NPR: Irregularities In COVID Reporting Contract Award Process Raise New Questions

NPR: Irregularities In COVID Reporting Contract Award Process Raise New Questions. “An NPR investigation has found irregularities in the process by which the Trump administration awarded a multi-million dollar contract to a Pittsburgh company to collect key data about COVID-19 from the country’s hospitals. The contract is at the center of a controversy over the administration’s decision to move that data reporting function from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — which has tracked infection information for a range of illnesses for years — to the Department of Health and Human Services.”

Washington Post: Scathing SBA watchdog report details ‘pervasive’ fraud in coronavirus disaster-loan program

Washington Post: Scathing SBA watchdog report details ‘pervasive’ fraud in coronavirus disaster-loan program. “A federal watchdog reported Tuesday that it has identified $250 million in taxpayer-subsidized coronavirus loan funds given to ‘potentially ineligible recipients,’ pointing to a strong likelihood of widespread fraud in an important but troubled economic assistance program. The Small Business Administration’s office of inspector general launched numerous investigations after receiving more than 1,000 hotline complaints about potentially fraudulent transactions, according to a report released Tuesday. It also criticized the agency for allegedly failing to put in place internal controls to prevent abuse.”

Politico: A watchdog out of Trump’s grasp unleashes wave of coronavirus audits

Politico: A watchdog out of Trump’s grasp unleashes wave of coronavirus audits. “By the end of April, at least 30 CARES Act reviews and audits — ‘engagements,’ per GAO lingo — are expected to be underway, according to interviews with senior investigators. Topics will range from the government’s handling of coronavirus testing to its distribution of medical equipment, and from the nation’s food supply to nursing home infections and any missteps in distributing the emergency cash payments that began landing in millions of Americans’ bank accounts this week. The office’s top fraud investigator said it’s already received a complaint about a check landing in the account of a deceased person.”

Chicago Tribune: Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs law requiring additional disclosure from lobbyists

Chicago Tribune: Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs law requiring additional disclosure from lobbyists. “When the General Assembly approved the measure last month, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle described it as a small step toward fixing state government ethics laws amid an ongoing federal corruption probe that has ensnared Democratic politicians from Chicago City Hall to the Capitol in Springfield. The law, effective immediately, also requires the secretary of state to create a combined online database for information on lobbyists, campaign contributions and public officials’ annual statements of economic interest.”

Block Club Chicago: Has Your Alderman Been Indicted? New Website Highlights The History Of Corruption In City Hall — And Hopes You’ll Hold New Leaders Accountable

Block Club Chicago: Has Your Alderman Been Indicted? New Website Highlights The History Of Corruption In City Hall — And Hopes You’ll Hold New Leaders Accountable. “Currently, there’s one sitting alderman that is under federal indictment. Sadly, ending up in jail is a common occurrence for Chicago’s leaders — and now South Side journalism lab City Bureau is making it easier for residents to know if their elected alderman is in trouble with he law. City Bureau’s new website… includes information on the aldermen who lead all 50 of Chicago’s wards, as well as the history of political corruption in each ward. Simply plug in your address and find out what your alderman (past or present) has been up to.”

State of Michigan: New Study Guide Enables Educators to Teach the Lessons of Flint

State of Michigan: New Study Guide Enables Educators to Teach the Lessons of Flint. “‘Here’s to Flint.’ With that line, the city of Flint officially shut off the water flowing from Detroit and shifted to pulling its drinking water from the Flint River. The date was April 25, 2014. Five years later, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights has released a new study guide designed to help educators teach the lessons of the Flint water crisis.”

The Diplomat: YouTube Emerges as a New Tool for South Korean Whistleblowers

The Diplomat: YouTube Emerges as a New Tool for South Korean Whistleblowers. “It is an undeniable fact that YouTube has become a daily obsession for many people worldwide. The platform is used by 1.8 billion logged-in users each month, and that figure is only growing. In South Korea, however, YouTube is emerging as more than an entertainment hub. The video platform is becoming a new channel for whistleblowers.”

Techdirt: Malaysian Government Decides To Dump Its Terrible Anti-Fake News Law

Techdirt: Malaysian Government Decides To Dump Its Terrible Anti-Fake News Law. “Malaysia’s government seized upon the term ‘fake news’ as a way to silence coverage of internal corruption. The new law gave the government a way to steer narratives and control negative coverage, going beyond its already-tight control of local media. It would have worked out well for Prime Minister Najib Razak, who was facing a lot of negative coverage over the sudden and unexplained appearance of $700 million in his bank account. Razak is no longer Prime Minister.”

Premium Times Nigeria: CSOs to establish database on corruption cases

Premium Times Nigeria: CSOs to establish database on corruption cases. “Say No Campaign, a coalition of some civil society organisations, says plans are underway by the organisation to establish database of corruption cases across the country to enhance investigation. One of the conveners of the group, Jaye Gaskiya, stated this in Abuja on Wednesday when the group visited the National President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, in Abuja.”

The Verge: 200,000 Died In Guatemala’s Civil War — This Digital Archive Is Finally Bringing Families Closure

The Verge: 200,000 Died In Guatemala’s Civil War — This Digital Archive Is Finally Bringing Families Closure. “An estimated 200,000 people were killed, and 45,000 more disappeared, during Guatemala’s 36-year civil war, which ended in 1996. A truth commission later found the state to be responsible for 93 percent of the human rights abuses during that time. And the 80 million pages of police documents currently being cataloged and digitized reveal incriminating details of how forced disappearances were carried out by the state.”

Library of Congress: Library and WGBH Acquire Historic TV Coverage of Senate Watergate Hearings

Library of Congress: Library and WGBH Acquire Historic TV Coverage of Senate Watergate Hearings . “The Library of Congress and Boston public broadcaster WGBH announced today that gavel-to-gavel television coverage of the Senate Watergate hearings in 1973, donated to the Library by WETA Washington, D.C., has been digitally preserved and made available online. Produced by the National Public Affairs Center for Television (NPACT), the hearings were taped during the day and rebroadcast every evening on public television for 51 days, from May 17 to Nov. 15. These broadcasts became one of the most popular series in public broadcasting history.”

U of Texas at Austin: Researcher to build Latin American corruption database sourced from newspaper coverage

University of Texas at Austin: Researcher to build Latin American corruption database sourced from newspaper coverage. “Corruption, a common concern among citizens and journalists from several Latin American countries, will be the theme of an exclusive index for the region that plans to launch next month. Daily Corruption: News Feed & Database will provide quantitative and qualitative data on a range of relative variables for ongoing cases in 29 Latin American and Caribbean nations. The source of the cataloged information is selected from newspapers of each country, focusing on cases of medium- and high-level corruption, as well as anti-corruption initiatives.”

New York Times: Facebook Blocks Chinese Billionaire Who Tells Tales of Corruption

New York Times: Facebook Blocks Chinese Billionaire Who Tells Tales of Corruption. “A Chinese billionaire living in virtual exile in New York, Guo Wengui has riled China’s leaders with his sometimes outlandish tales of deep corruption among family members of top Communist Party officials. On Saturday, his tales proved too much for one of his favorite platforms for broadcasting those accusations: Facebook.”

Newswise: Facebook plays vital role in reducing government corruption, researchers find

Newswise: Facebook plays vital role in reducing government corruption, researchers find. “In new research recently published in the journal Information Economics and Policy, Sudipta Sarangi of the Virginia Tech Department of Economics said his cross-country analysis using data from more than 150 countries shows the more Facebook penetrates public usage, the higher the likelihood of government corruption meeting protest. In short, Sarangi said social media serves as peer of the press.”