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Category Archives: Legal Research

WaPo – Reporters say federal officials, data increasingly off limit

Access Denied – : “Tensions between reporters and public information officers — “hacks and flacks” in the vernacular — aren’t new, of course. Reporters have always wanted more information than government officials have been willing or able to give. But journalists say the lid has grown tighter under the Obama administration, whose chief executive promised in 2009 to bring “an unprecedented level of openness” to the federal government. The frustrations boiled over last summer in a letter to President Obama signed by 38 organizations representing journalists and press-freedom advocates. The letter decried “politically driven suppression of news and information about federal agencies” by spokesmen. “We consider these restrictions a form of censorship — an attempt to control what the public is allowed to see and hear,” the groups wrote. They asked for “a clear directive” from Obama “telling federal employees they’re not only free to answer questions from reporters and the public, but actually encouraged to do so.”

New GAO Reports – Federal Protective Service, Info Technology and Copyright Office, Children’s Health Insurance

Federal Protective Service: More Effective Management Needed in Delegating Security Authority to Agencies, GAO-15-271: Published: Mar 31, 2015. Publicly Released: Mar 31, 2015: “FPS lacks reliable data, as called for by federal Standards for Internal Control, to accurately identify all the delegations FPS is responsible for managing and overseeing to ensure the protection of federalContinue Reading

Consumer Watchdog Welcomes Senate Probe of FTC’s Google Antitrust Investigation

News release: “Consumer Watchdog today welcomed plans by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) to examine the Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust investigation of Google that was closed in 2013 without a lawsuit. After the Wall Street Journal earlier this month published portions of a 2012 FTC report recommending the Commission prosecute Google, Consumer Watchdog urged Chairman LeeContinue Reading

Open Government Guide

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: “The Open Government Guide is a complete compendium of information on every state’s open records and open meetings laws. Each state’s section is arranged according to a standard outline, making it easy to compare laws in various states. If you’re a new user of this guide, be sureContinue Reading

Public Sector Unions & the First Amendment after Harris v. Quinn and Burwell v. Hobby Lobby

Tang, Aaron, Public Sector Unions & the First Amendment after Harris v. Quinn and Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (March 28, 2015). New York University Law Review, Forthcoming. Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2586491 “When the Supreme Court struck down the so-called contraceptive mandate in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, it rested its ruling on theContinue Reading

CFPB Takes Action Against “Bad Check” Debt Collector

“Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced an enforcement action against a nationwide debt collection operation and its chief executive officer for using deceptive threats of criminal prosecution and jail time in order to intimidate consumers into paying debts for bounced checks. The company also misled consumers into believing that they must enroll inContinue Reading

What Went Wrong with the FISA Court

Brennan Center for Justice – What Went Wrong with the FISA Court by Elizabeth (Liza) Goitein, Faiza Patel, March 18, 2015. “The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court is no longer serving its constitutional function of providing a check on the executive branch’s ability to obtain Americans’ private communications. Dramatic shifts in technology and law haveContinue Reading

Cybersecurity and Information Sharing: Legal Challenges and Solutions

Cybersecurity and Information Sharing: Legal Challenges and Solutions, Andrew Nolan, Legislative Attorney. March 16, 2015. “Over the course of the last year, a host of cyberattacks has been perpetrated on a number of high profile American companies. The high profile cyberattacks of 2014 and early 2015 appear to be indicative of a broader trend: theContinue Reading

US leads upward trend in arms exports, Asian and Gulf states arms imports up

“The United States has taken a firm lead as the major arms exporter globally, according to new data on international arms transfers published today by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Overall, the volume of international transfers of major conventional weapons grew by 16 per cent between 2005–2009 and 2010–14. The volume of US exportsContinue Reading

Constitution Annotated

Via Congress.gov – “The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation (popularly known as the Constitution Annotated) contains legal analysis and interpretation of the United States Constitution, based primarily on Supreme Court case law. This regularly updated resource is especially useful when researching the constitutional implications of a specific issue or topic.Continue Reading

RAND – A Database of U.S. Security Treaties and Agreements

RAND – “Treaties and agreements are powerful foreign policy tools that the United States uses to build and solidify relationships with partners and to influence the behavior of other states. As a result, the overall U.S. portfolio of treaties and agreements can offer insight into the distribution and depth of U.S. commitments internationally, including itsContinue Reading

White House Office of Administration Not Subject to FOIA Regulations

Removal of Published Rules To Align Published Policy with Current Sources of Law – A Rule by the Administration Office, Executive Office of the President on 03/17/2015. Final rule. “The Executive Office of the President, Office of Administration, is removing regulations from the Code of Federal Regulations related to the status of records created andContinue Reading