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Over in the House Homeland Security Committee today Republicans used the relatively rare "resolution of inquiry" procedure to try to get documents from the Homeland Security Department related to their report issued last month, "Right-wing Extremism Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment."

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The Argument Against Auditing the Fed

May 18, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Somebody - NYU Prof. Thomas F. Cooley to be exact - is taking the unpopular position of opposing Rep. Ron Paul's bill (H.R.1207) to bring some transparency to the Federal Reserve. Here's an excerpt from his, recent Forbes column:

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Recent Senate Votes

May 14, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

There were a few interesting votes in the Senate yesterday that are worth mentioning -- on gun rights, capping credit card interest rates and publicizing national debt data. All on amendments to the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Act of 2009. Click through to see how your senators voted.

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More on Cybersecurity

May 5, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

There's been more talk than usual in Congress recently about the issue of cyber security. I think we're all convinced that it's a serious issue and that there needs to be some kind of unified effort to address it. But it's been difficult for any of us outside the realms of information security and technology to know what to do -- or even to begin talking and thinking about what to do. Most people seem to agree that the bill introduced into Congress, the Cybersecurity Act of 2009, does not t...

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Transparency Kills Apathy

April 27, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Clay Johnson of Sunlight Labs was on NPR with Andrea Seabrook recently to talk about what's happening with government data and the internet, both within government and outside of it. He gives a mention to OpenCongress as well as some of the recent Apps for America contestants - Filibusted, Legistalker, and Know thy Congressman - and has some great thoughts on how 21st century technology is changing governance. Give a listen. ...

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Audit the Fed

April 21, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Year after year in Congress, Rep. Ron Paul [R, TX-14] has introduced a bill to abolish the Fed (H.R. 833). It has never made any legislative progress or attracted much support. This year, however, Rep. Paul has introduced a toned-down version, along with the original, that is gaining co-sponsors quickly and could actually get a vote this session -- the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009.

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The Best Campaign Finance Data Around, for Free

April 13, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The Center for Responsive Politics' amazing OpenSecrets website, which tracks information on who is funding federal lawmakers' campaigns, is opening up its data for web developers to reuse and remix however they like. From their blog: For the first time in CRP's 26-year history, the nonprofit research group's most popular data archives are fully and freely downloadable for non-commercial purposes from the Center's website, -- a four-time Webby winner for best politics site on...

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Stevens Cleared of All Charges

April 1, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The corruption charges against former Sen. Ted Stevens involving $250,000 in undisclosed gifts from an oil company have been thrown out by the Department of Justice. Stevens' conviction on seven felony counts of ethics violations caused him to lose his seat in the Senate last year after serving Alaska for 40 years.

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March 24, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Campbell Brown at CNN endorses the Sunlight Foundation's Read the Bill campaign, which simply asks that all non-emergency legislation be available online for 72 hours before debate. As part of the campaign, OpenCongress put together a custom feed that automatically tracks bills in Congress for which the time of the full bill text being available to the time of the bill's initial consideration is less than 72 hours. I just checked the list of rushed bills, and I see that it is growing. ...

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Read the Bill

February 26, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The Sunlight Foundation is asking Congress to make a common sense change to the way they operate - read the bills before they vote on them. is Sunlight's petition site urging Congress to post all legislation online for at least 72 hours before it comes up for a vote. Seventy-two hours would give members of Congress time to seek changes and improvements to the laws they are making, and give the public the chance to tell their elected officials what they think about them.

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Transparency as Economic Stimulus

February 18, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Interesting thoughts from Evan Ratcliff at Wired on how open government data (i.e. in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) can have a stimulative effect on the economy. It follows that the more governments adhere to open data principles, the more stimulative transparency will be. (h/t Ellen Miller) ...

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House Passes Stimulus with Zero GOP Votes

February 13, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The House of Representatives has just passed the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act conference report by a vote of 246-183, sending it to the Senate for one final test before it gets signed into law by President Obama.

Like the House's first vote on the bill in late January, not a single Republican voted for it. Seven Democrats crossed the aisle this time to vote with the Republicans against the bill.

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Make the Stimulus Negotiations Public

February 10, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Republicans in the Senate and House are pushing for the stimulus package conference committee meetings to be broadcast on television. “Given the enormous amount of taxpayer money at stake, it is critical that any and all negotiations be held to the highest standards of transparency,” said Rep. Tom Price in a press release. The conference committee, which meets to reconcile legislation when the Senate and House pass different versions, is one of the most mysterious congressional activitie...

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Rangel to be Cleared?

February 4, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

On C-Span last Sunday, Rep. Charles Rangel [D, NY-15] predicted that the Select Committee on Ethics would clear him of all the ethics violations that have been piling up on him for months. Bill Allison of the Real Time Investigations blog points out just how crazy that would be

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January 29, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Today President Obama signed his first bill into law, broke a campaign promise on transparency and put on a good show all at the same time: ...

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