Quigley Introduces Transparency in Government Act
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representatives Mike Quigley (IL-05), Jackie Speier (CA-14), and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09) introduced the Transparency in Government Act (TGA), to increase access, accountability, and transparency of every branch of the federal government. TGA would modernize public access to information by utilizing 21st century technology, strengthening oversight of federal spending, increasing financial disclosures of both lawmakers and lobbyists, and improving judicial transparency.
TGA’s introduction is timed with this year’s Sunshine Week, bringing awareness to the need for a more transparent, open, and accountable government.
“Over the last five years, public trust in government has hit historic lows because of a lack of accountability. Since coming to Washington, I’ve made it my mission to restore the public‘s trust in government,” said Rep. Quigley. “Now is the time for Congress to win back the trust of the American people by making our government more transparent, open, and accountable. The Transparency in Government Act does just that, by creating a more accessible and open government that shines light on every branch of government, strengthens our democracy, and encourages an efficient, open government.”
“The American people need access to this information,” said Rep. Speier. “The only sure guarantee of a clean government is transparency. Every citizen should be able to easily find out how their elected officials are spending taxpayer money, what they are saying about legislation behind closed doors, and who they are taking gifts from. Elected officials have no good excuse for keeping this information secret.”
“Washington is broken, and the public’s trust in government is at an all-time low," said Rep. Sinema. "The Transparency in Government Act includes commonsense reforms that hold our government officials accountable and create the open, honest government that Arizonans expect and deserve.”
The Transparency in Government Act:
- Increases disclosures of Members’ of Congress personal finances, office expenses, gift reports and foreign travel, and improves public access to information by publishing reports online.
- Makes 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.
- Requires all congressional committees to post public hearings and markup schedules, related bill language, witness testimony, and audio and video recordings online.
- Increases public access to Supreme Court proceedings by requiring by law the proceedings of the court be audio and video recorded and made available on the Supreme Court’s website.
- Strengthens the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 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 FOIA Online website to log, track and publish the status of requests.
- Allows the public to know who is meeting with our nation’s highest leaders via improved access to White House and agency head visitor logs.
- Improves oversight of lobbying efforts by establishing new definitions for lobbyists and stricter rules governing how and with whom they meet.
This is the fourth time Rep. Quigley has introduced TGA. A complete summary of the bill is available here.
Committed to bringing transparency to the judicial branch, Rep. Quigley held a Transparency Caucus Briefing in January on the need for video and live audio of Supreme Court cases. At the briefing, titled “Broadcasting Justice,” Rep. Quigley announced that he would lead a letter to Chief Justice John Roberts urging the Supreme Court to allow video and live audio in light of upcoming same-sex marriage cases.
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.