Legislative Proposals for Fostering Transparency

Full House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Full House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Hearing Date: March 23, 2017 10:30 am 2154 Rayburn HOB

TAKEAWAYS:
  • The Fannie & Freddie Open Records Act of 2017 would allow taxpayers to make Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests while the entities are in conservatorship under the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
  • The Open Government DATA Act gives taxpayers access to federal data, in non-proprietary formats. It would make all government data in an open, machine-readable format to be published on data.gov.
  • The Federal Reserve Transparency Act would allow the Government Accountability Office to conduct audits of the Fed’s deliberations of monetary policy and its interactions with foreign banks and countries.

PURPOSE:

  • To discuss transparency related to government data, audits, and FOIA.
  • To consider legislative proposals that hold governmental entities more accountable to taxpayers.

BACKGROUND:

  • The committee held this hearing as part of Sunshine Week, a national initiative to promote the importance of open government.
  • Members discussed legislation that fosters government openness by subjecting federal entities and federally owned government-sponsored entities to more transparent measures.
KEY VIDEOS:
Chairman Chaffetz (R-UT): “To members on both sides – what are we afraid of in terms of exposing the liabilities that Fannie and Freddie are creating for us? There are exorbitant sums of money going out the door again that the American taxpayers are liable for.”

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY): “An organization entrusted with daily decisions that affect the value of Americans’ paychecks and the value of their retirement savings, an organization whose mission has morphed into facilitating the bail out of foreign banks, folks, this is an organization that requires a full audit and full oversight from the elected body that created it.”

Interior, Energy and Environment Subcommitee Chairman Farenthold (R-TX): “Americans’ tax dollars went to create [government data], the American people ought to have easy access to this data.”

Witnesses and testimonies

Name Title Organization Panel Document
Mr. Hudson Hollister Founder and Executive Director The Data Coalition Document
Mr. Norman Singleton President Campaign for Liberty Document
Mr. John Berlau Senior Fellow Competitive Enterprise Institute Document
Mr. Thomas Fitton President Judicial Watch Document
Richard Painter Professor of Law University of Minnesota Twin Cities Document

Related Documents

Name Document
OPEN Government Data Act Document
Federal Reserve Transparency Act Document
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Open Records Act of 2017 Document