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Transparency

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NEWS
July 24, 2011
". . . how we can use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies. . . . The project coordinator should then determine what sorts of dealings these individuals have with the Federal Government and how we can best screw them (e.g., grant availability, federal contracts, litigation, prosecution, etc.)" - John Dean memo, Aug. 16, 1971 David W. Marston and John Yoo Punishing political enemies? So Nixonian, so last century. Yet, 40 years later, the Obama administration found a good government way to pursue the same objective.
NEWS
June 27, 2011 | By Bruce Shipkowski, Associated Press
TRENTON - A measure that would require New Jersey's government-related authorities, commissions, and other agencies to have an online presence will go before both houses of the Legislature this week. The bill would require the agencies to put certain information online - including financial data and meeting minutes - to provide more transparency about their mission, spending, and activities. It would implement changes recommended by the state comptroller, whose office issued a report that found more than one-third of New Jersey's independent local authorities and commissions did not have websites.
NEWS
February 28, 2012 | Associated Press
Jerry Sandusky's attorney wants the judge in his child-sex-abuse case to delay the start of his trial until mid-July. The former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach filed a motion Monday that says he needs more time to contact and interview witnesses, subpoena records, and hire experts. Sandusky, 68, faces 52 criminal charges that he sexually abused 10 boys over 15 years. He has denied the allegations. Two weeks ago, Judge John Cleland tentatively scheduled jury selection in the trial to start May 14 in the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte.
NEWS
August 26, 2009 | By Cary Coglianese
After the nation endured eight years of an administration with a reputation for excessive secrecy, promoting open government must have seemed like a political slam dunk to our new, basketball-loving president. As a candidate and as president, Barack Obama has promised to bring so much openness to the federal government that one might have expected Washington to be as transparent as a fishbowl. But instead of restoring public confidence in government, Obama's rhetoric on transparency seems to have raised unrealistic expectations.
NEWS
March 28, 2008 | By Kevin Ferris
"An honest government has nothing to fear from transparency. " So said Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal in an address on ethics and spending reforms to his state legislature on Feb. 10. That's right. Jindal intends to give his much-derided state an honest government. When he took office in January, Jindal issued an executive order putting the state's checkbook online - a searchable, user-friendly database that lets citizens see where their tax dollars go. After his February speech, the legislature seconded his order with a bill ensuring the site outlasts a Jindal administration.
NEWS
May 26, 2006 | By Thomas Raleigh
"In war, truth is the first casualty. " - Aeschylus As often as commentators criticize the Bush administration for its failure to sufficiently shape the strategic conditions to succeed in Iraq, others criticize the media for failing to give proportionate attention to positive stories related to the war. Given the nature of the news business, this is unlikely to change. But there is another front in the information war that the military can affect. Instead of letting insurgents and al-Qaeda operatives exploit the rare lapses of U.S. soldiers - or make false accusations about lapses - to boost recruiting or turn public opinion against the coalition, the military needs to take control of this area of operations.
NEWS
February 24, 2015 | HELEN UBINAS, Daily News Columnist ubinas@phillynews.com, 215-854-5943
THE OFFICERS who lined the front of their district headquarters Saturday stood mostly stone-faced as protesters pelted insults at them: Murderers! Pigs! Racists! At one point, a black protester got within a breath's reach of a black officer's face and screamed: Sell-out! If I were a Philadelphia police officer, I'd be furious. And not at the protesters who marched to the 15th District headquarters on Levick Street, demanding answers in the December police-related shooting of Brandon Tate-Brown.
NEWS
March 15, 2012 | By Chris Brennan, Daily News Staff Writer
Apparently immune to irony, new City Council President Darrell L. Clarke on Wednesday promised more transparency in Council's budget and then would not say how it would happen. Clarke, like Council presidents before him, rejects the idea of Council's holding a hearing on its own budget. The question comes up during every budget cycle: Why does Council take nearly two months to ask detailed questions about the budgets of city departments and agencies such as the Mayor's Office, Managing Director's Office, Police and Fire Departments, the Sheriff's Office, and the First Judicial District, but never answers questions about how Council's own budget?
NEWS
April 19, 2013 | By Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvanians could register to vote online, and get quicker access to data about who funds their legislators' campaigns and who spends money to influence policy-making in the Capitol, under a trio of bills passed unanimously Wednesday in the state Senate. It's all in the name of government transparency and efficiency in a state that has made a big push over the last decade to be more open when it comes to open records. The voter bill, sponsored by Sen. Lloyd Smucker (R., Lancaster)
NEWS
October 7, 2011 | BY DAVID GAMBACORTA & CHRIS BRENNAN, gambacd@phillynews.com 215-854-5994
THEY'LL JUST ABOUT bend over backwards in public, like a traveling band of Olympic gymnasts, to show people how serious they are now about transparency and honesty. The School Reform Commission, the School District of Philadelphia, the mayor, state education officials - they all say that they understand how fed up people in this city are from the scandals and controversies, from the overwhelming sense that special interests get served first. Ackerman. Archie. Evans.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
May 4, 2015 | By Jan Hefler, Inquirer Staff Writer
John Paff retreats to a small room in his chilly basement each morning and fires up his computer. Methodically, he lets fly a barrage of e-mails to pry loose confidential documents that local governments and New Jersey agencies closely guard. Disciplinary reports of rogue cops. Dashboard footage of traffic stops. Ethics violations filed against lawyers. Health benefits that part-time officials quietly give themselves. As chair of the Open Government Advocacy Project for the New Jersey Libertarian Party, Paff submits about 700 requests for documents from local governments across the state each year.
