has stepped into a messy dispute between the government of Puerto Rico and a bank that claims the commonwealth owes it money — not something that fits neatly with the group’s activities in previous election cycles. Doral Financial Corp., which has had financial and regulatory woes in recent years, sued the Puerto Rican government in June for voiding a 2012…
  • Both Mr. McConnell and Ms. Grimes Go to Washington

    Russ Choma
    11 Sep 2014 | 10:57 am
    Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell has raised 81 percent of his campaign’s cash from outside his state. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley) Who’s the real Washington insider? Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) or his Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes?  Both candidates and their surrogates have lobbed the scurrilous insult this week as both have made time in their busy schedules to raise money from the monied set in D.C. The fact is, both candidates rely heavily on out-of-state contributions, and both have raised significant cash from inside the Beltway…
  • Little(r) Guys Often Try Harder in Washington

    Andrew Mayersohn
    11 Sep 2014 | 4:05 am
    Home Depot tries harder when it comes to its Washington footprint. (Image: Home Depot annual report) Who’s working hardest to make an impression in Washington? We know which organizations contribute the most, and which ones spend the most on lobbying. What the lists don’t show, though, is how much those organizations have to exert themselves to earn their influence. A gigantic corporation, trade association or union might spend only its spare change on political activity and still make the list, whereas a smaller organization would have to dedicate a large portion of its resources…
  • Candidates in Little New Hampshire Get Big Out-of-State Money

    Russ Choma
    10 Sep 2014 | 10:42 am
    Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown makes last minute phone calls before the GOP primary in the New Hampshire Senate race. Brown won and now now faces incumbent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen. Both candidates get much of their money from non-New Hampshire donors. (AP Photo/Jim Cole) His victory last night in New Hampshire’s GOP primary means Scott Brown will continue to catch flak for moving from Massachusetts to try to take Democrat Jeanne Shaheen‘s Senate seat. Shaheen has been working hard to tag Brown with the carpetbagger label. But the reality is that almost all of the fuel for…
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    Sunlight Foundation Blog

  • Campaign intelligence: Conservative money plays catch up

    Peter Olsen-Phillips
    16 Sep 2014 | 1:13 pm
    Welcome to another edition of "Campaign Intelligence" — a recurring series on candidates, campaigns and elections in which Sunlight's Reporting Group highlights interesting stories we see developing from our data analysis tools. After a costly season of primary campaigns in which hardline conservative groups often found themselves at odds with establishment players and the national GOP party committees, outside and inside dollars are coalescing behind Republican nominees in Senate races in Alaska, Iowa and Michigan — the three states that have seen the most outside spending over the past…
  • The enduring power of the ex-senator

    Kathy Kiely
    16 Sep 2014 | 10:30 am
    John Breaux, a Louisiana Democrat who served 32 years in Congress before opening a lobbying firm, will be back in his old committee room today. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) To see the power of Washington's revolving door — and the weakness of congressional lobbying regulations — check out two events today involving well-heeled corporate interests, health care policy and powerful former members of Congress. This afternoon at the offices of the influential Bipartisan Policy Center, one of the cofounders of the organization, former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle, will be emceeing a…
  • Wrangling messy political data into usable information

    Zack Maril
    16 Sep 2014 | 10:06 am
    Zack Maril worked with the Influence Explorer team this past summer, exploring how to automate disclosure data annotation as well as developing advanced systems for querying lobbying disclosure data. He’ll be returning to Texas A&M in the fall to finish his degree in applied mathematics and will be joining the Sunlight Foundation full time in February 2015. Welcome to Sunlight, Zack! Thanks to the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, individuals and organizations must disclose the activities they undertook each quarter while representing themselves or their clients to Congress. After the Honest…
  • Today in #OpenGov 9/16/2014

    Matt Rumsey
    16 Sep 2014 | 4:18 am
    Keep reading for today's look at #OpenGov news, events, and analysis, including Inspector General publicity, a not-so-transparent law in Spain, and lots of money for government tech start ups.  National News Inspectors General often have trouble getting their reports heard over the din of Washington. Luckily, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction runs a robust PR operation and believes in sharing tips with other watchdogs. (POGO) The third round of Presidential Innovation Fellows has been announced. (The White House) The GOP is looking increasingly likely to take the…
  • Senate electronic filing should be a done deal — we’ll keep fighting until it is

