POLICY

2013-2014 Legislative and Executive Branch Policy Priorities

Released October 2013

CREW’s legislative and executive branch policy priorities for 2013-2014 reflect broad themes of transparency and accountability. Our priorities are organized by topic. Download the PDF.

 

MONEY IN POLITICS

Congress and the FEC should close loopholes that allow anonymous transmission of money for political activities through non-profit organizations.

Congress and the IRS should improve non-profit organization transparency by requiring free public access to non-profit organization tax data in bulk as well as IRS disclosure of non-granular statistical information on investigations into non-profit activities.

The president should nominate and the Senate should confirm candidates to the Federal Election Commission.

The Securities and Exchange Commission should require corporations disclose to shareholders information on expenditures for political activities.

Congress should require disclosure of donors and donations to presidential libraries.

 

FOIA REFORM

Congress should advance broad-based FOIA reform legislation that narrows exemptions, reduces delays, addresses fees, strengthens the FOIA ombudsman (OGIS), embraces proactive disclosure, and supports online request tracking and document publication.

 

SECRET LAW AND NATIONAL SECURITY

Congress should require the Department of Justice to provide public access to Office of Legal Counsel opinions. The White House should direct the Justice Department to release opinions that are currently withheld or publish unclassified summaries.

Congress should create a “Church Committee” to review intelligence community activities.

Congress should provide public access to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court opinions. The Executive Branch should promptly declassify and publish opinions.

Surveillance laws, such as the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act, should be reviewed for overreach and be modified or eliminated accordingly.

 

PUBLIC ACCESS TO INFORMATION HELD BY CONGRESS

Congress should require all federal agency reports submitted to the House or Senate be publicly disclosed on a central website.

The House or Senate should publish Congressional Research Service reports.

Congress should contemporaneously publish online bulk data containing information on legislation, committee documents, meeting schedules, and votes in a structured format.

House and Senate Rules should reflect transparency and ethics priorities.

House Statement of Disbursements and Senate Statement on Receipts and Expenditures should be published online in machine-readable formats.

 

FEDERAL SPENDING TRANSPARENCY

Congress should require timely public availability of federal spending information in machine-processable formats that lend themselves to analysis and identification of waste, fraud, and abuse.

The Office of Management and Budget should publish all agency “congressional justifications” on its website alongside budget requests.

 

LOBBYING DISCLOSURE

Congress should reform federal lobbying rules to eliminate loopholes, strengthen reporting requirements, and require greater reporting of lobbying and lobbying support activities.

Congress should require greater disclosure around efforts to gather political intelligence.

The Department of Justice should disclose reports of foreign lobbying activities in a machine-readable format.

The White House should require the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs to promptly and completely disclose lobbying information.

 

ETHICS AND CORRUPTION

The House should fully fund the Office of Congressional Ethics, re-establish it under a resolution, and grant it subpoena powers.

Congress should require House and Senate ethics documents maintained for public use by the Clerk of the House and the Senate Office of Public Records be published online.

Congress should disclose all guidance from congressional ethics committees, the Committee on House Administration, and the Senate Rules Committee.

Congress should pass legislation closing judicially created loopholes that allow corrupt politicians to avoid accountability.

Legislative efforts to weaken the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act should be defeated.

 

THE JUDICIARY

Congress should require the Administrative Office of the Courts to publish all judicial disclosures online in a machine-readable format.

Congress should require the Administrative Office of the Courts to provide free online access to court opinions and orders maintained on the PACER website.

 

112th Congress Review

We took stock of how the 112th Congress performed on issues of concern to CREW. Read it here.

 


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