"politics"

Whistleblowers 'Hung Out to Dry' →

Stars may be aligning for transparency legislation →

Report: Retaliation by Supervisors Common at VA →

A $398 billion project for 2,443 F-35s (that’s the cost for the initial purchase; upkeep could run over a trillion dollars) that don’t actually work can be officially called a boondoggle. So why is Congress still committed to the F-35?

The answer lies with Lockheed Martin’s suave contracting strategy. What the company has done is incorporate subcontractors all over America (across forty-five states, in fact) into the process of manufacturing the F-35, keeping Congress more invested in funneling tax payer dollars to certain favored constituents than in offering said taxpayers a functioning plane. As former Pentagon acquisitions official Thomas Christie told Foreign Policy earlier this month, “An upfront question with any program is: How many congressional districts is it in?”

The F-35 is in being built in a lot of congressional districts. Which explains why the dysfunctional plane has its own caucus in Congress, creatively named the Joint Strike Fighter Caucus.

Boondoggles like these are more than just examples of Congressional incompetence, or even of corporate greed. They illustrate something very fundamental about how our government works: its primary function, at this point, is to funnel public money to corporations. As the last thirty years of America’s economic history as shown us, this grand transaction doesn’t necessarily equate to more jobs or rising salaries or a stronger middle class.

And unfortunately, in this instance, it doesn’t even mean that we get what we paid for.

Blackwater and the “Subservient” State Department →

President Obama Can (and Should) Embrace the FOIA Improvements Act →

The IRS isn’t the only agency with an e-mail problem →

Read more.

CIA and Congress Clash Over Classified Report on Interrogation Program - WSJ →

""I am neither Democrat nor Republican nor ideological," he told a Wall Street Journal reporter recently over a 7:15 a.m. meeting at CIA headquarters. "I’m an equal opportunity offender."

Partly as a result, relations between the CIA and Congress are more fraught than at any point in the past decade. The source of the tension is the Senate intelligence committee’s classified report on the CIA’s controversial post-9/11 interrogation program—and the agency’s response to it.”

campaignmoney:

National Journal: 

"It’s going to be a little more difficult to ferret out which members of Congress are lavished with all-expenses-paid trips around the world after the House has quietly stripped away the requirement that such privately sponsored travel be included on lawmakers’ annual financial-disclosure forms.

"The move, made behind closed doors and without a public announcement by the House Ethics Committee, reverses more than three decades of precedent."

POGO and Coalition Express Strong Support for Bill Limiting Self-Dealing in Congress →

A coalition of organizations devoted to government accountability expressed strong support for the Making Every Representative’s Integrity Transparent Act of 2014 (MERIT Act), legislation introduced in the House of Representatives last Thursday by Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA).

In a letter to Rep. Speier, eleven nonpartisan organizations and a campaign finance expert described the MERIT Act as a “smart, common-sense approach… to addressing instances where politicians inappropriately benefit from political activities.”

Read more.