New Posts

Feb 8, 2016

Top 400 Taxpayers See Tax Rates Rise, But There’s More to the Story

As Americans were gathering party supplies to greet the New Year, the Internal Revenue Service released their annual report of cumulative tax data reported on the 400 tax r...

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Feb 4, 2016

Chlorine Bleach Plants Needlessly Endanger 63 Million Americans

Chlorine bleach plants across the U.S. put millions of Americans in danger of a chlorine gas release, a substance so toxic it has been used as a chemical weapon. Greenpeace’s new repo...

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Jan 25, 2016

U.S. Industrial Facilities Reported Fewer Toxic Releases in 2014

The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data for 2014 is now available. The good news: total toxic releases by reporting facilities decreased by nearly six percent from 2013 levels. Howe...

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Jan 22, 2016

Methane Causes Climate Change. Here's How the President Plans to Cut Emissions by 40-45 Percent.

  UPDATE (Jan. 22, 2016): Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its proposed rule to reduce methane emissions...

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FCC Rule Will Modernize Broadcaster Transparency, Illuminate Money in Politics

On April 27, the Federal Communications Commission approved reforms to modernize the disclosure requirements for broadcasters operating on the public airwaves. The rule will create an online database of TV stations' public files – previously available only by appearing in person at station offices – expanding public access to information about the stations' content, including political advertisements. But even as the rule moves forward, significant loopholes remain that will leave the public in the dark about political ad buys in substantial areas of key states during the current election season.

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DATA Act Passes House, Moves on to Senate

Today, the House passed the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, or DATA Act (H.R. 2146), by a voice vote with strong bipartisan support. The bill to strengthen the transparency of federal government spending was sponsored by Oversight and Government Reform committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and 13 other representatives.

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DATA Act Comes to House Floor

During this period of political gridlock, it's rare to find a bipartisan legislative initiative that we can enthusiastically support. But tomorrow, the House of Representatives will vote on just such a bill, the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act). The DATA Act would greatly enhance federal spending transparency, bringing new datasets online and helping standardize reporting across the government.

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Financial Stability Oversight Council FOIA Rules Show Progress

Last week, the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) issued regulations to implement the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) at the agency. The council was created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to monitor risks to the nation's financial system.

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EPA Releases Open Government Plan 2.0

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other major federal agencies released updated versions of their Open Government Plans on April 9. The EPA’s Open Government Plan 2.0 discusses its ongoing efforts to increase transparency and instill a culture of greater openness through activities designed to increase participation in rulemaking, allow greater public access to EPA data, and speed the processing of Freedom of Information Act requests.

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Updated Agency Plans Show Path toward Culture of Openness

On April 9, numerous federal agencies released new versions of their Open Government Plans, detailing the activities they will undertake to bolster transparency and citizen participation. The latest versions are the second generation of plans; the original plans were published in 2010 in response to President Obama's transparency memo and the administration's Open Government Directive.

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Take Action to Shine a Light on Public Officials' Financial Dealings

Last week, President Obama signed the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, or STOCK Act — a historic piece of open government legislation. OMB Watch staff were there to see it happen and were pleased to witness an important transparency policy becoming law. In moments like this, we realize that our hard work and dedication are paying off!

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Federal Government Increases Online Access to Conflict-of-Interest Data

On March 22, the U.S. Senate passed the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, or STOCK Act, which will put thousands of disclosures from congressional and executive branch officials online for the first time. President Obama will sign the legislation into law on April 4. Many state governments already provide some online access to similar disclosures, and others, such as Maryland, are considering following suit.

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A Look at Transparency in the 21st Century

This afternoon, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's technology subcommittee will host a hearing on using technology to improve transparency under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The hearing will also be an opportunity to examine the Obama administration's performance on implementing FOIA.

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States Releasing Information Online that Can Ensure Public Official Accountability

On March 19, OMB Watch released a new report that evaluates state and federal websites designed to ensure the accountability of public officials. The report, Upholding the Public's Trust: Key Features for Effective State Accountability Websites, examines state efforts to release public officials' integrity information online. Such transparency is crucial to guard against self-dealing and patronage. While states and the federal government have made progress in this area, more work lies ahead.

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Resources & Research

Living in the Shadow of Danger: Poverty, Race, and Unequal Chemical Facility Hazards

People of color and people living in poverty, especially poor children of color, are significantly more likely...

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A Tale of Two Retirements: One for CEOs and One for the Rest of Us

The 100 largest CEO retirement funds are worth a combined $4.9 billion, equal to the entire retirement account savings of 41 percent of American fam...

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