    Lisa Rosenberg
    15 Sep 2014 | 11:50 am
    During Transparency September, we have been highlighting bills that should be relatively non-controversial, easy fixes to make sure the public has information on how the influence industry gains access to Congress. First, we brought you the Real Time Transparency Act, which would require large campaign contributions to be disclosed within 48 hours. Then it was the Lobbying and Campaign Finance Reform Act, which among other things, would close a loophole and ensure that if you are a paid lobbyist, you register and report. Now we bring you the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act, a bill that…
 
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    Deeplinks

  • 13 Principles Week of Action: Wikipedia Is Built On Transparency

    Yana Welinder
    17 Sep 2014 | 9:01 am
    This is a guest post from Yana Welinder and Stephen LaPorte, Legal Counsel at the Wikimedia Foundation.* If you have comments on this post, you can contact Yana and Stephen on Twitter. Between 15th-19th of September, in the week leading up the first year anniversary of the 13 Necessary and Proportionate Principles, EFF and the coalition behind the Principles will be conducting a Week of Action explaining some of the key guiding principles for surveillance law reform. Every day, we'll take on a different part of the principles, exploring what’s at stake and what we need to do to bring…
  • 13 Principles Week of Action: Public Oversight and The Rule of Law

    Root Jonez
    17 Sep 2014 | 9:00 am
    This is a guest post from Joe Mcnamee, Executive Director, European Digital Rights (EDRI). If you have comments on this post, you can contact EDRI on Twitter. This post was originally published in http://edri.org Between 15th-19th of September, in the week leading up the first year anniversary of the 13 Necessary and Proportionate Principles, EFF and the coalition behind the Principles will be conducting a Week of Action explaining some of the key guiding principles for surveillance law reform. Every day, we'll take on a different part of the principles, exploring what’s at stake and what…
  • Senator Leahy to the Courts: Restore Access to Removed PACER Documents

    Amul Kalia and Nadia Kayyali
    16 Sep 2014 | 3:39 pm
    We’ve written before about the appalling state of access to public court records, recently made dramatically worse by the decision of the Administrative Office of the Courts (AO) to effectively terminate electronic access to documents on PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records), the fee-based system administered by the AO for searching, viewing and downloading federal court records. The removal affects five courts, including four federal courts of appeals. As we wrote earlier, the AO should give them to someone who will make them available for free, and we know of a…
  • Facebook's 'Real Name' Policy Can Cause Real-World Harm for the LGBTQ Community

    Jillian York and Nadia Kayyali
    16 Sep 2014 | 5:05 am
    There are myriad reasons why individuals may wish to use a name other than that which they were born with. For some, these reasons could mean life or death—for example, political dissidents voicing unpopular opinions in places like Syria or Vietnam, or people trying to get away from abusers—while for others, it may still very much be a matter of safety and security. Pseudonyms can enable people to access information, social services, and gain entry to communities while maintaining safety. This is especially true online, where individuals from distributed or marginalized groups can find…
  • 13 Principles Week of Action: Location Privacy is a Human Right

    Hanni Fakhoury
    16 Sep 2014 | 1:56 am
    Between 15th-19th of September, in the week leading up the first year anniversary of the 13 Necessary and Proportionate Principles, EFF and the coalition behind the Principles will be conducting a Week of Action explaining some of the key guiding principles for surveillance law reform. Every day, we'll take on a different part of the principles, exploring what’s at stake and what we need to do to bring intelligence agencies and the police back under the rule of law. You can read the complete set of posts at: https://necessaryandproportionate.org/anniversary. The Principles were first…
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    The Fine Print: blog posts from Center for Effective Government

