The House of Representatives has an Inspector General that is authorized to provide independent, nonpartisan investigations into the House’s operations, but over the years that office’s findings have become largely shrouded from public view. In what ways has it become less transparent? How many reports does the office issue and what do they cover?

We looked at all the public records we could find since the IG’s office was created in 1992.

Our findings:

  • Initially, many of the House Inspector General’s reports were made publicly available on its website, but now there is very little public information concerning the office’s…


Unnoticed elsewhere but celebrated here, the Library of Congress must update its website to include a unified calendar for Senate and House of Representatives committee hearings and markups. The deadline is 90 days after enactment of the Legislative Branch Appropriations bill, which was on September 21, which means it must be up by Friday, December 21st.

Civil society has long asked the Library of Congress to publish a unified calendar, but had no success in convincing the Library. …


A subset of current CRS reports was published online by the Library of Congress on Tuesday. While federal law mandated the Library publish by September 18 any non-confidential final written work product of CRS containing research or analysis in any format that is available for general congressional access and that was published after the date of enactment of the legislation on the CRS Congressional Intranet, CRS published only the R series reports, totalling in the low six hundreds. …


On the 231st anniversary of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention signing the U.S. Constitution, we’re pleased to share the good news that Cornell’s Legal Information Institute (LII) will today publish Congress’s legal treatise that explains how the Supreme Court interprets the Constitution.

The treatise, known as the Constitution Annotated, is prepared by the Library of Congress’s Congressional Research Service and is published by the Government Publishing Office. Unfortunately, they do this poorly, as we describe below. …


Source: Roger W

Improving the House’s rules is the focus of a new letter and white paper released today. It’s no secret that Congress is struggling; these reforms are aimed at making it easier for Members to legislate, conduct oversight, and address constituent concerns.

The letter sets out 10 principles for reforming the House rules, endorsed by 20 organizations and 8 experts on Congress. The white paper contains scores of specific reforms: from addressing staff retention to improving the committee process, from giving Congress access to first class technology to rethinking the ethics process. …


Rep. Collins was arrested for insider trading every news outlet on earth reported, but that’s not the most interesting part. Immediately after his arrest, Speaker Ryan released a statement that said, in passive voice, “Until this matter is settled, Rep. Collins will not be serving on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.” Multiple news outlets described what happened as Ryan stripping Collins of his committee membership. At least in a technical sense, that’s not possible.

As CRS has explained, the Speaker can remove members of select committees and conference committees at any time, and internal party rules require an indicted…


The Congressional Transparency Caucus will host a briefing on foreign lobbying on July 25th at 2pm in Rayburn 2456. RSVP here.

Rep. Mike Quigley will be giving opening remarks. Panelists will include:

  • Carrie Levine, Senior Political Reporter, Project on Public Integrity
  • Lydia Dennett, Investigator, Project on Government Oversight (POGO)
  • Daniel Schuman, policy director, Demand Progress Action
  • Tom Susman, Director of Government Affairs, the American Bar Association

Here is the announcement from Rep. Mike Quigley, caucus co-chair, in his “Dear Colleague” letter.

Transparency Caucus Briefing: Shining a Light on Foreign Lobbying

Dear Colleague,

Please join me at the next Transparency Caucus briefing titled “Shining a Light on Foreign Lobbying.”

Revelations…


Civil society, students, librarians, and the general public were elated when Congress decided to make the non-confidential non-partisan reports issued by the Congressional Research Service publicly available. These reports are often referred to as the gold standard for information concerning the issues before Congress.

We have obtained the Library of Congress’s implementation plan to make CRS reports available to the public, as required by 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Law. Unfortunately, it does not comport with the law or best practices for creating websites and is unusually expensive.

Today we release the Library’s May 22, 2018, CRS website implementation plan and civil…


The Senate Appropriations committee provided $2 million to the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) to enhance the website Oversight.gov, which provides a central repository for Inspector General reports from dozens of federal Inspectors General.

The website currently is funded through a pass-the-hat mechanism, where each Inspector General kicks in some money to help pay for CIGIE. This appropriation, which is made to the GSA Inspector General but is directed towards CIGIE, is the first time there is a direct appropriation for CIGIE’s work. (Disclosure: we submitted testimony in support of a direct appropriation for Oversight.gov…


by Daniel Schuman and Adeeb Sahar

The Department of Justice is withholding from online publication 39% (or 201) of its 509 Office of Legal Counsel opinions promulgated between 1998 and 2012, according to a Sunlight Foundation analysis. This apparently conflicts with agency guidance on releasing opinions to the public as well as best practices recommended by former Justice Department officials.

OLC opinions are the Justice Department’s authoritative legal advice to the executive branch on questions central to the functioning of government. …

Daniel Schuman

@DemandProgress policy director & @CongressData co-founder. +1 for #opengov, #civictech, #smartergov, and serial commas. Opinions are mine, all mine. Mwahaha.

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