Quigley Fights for Open Government Reform with Landmark Transparency Bill
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) introduced the Transparency in Government Act (TGA), a wide-ranging good government reform bill that will bring unprecedented access and accountability to the federal government. The comprehensive bill strengthens oversight of federal spending, increases disclosures from both lawmakers and lobbyists, improves judicial transparency and utilizes 21st century technology to expand access to information.
“The public’s trust in government has reached historic lows, causing many Americans to simply give up on Washington,” said Rep. Quigley. “But the mission of government matters, and we can’t lead in the face of this deficit of trust. The Transparency in Government Act shines a light on every branch of the federal government, strengthening our democracy and promoting an efficient, effective and open government.”
VIDEO: Rep. Quigley introduces the Transparency in Government Act in the House of Representatives. If you are having trouble accessing this video, please click here.
Highlights of the bill include:
- Increasing disclosures of Members’ of Congress personal finances, office expenses, gift reports and foreign travel, and improving public access to information by allowing constituents to scrutinize public reports online.
- Making Members’ recorded votes more accessible by requiring the Clerk of the House to publish vote records online in an easily searchable, structured data format, and for Members to include their individual vote record on congressional websites.
- Requiring all congressional committees to post public hearings and markup schedules, related bill language, witness testimony, and audio and video recordings online.
- Increasing public access to Supreme Court proceedings by requiring by law the audio recording of oral arguments and live-streaming of the recordings on the Supreme Court’s website.
- Strengthening the Freedom of Information Act by requiring agencies to put all completed FOIA requests online in a format that is searchable, sortable and downloadable. Also ensures that all agencies utilize the website FOIA Online to log, track and publish the status of requests.
- Allowing the public to know who is meeting with our nation’s highest leaders via improved access to White House and agency head visitor logs.
- Improving oversight of lobbying efforts by establishing new definitions for lobbyists and stricter rules governing how and with whom they meet.
A complete summary of the bill is available here.
TGA has received vocal support from government watchdog and transparency groups, including Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Sunlight Foundation, Data Transparency Coalition, the Center for Responsive Politics, the Center for Effective Government, the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).
Rep. Quigley has made government reform, transparency and fiscal responsibility the cornerstones of his legislative agenda throughout his time in Congress. He is a co-founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Transparency Caucus and has reached across the aisle to introduce bipartisan bills that would provide public access to taxpayer-funded reports written by the Congressional Research Service and federal agencies.