NEWS
April 27, 2015 | David Gambacorta, Daily News Staff Writer
GREATER transparency is something every political candidate will promise to bring to the city in exchange for your sweet, delicious vote during the upcoming primary and general elections. But why wait that long for some sunlight? City Council President Darrell Clarke introduced a bill earlier this week that would reveal more information about the big money groups behind some of your favorite local pols. The proposed legislation would require nonprofit organizations, corporations, partnerships and political action committees that spend $5,000 on ads - televised, print, digital, whatever - in favor of a candidate to disclose their spending to the Board of Ethics four times in the weeks leading up to an election.
NEWS
February 24, 2015 | HELEN UBINAS, Daily News Columnist ubinas@phillynews.com, 215-854-5943
THE OFFICERS who lined the front of their district headquarters Saturday stood mostly stone-faced as protesters pelted insults at them: Murderers! Pigs! Racists! At one point, a black protester got within a breath's reach of a black officer's face and screamed: Sell-out! If I were a Philadelphia police officer, I'd be furious. And not at the protesters who marched to the 15th District headquarters on Levick Street, demanding answers in the December police-related shooting of Brandon Tate-Brown.
NEWS
February 20, 2015 | By Helen Ubinas, Daily News Columnist
TANYA BROWN-Dickerson sat listening to her car radio in a Home Depot parking lot when she heard something that sent chills through her. A 26-year-old black man driving a white Dodge Charger had been shot by police during a stop. It took just a few calls to friends and family to confirm that it was her son, Brandon Tate-Brown. That was two months ago. She's since learned little else about her son's death. Yesterday, Brown learned from the Daily News that the police officers involved in the shooting were back on the streets after an internal investigation found that they did not violate departmental policies.
NEWS
January 11, 2015 | By Jessica Parks, Inquirer Staff Writer
Over appeals from a bipartisan chorus of legislators and open-government groups, Gov. Corbett on Friday appointed Erik Arneson, a Republican Senate aide, as director of the state's Office of Open Records. Terry Mutchler had been serving on an interim basis since her six-year term expired in April. The Open Records Office is intended to be independent and nonpartisan, setting policies, advising government agencies on best practices, and hearing appeals when local, county, or state governments decline to provide information that requesters assert should be public.
NEWS
December 5, 2014 | By Jonathan Tamari, Inquirer Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Worried that Hurricane Sandy victims could be shortchanged by what a judge recently called "reprehensible gamesmanship," New Jersey Sens. Robert Menendez and Cory Booker pressed a key federal official Wednesday to force the release of documents that they say could expose deceptive practices by some insurers. Menendez and Booker, both Democrats, met with the Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator, Craig Fugate, after a New York court case ended with a magistrate judge ordering documents to be released to New Yorkers who may have been misled by insurers.
SPORTS
April 24, 2014 | BY FRANK SERAVALLI, Daily News Staff Writer seravaf@phillynews.com
STEVE MASON surprisingly returned to the Flyers' bench last night, less than 24 hours after completely ruling himself out of Game 3 - even as a backup. Mason stood up periodically to stretch in the tunnel leading to the Flyers' dressing room, in uniform for his first Stanley Cup playoff game since April 23, 2009. The stretching turned out to be useful. Mason was summoned from the bench for the final 7 minutes, 15 seconds last night, once the game was firmly in hand for New York.
NEWS
April 21, 2014
After attempting to clear himself in the George Washington Bridge scandal with a report he commissioned, Gov. Christie has relaunched his presidential campaign. Hence his cynical declaration last week that campaign contribution limits should be scrapped. Instead of restrictions, the governor said, there should be quick and thorough disclosure. But Christie has a history of fighting disclosure. He has stonewalled public-records requests, forcing citizens to sue for information. He has used the Republican Governors Association, which he chairs, to travel the nation bolstering his presidential aspirations, while refusing to disclose what the state has spent to enable his security entourage to accompany him on out-of-state political trips.
NEWS
April 6, 2014 | By Lou Rabito, Inquirer Columnist
Corey Sigle followed what happened last fall at Coatesville, where the athletic director and superintendent resigned because of racist text messages allegedly between the two. Sigle was dean of students and wrestling coach at neighboring Downingtown West at the time, and as he put it, with all the coverage the texting exchange received, it was hard not to follow it. "It was shocking. I guess I can say that," Sigle said. "Anytime you have those kinds of things, it's not something good that you want to see in education.
NEWS
July 30, 2013 | BY WILLIAM BENDER, Daily News Staff Writer benderw@phillynews.com, 215-854-5255
IT WAS JANUARY 2009, and the stars seemed to have aligned over Philadelphia, signaling what should have been a Golden Age of government transparency in our erstwhile corrupt-and-contented city. Pennsylvania's new Right-to-Know Law - with its key clause that all government records are presumed to be public - had just gone into effect. No longer must citizens prove why records should be available to the public. Under the strengthened law, government agencies must prove why not . And Philly had elected as mayor a reform-minded councilman, Michael Nutter, who was wrapping up his first year in Room 215. Open government is his thing.
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