Government

Congress Doesn't Want You To Read These Reports

More evidence of Congress' ineffectiveness comes in its ongoing failure to keep its secrets actually secret. Its official policy is to keep the Congressional Research Service from publicly releasing the handy explainers it produces at taxpayer expense. Thanks again to the Federation of American Scientists' Government Secrecy Project for unauthorized publication of these reports.

Report Lists State Open Data Policies and Portals

The federal government offers a launch pad for a range of journalistic projects, giving you one-click shopping for online state data portals where they exist. These portals bring together links to data from multiple agencies in a single state. Now, the nonprofit Center for Data Innovation has catalogued and rated state open-data policies.

EPA Promises to Look into Muzzling of Advisory Panel Scientists

In an August 15 email, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Chief of Staff Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming said EPA Science Advisor Bob Kavlock would review complaints from journalism (including SEJ) and open-government groups that scientists on EPA advisory panels were being told not to answer news-media or congressional inquiries without permission.

U.S. Agency: West Virginia DHHR Can’t Handle Chemical Incidents

"CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Department of Health and Human Resources lacks a program and properly trained staff to assess community-wide chemical exposures like those that followed the Elk River chemical leak in January, federal public health officials said in a new review made public Tuesday."

Source: Charleston Gazette, 08/20/2014

White House Issues "Non-Response" to 38 J-Groups on Spin Complaint

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest responded belatedly on August 11, 2014 to 38 journalism groups, including SEJ, that had complained on July 8, 2014, about Obama administration press offices blocking journalists' access to federal officials. But it was a "non-response," according to SPJ president David Cuillier.

EPA Muzzles Advisory Board Scientists

Journalism and science groups, including SEJ, protested an August 12, 2014, "don't talk" memo from EPA's chief of staff. The memo makes it clear: members of the agency's many science advisory panels are not to talk to the news media or Congress without permission. Attached to the memo was an "EPA Policy" restricting communications between Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) committee members and parties outside EPA.

"Lobbyists Use Secretive White House Office To Block Gov't Regs"

"When Washington lobbyists fail to derail regulations proposed by federal agencies, they often find a receptive ear within the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, an arm of the White House Office of Management and Budget that conducts much of its business in secret."

Source: ProPublica, 08/04/2014

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