  • Support Those Who Support Us: Let Your Dollar Be Your Vote for Responsible Corporate Taxpayers

    sklinger
    15 Sep 2014 | 7:45 am
    Tax Rates Paid by Major Retailers, Restaurants, Banks, and Cable/Cell Providers Over the last month, American consumers have sent a strong message to companies thinking about abandoning the U.S. and moving offshore: if you stop supporting the U.S. by avoiding taxes, we’ll stop supporting you and shop elsewhere. The offshore move, known in policy circles as "corporate inversion," occurs when a large American business buys a smaller foreign firm, then trades in its U.S registration for the foreign papers of its merger partner. It is the latest tax-dodging strategy for companies…
  • House Majority’s Last-Ditch Effort to Undermine Public Protections, Award Corporate Giveaways

    kweatherford
    15 Sep 2014 | 7:15 am
    Highlights: This week, the House majority plans to introduce a large package of anti-regulatory, pro-industry bills under a smokescreen of "job creation." Many of the proposals included in this package threaten critical safeguards by adding costly and time-intensive procedural hurdles to an already extensive rulemaking process. This package also includes bills to make certain tax breaks for corporations permanent, which would cost the public more than $500 billion over the course of the next decade. This package of recycled, pro-industry legislation would roll back public protections and…
  • Unfinished Business in the 113th Congress: Whose Interests are Your Representatives Working For?

    jschieder
    12 Sep 2014 | 9:26 am
    Champions in Congress are pushing for bills that would help millions of people, but industry lobbyists and their allies in the House and Senate are obstructing progress on these commonsense measures. Instead, they're clamoring for more corporate tax cuts, the elimination of environmental protections, and the erosion of worker safeguards. With only days left for the 113th Congress to address a menu of priorities before the midterm elections, here are some of the issues that everyone should ask his or her representatives to address: Minimum Wage An overwhelming majority of…
  • Cooking the Books on the Costs of Rules

    rwhite
    10 Sep 2014 | 11:34 am
    As part of the ongoing national effort by some in the business community and their allies in Congress to attack standards and safeguards, a report released today by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) provides a wildly exaggerated and unreliable estimate for the cost of federal rules in 2012. The report, prepared by economists W. Mark Crain and Nicole V. Crain, uses similar, fatally flawed methodology as the Crains’ discredited 2010 report on the cost of rules prepared for the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy. The Office of Advocacy report was widely…
  • Tracking Toxic Trains in California and Boosting Federal Safeguards

    afrank
    8 Sep 2014 | 11:20 am
    Highlights: Approximately 700,00 barrels of crude oil leave the Bakken by rail each day. Bakken oil is especially volatile, putting communities near railroads at risk of explosions from derailed trains. California passed legislation that would improve communication between rail companies and state emergency response officials. Federal regulations are needed to enforce regulations that would further protect communities, such as improved tank car standards and speed limits.   The oil boom in North Dakota's Bakken region has led to more crude oil being transported by train throughout…
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    Kentucky Open Government Blog

  • UK properly denied certain requests by CNN, but it erred in denying others

    8 Sep 2014 | 3:50 pm
    The University of Kentucky properly denied certain requests from CNN relating to the university’s pediatric cardiothoracic program, but it erred by not providing the news network with sufficient information about records that the university claimed did not exist, the attorney general said in an August 6 opinion.The opinion, In re: CNN/University of Kentucky, concerned requests that CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen made to the university on February 13 and March 27, 2014. Cohen requested records relating to UK’s pediatric heart surgery program.The university properly made…
  • An Open Meetings Act violation must occur before the attorney general can address it

    8 Sep 2014 | 3:46 pm
    The attorney general will not address a violation of the Open Meetings Act that is anticipated but has not occurred, according to an August 8 opinion.The opinion concerned an appeal by Michael Murphy in regard to the Glencoe City Council’s response to his July 1, 2014, written complaint, which alleged violation of the Open Meetings Act based on the council’s actions regarding non-agenda topics.The attorney general found that the city had violated certain provisions of the act by “discussing and acting on non-agenda topics” at a June 16 special meeting.According to the opinion, the…
  • State violated Open Records Act with conditional use agreement

    8 Sep 2014 | 3:43 pm
    The Cabinet for Health and Family Services violated the Open Records Act by making the release of information requested by USA TODAY conditioned on a use agreement, according to an attorney general opinion released August 13.The opinion, In re: USA TODAY/Cabinet for Health and Family Services, concerned an appeal by USA TODAY after the cabinet agreed to comply with a request, but then made the release of information conditioned on a reporter completing a use agreement that would not have allowed her to name healthcare providers found within the information.USA TODAY reporter Alison Young had…
  • Judge's entry and exit from county parking garage not subject to Open Records request

