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Real Fed Transparency

August 21, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Ron Paul's bill to bill to audit the Federal Reserve would make new information about the central bank's activities available to members of Congress. OpenCongress users have suggested a simple improvement to the bill to make the Fed truly transparent.

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Fed Transparency is On a Roll

July 16, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Ron Paul's [R, TX-14] bill to audit the Federal Reserve (H.R. 1207) has reached another landmark. Every single House Republican has now co-sponsored it. But it's not just a Republican bill. Ninety-three Democrats have co-sponsored it too. It's been referred to the House Financial Services Committee, and Chairman Rep. Barney Frank [D, MA-4] has said that there will be hearings on it before the August recess. The Senate version of the bill is not doing as well. It only has 8 co-sponsors, all Re...

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Cash and Connections

July 6, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The Washington Post has some shocking numbers on the insider, big-money fight against a public health insurance option: The nation's largest insurers, hospitals and medical groups have hired more than 350 former government staff members and retired members of Congress in hopes of influencing their old bosses and colleagues, according to an analysis of lobbying disclosures and other records. The tactic is so widespread that three of every four major health-care firms have at least one forme...

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Preview of OpenCongress Redesign

June 29, 2009 - by David Moore

Today, at the Personal Democracy Forum conference, OpenCongress is announcing our biggest update yet, coming this summer: a complete site re-design, more data on "the money trail" in Congress, and new tools to engage with your elected officials. Everyone can be an insider.

Currently, OpenCongress works as a hub of conversation about bills and issues in Congress, and the upcoming redesign will make the site a more powerful organizing platform. Here are some full-size screenshots of the redesign, along with quick ways for you to give your feedback and help spread the word...

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House Members' Online Earmark Disclosures

April 8, 2009 - by Avelino Maestas

Earmarks are such a hot topic because of the potential for abuse (as we'll see below), while proponents argue they enable lawmakers to fund projects that are needed and requested by constituents. With Sen. John McCain taking his principled stand against earmarks during the 2008 Presidential Election, it's not a surprise that the practice would fall under increased scrutiny during the 111th Congress. Turns out members of the House were required to disclose their earmark requests for 2010 this past weekend.

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Second Try for Speedy Senate Disclosure

March 11, 2009 - by Avelino Maestas

Sen. Russ Feingold has reintroduced the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act, legislation that would force the Senate to provide speedy access to campaign finance information. Efforts to approve the bill during the 110th Congress were stifled by Republicans attempts to attach non-germane amendments and hold other bills hostage. In the 111th Congress, Sen. Pat Roberts is insisting on an amendment that would require outside groups to disclose their donors when filing ethics complaints against senators.

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Publishers vs. Public Access

March 2, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

There is a bill in Congress right now, the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act (H.R. 801), that, if passed into law, would end the National Institute of Health's public access policy and restrict similar policies for other taxpayer-funded research. The research team at the money-in-politics website, MAPLight.org, released an analysis today showing how campaign contributions relate to the bill's support in the House. MAPLight.org analyzed campaign contribution data provided by the Center for ...

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WhoRunsGov.com

January 23, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The Washington Post has just launched a new politics site with a focus on profiling powerful players in D.C. politics - WhoRunsGov.com. From the About page: >Our site will feature profiles of a select group of government officials, including members of the new presidential administration, legislators, senior Congressional aides and committee staff, and experts at think tanks and interest groups who influence how policy is made. Each profile focuses on an individual's policy experience and in...

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There may be some hope for increased oversight and accountability of the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) after all. This afternoon, The House passed Barney Frank's TARP oversight legislation, the details of which I spelled out in a previous post, and now there is a glimmer of hope from the Senate that Democrats may push to pass similar legislation.

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Pushing TARP Transparency

January 14, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Chris Bowers at Open Left posted this video of freshman Democrat Rep. Alan Grayson at yesterday's Financial Services Committee hearing grilling Fed Vice-Chairman Donald Kohn on the lack of transparency in the financial bailout: The related legislation here, as I've been writing about a lot this week, is the TARP Reform and Accountability Act. The bill is designed to require more accountability and transparency in how the second $350 billion tranche of the TARP money is spent. Rep. Barney...

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