Library of Congress Summary
The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
Transparency in Government Act of 2011 - Amends the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to revise or prescribe requirements for greater disclosure and electronic filing of personal financial information by Members of Congress and congressional officers and employees.
Amends Rule XXVI (Financial Disclosure) of the Rules of the House of Representatives to require the Clerk of the House and the Secretary of the Senate to make each financial quarterly report filed by a Member, congressional officer, or employee available within 48 hours after its receipt on the Clerk's or Secretary's website.
Amends Rule X (Organization of Committees) to require reports filed on foreign travel with the chair of a committee to be posted on the committee's Internet site within 48 hours after their receipt.
Amends Rule XXV (Limitations on Outside Earned Income and Acceptance of Gifts) to require all advance authorizations, certifications, and gift reports filed with the Clerk to be posted publicly on the Clerk's Internet site within 48 hours after their receipt.
Amends Rule XXIII (Code of Official Conduct) to require any Member who requests a congressional earmark, a limited tax benefit, or a limited tariff benefit to post on his or her public website, within 24 hours after making such request, and for the remainder of the Congress:
(1) the name and address of the intended recipient;
(2) whether the recipient is a for-profit or not-for-profit entity;
(3) the requested congressional earmark amount; and
(4) an explanation of the request, including the purpose, and why it is a valuable use of taxpayer funds.
Amends Rule XI (Procedures of Committees and Unfinished Business) to require any committee that accepts a Member's request for a congressional earmark or a limited tax or tariff benefit to maintain a public website with an earmark disclosure webpage that contains specified earmark information.
Requires the Clerk, the Secretary, and the chairs of specified congressional committees to create one centralized database where all requests for earmarks and limited tax and tariff benefits are publicly available on the Internet. Amends Rule XI to require each committee to post on its Internet website its public hearings and markup schedules, as well as those of its subcommittees, at the same time that information is made available to members of the committee.
Requires a committee or subcommittee to post on its Internet website, within 24 hours after ordering any bill or resolution to be reported, all amendments agreed to, except technical or conforming amendments.
Amends Rule II (Other Officers and Officials) to require:
(1) the House Committees to provide to the Clerk a list of all committee and subcommittee public hearings and markup schedules, including links to committee websites; and
(2) the Clerk to post such information on the Clerk's website.
Prescribes requirements for increased transparency of recorded votes.
Requires the Clerk to make the following Congressional Research Service (CRS) information publicly available on the Internet:
(1) CRS Issue Briefs,
(2) CRS Reports that are available to Members through the CRS website, and
(3) CRS Authorization of Appropriations and Appropriations Products. Exempts from this requirement information deemed confidential by the Director of CRS and confidential research requests made by an individual, office, or committee.
Lobbyist Disclosure Enhancement Act - Requires the Attorney General to establish the Lobbying Disclosure Act Enforcement Task Force, which shall have primary responsibility for investigating and prosecuting cases referred to him under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (LDA). Requires the Task Force to:
(1) collect and disseminate information on the enforcement of such Act;
(2) audit at least annually the extent of compliance with such Act; and
(3) establish, publicize, and operate a toll-free telephone hotline for members of the public to report noncompliance with lobbyist disclosure requirements.
Amends the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 to:
(1) require notifications of noncompliance of lobbyist disclosure requirements to the Attorney General (instead of to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia);
(2) amend the definition of "lobbyist" under such Act to eliminate the exemption from such Act of certain lobbyists who work for a client on a part-time basis;
(3) require lobbyists to register with the Senate and House of Representatives within 5 days after a lobbying contact (currently, 45 days); and
(4) expand disclosure requirements relating to contacts with executive and legislative branch officials and political contributions.
Amends the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 to provide transparency in federal contracting by revising the application programming interface and data elements of the federal funding website established by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Requires each Inspector General (IG) to:
(1) audit annually for the previous fiscal year the data used on the website created by this Act for the IG's federal agency, in compliance with generally accepted federal auditing standards; and
(2) report on such audit to OMB. Requires OMB to:
(1) revise OMB guidance to federal agencies on reporting federal awards, and
(2) ensure that the unique identifier used to link information on the searchable website about the award recipient is also used to link information about that recipient on the Federal Awardee Performance Integrity Information System. Amends the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2009 to revise or prescribe requirements for the System's database.
Prescribes compliance requirements for federal contractors for procurement of property or services in excess of:
(1) the simplified acquisition threshold; or
Requires the IG of the General Services Administration (GSA) to study the use of identifying numbers for federal awardees to:
(1) determine if the current system of awardee identifying numbers is adequately tracking federal awardees,
(2) assess the feasibility of developing a new unique identification system, and
(3) determine whether the new system would more effectively track federal awardees.
Prescribes requirements for:
(1) disclosure of federal sponsorship of all federal advertising or other communications paid for by certain federal agencies, either directly or through a contract awarded by such agencies; and
(2) digital access to completed agency responses to requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA requests).