    8 Sep 2014 | 3:23 pm
    The Kenton County Fiscal Court did not violate the Open Records Act by redacting the times of entry and departure of a judge from a county parking garage, the attorney general held August 13.The decision came regarding a matter between the fiscal court and James A. Dietz.Dietz appealed the fiscal court’s partial denial of his request for records concerning the frequency of use of the county parking garage by Kenton County Family Court Judge Lisa O. Bushelman for calendar years 2012 and 2013. The fiscal court provided Dietz with a 45-page parking system activity report, but it redacted the…
  • U of L violated Open Records Act by failing to adequately respond to Louisville reporter's request

    8 Sep 2014 | 3:18 pm
    The University of Louisville violated the Open Records Act for its actions in responding to a request by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, the attorney general’s office said in an August 27 opinion.Center for Investigative Reporting reporter Kristina Goetz appealed to the attorney general’s office after more than a month of seeking records from U of L relating to the university’s contract and correspondence with private auditing firm Strothman & Co., according to background information in the opinion.As a procedural matter, the attorney general’s office said…
 
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    Sunlight Foundation Blog

  • Campaign intelligence: Conservative money plays catch up

    Peter Olsen-Phillips
    16 Sep 2014 | 1:13 pm
    Welcome to another edition of "Campaign Intelligence" — a recurring series on candidates, campaigns and elections in which Sunlight's Reporting Group highlights interesting stories we see developing from our data analysis tools. After a costly season of primary campaigns in which hardline conservative groups often found themselves at odds with establishment players and the national GOP party committees, outside and inside dollars are coalescing behind Republican nominees in Senate races in Alaska, Iowa and Michigan — the three states that have seen the most outside spending over the past…
  • The enduring power of the ex-senator

    Kathy Kiely
    16 Sep 2014 | 10:30 am
    John Breaux, a Louisiana Democrat who served 32 years in Congress before opening a lobbying firm, will be back in his old committee room today. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) To see the power of Washington's revolving door — and the weakness of congressional lobbying regulations — check out two events today involving well-heeled corporate interests, health care policy and powerful former members of Congress. This afternoon at the offices of the influential Bipartisan Policy Center, one of the cofounders of the organization, former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle, will be emceeing a…
  • Wrangling messy political data into usable information

    Zack Maril
    16 Sep 2014 | 10:06 am
    Zack Maril worked with the Influence Explorer team this past summer, exploring how to automate disclosure data annotation as well as developing advanced systems for querying lobbying disclosure data. He’ll be returning to Texas A&M in the fall to finish his degree in applied mathematics and will be joining the Sunlight Foundation full time in February 2015. Welcome to Sunlight, Zack! Thanks to the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, individuals and organizations must disclose the activities they undertook each quarter while representing themselves or their clients to Congress. After the Honest…
  • Today in #OpenGov 9/16/2014

    Matt Rumsey
    16 Sep 2014 | 4:18 am
    Keep reading for today's look at #OpenGov news, events, and analysis, including Inspector General publicity, a not-so-transparent law in Spain, and lots of money for government tech start ups.  National News Inspectors General often have trouble getting their reports heard over the din of Washington. Luckily, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction runs a robust PR operation and believes in sharing tips with other watchdogs. (POGO) The third round of Presidential Innovation Fellows has been announced. (The White House) The GOP is looking increasingly likely to take the…
  • Senate electronic filing should be a done deal — we’ll keep fighting until it is

    Lisa Rosenberg
    15 Sep 2014 | 11:50 am
    During Transparency September, we have been highlighting bills that should be relatively non-controversial, easy fixes to make sure the public has information on how the influence industry gains access to Congress. First, we brought you the Real Time Transparency Act, which would require large campaign contributions to be disclosed within 48 hours. Then it was the Lobbying and Campaign Finance Reform Act, which among other things, would close a loophole and ensure that if you are a paid lobbyist, you register and report. Now we bring you the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act, a bill that…
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