The bipartisan Congressional Transparency Caucus, co-founded by Reps. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. And Mike Quigley, D-Ill., plans to work through education, legislation and oversight to increase the transparency of the federal government. Among its planned initiatives is a push for the information posted on the Internet by the federal government to be searchable and downloadable for free so it’s more accessible and consistent.
Teague had already joined when NMPolitics.net began making inquiries last week to members of the New Mexico delegation. Luján joined Monday, after NMPolitics.net asked his office whether he was planning to join.
New Mexico’s other House member, Democrat Martin Heinrich, is not currently a member but is considering joining, a spokeswoman said.
Teague spokeswoman Kara Kelber said the congressman has already been pushing for increased transparency. He recently introduced legislation that would require committee chairs and ranking members to certify whether they have any financial interest in a witness appearing before their committee.
Kelber said the legislation will be included in a freshman-class package of reforms that’s being assembled. That legislation will also include a proposal to permanently prohibit giving earmarks to for-profit organizations.
In all, 16 Democrats and 13 Republicans had joined the transparency caucus as of Monday. The Sunlight Foundation has set up an advisory committee to help the caucus in its work.
One candidate running for a House seat in New Mexico has pledged to join the caucus if elected. Adam Kokesh, one of two Republicans vying for the right to take on Luján in November, pledged his support for the efforts of Issa and Quigley in a news release.
“Transparency and accountability in government are important tools to root out corruption and cut waste, fraud and abuse,” Kokesh said. “Good government policies need transparency and the protection of whistleblowers for a more accountable and responsive government.”