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Today in OpenGov: Hayden confirmed as next Librarian of Congress, FEC fine on dark money, STOP Act

Wednesday, July 13, 2016 15:22
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(Before It's News)

By The Sunlight Foundation

CONFIRMED! The U.S. Senate voted 74-18 to confirm librarian Carla Hayden as the new Librarian of Congress. She will be the first woman and the first African-American to oversee the nation’s library. We join many other voices hoping she will use technology to bring the library into the 21st century, making its knowledge available and accessible to the public across the United States. [Baltimore Sun]

FINED: Sunlight’s Libby Watson reported on the Federal Election Commission (FEC) announcement of $233,000 in fines for three 501(c)(4) groups that concealed the source of political ad spending in 2010. As she noted, however, the fines represents just 1 percent or 1.8 percent of the money two of the groups spent that campaign cycle. [READ MORE]

Watson writes:

CREW is right to note that the $233,000 total is large in the context of other FEC fines — “the FEC gave out $273,000 in conciliation agreement civil penalties for an average penalty of $15,000.” But that’s nothing compared to the kinds of funds these groups have. Fines this small can easily be seen as the cost of doing business for a well-funded group that wants to spend on elections — and obscure the source of such spending — until years after voters have had their say.

NEW VIDEO! Sunlight just published a discussion between Watson and Rep. David Jolly, R-Fla., and Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., the co-sponsors of the Stop Act, which would prevent members of Congress from soliciting donations. Along with the bill, they discuss what the fundraising is currently like in D.C. for Congress and the campaign finance landscape.


  • More than two dozen congressional representatives announced the formation of the Fourth Amendment Caucus today. Former Sunlighter Sean Vitka explains. [CS Monitor]
  • The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) “recently introduced a new rule that will make data on injuries and illnesses public for certain large employers,” reports Elena Fagotto. “This should not be a difficult task for these companies; they already collect and maintain this data in the workplace. The rule, which takes effect in 2017, merely asks them to file the data electronically, which brings antiquated record keeping into the 21st century without increasing collection burdens.” [Politico]
  • Jason Shueh talked with former GSA Administrator Tangherlini about 18F, procurement, contracting and innovation. [GovTech]
  • Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan said that the Directorate for Digital Innovation is helping spies mask their identities so that they can defend against online attacks. This may explain some LinkedIn requests. [FCW]

State and Local

  • In an unprecedented decision, a federal judge voided evidence obtained without a warrant using a “Stingray” cellphone data monitoring device. [Reuters]


  • The United Kingdom and France “published a series of recommendations on how the two countries could work together to use data to stimulate economic growth and improve society.” The USA could do worse than to borrow a couple of these and reapply them; it worked well in the Enlightenment. []

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The Sunlight Foundation is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization that uses the power of the Internet to catalyze greater government openness and transparency, and provides new tools and resources for media and citizens, alike.


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