May 27th, 2011
FOI DAILY DOSE: Executive order on contractors fought in D.C., Calif. universities grow more transparent
By Morgan Watkins
In D.C., lawmakers fight back against draft exec order
Bills in the House and Senate could preempt a draft executive order by President Obama that would force federal contractors to disclose their political contributions.
The legislation would prohibit the federal government from both collecting and using data about federal contractors’ political expenditures. The House also passed an amendment May 25 to the 2012 defense bill to ban federal departments from collecting such information.
Obama’s draft executive order has received support from open government groups, but has also faced opposition from businesses and members of Congress from both parties.
Calif. universities embrace transparency (with a few caveats)
California State University and the University of California have agreed to withdraw their opposition to public disclosure of campus foundation finances through a compromise with state Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) and various public records supporters.
While state university officials didn’t want to reveal how campus foundations manage almost $2 billion, the compromise allows them to protect the identities of most donors.
The call for disclosure by campus foundations gained media attention in 2010 when CSU Stanislaus hired former Alaska governor and former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin to deliver a speech at a fundraiser but wouldn’t disclose the amount she received until a judge ordered the contract be made public.
CSU and UC will not oppose Senate Bill 8, which was introduced by Yee and would make campus foundations and other operations, such as campus bookstores, to function under the California Public Records Act.
– Morgan Watkins
Morgan Watkins is SPJ’s summer Pulliam/Kilgore Freedom of Information intern and a University of Florida student. Reach her by email (email@example.com) or connect with her on Twitter (@morganwatkins26).
Tags: anti-disclosure, California, California State University, contractors, FOI, Freedom of Information, legislature, Leland Yee, Obama, open government, public records, Sarah Palin, University of California