The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is currently seeking comment on a proposed rule (published Sept. 19) that would require mutual fund companies to publicly disclose documents related to proxy voting, in which the company votes as a shareholder on behalf of mutual fund owners.
Public comments on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's proposal to limit public access to "critical energy infrastructure information" are due this Thursday, Nov. 14.
FERC granted an extension to the original deadline, as reported in a previous issue of the Watcher, in response to a request filed by American Rivers and members of the Hydropower Reform Coalition (HRC). FERC's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was issued on Sept. 5, 2002, and published in the Federal Register on Sept. 13 in Docket Nos. RM02-4-000 and PL02-1-000.
The Pew Internet and American Life Project, in conjunction with the National League of Cities -- a municipal organization consisting of 1,800 cities and towns, released a report on October 2 on how local officials use the Internet for dealing with constituents online. The study suggests that localities may have embraced online technology out of necessity more so than their federal counterparts, but that a significant disconnect exists with respect to the expectations and attitudes of local officials and their constituents, as they address community issues.
In one of several lawsuits brought against the Bush administration for its failure to disclose key documents relating to its energy task force, a federal judge ordered the Bush administration to turn over the documents for the second time; the same ruling was previously made in August, according to the Washington Post.
Concerned about the current administration?s preference for policies of secrecy and information restriction OMB Watch recently issued a working paper entitled "The Bush Administration?s Secrecy Policy: A Call to Action to Protect Democratic Values" detailing the growth of secrecy in government, its impact and current public opinion on increased secrecy. The paper concludes with a call to action that emphasizes the need to build a coordinated campaign that not only addresses the increased secrecy, but also promotes strengthening the public's right-to-know.
The U.S. Department of Education recently sparked controversy in the education and research communities for its decision to both remove and delete information from its agency websites, in the interests of consolidating information and making it more usable and accessible to the public. Critics charge that it is both an effort to remove information with which the Bush Administration does not agree, and symptomatic of broader long-standing problems facing intra- and inter-agency electronic document and records management.
On October 9, 2002, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) announced it was granting a 30-day extension for public comments on the Commission's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued September 5, 2002, and published in the Federal Register on September 13, 2002 in Docket Nos. RM02-4-000 and PL02-1-000.