ProPublica Takes a Look at Obama Transparency, or Lack Thereof

A nice analysis piece from my pal Jennifer LaFleur:

After eight years of tightened access to government records under the Bush administration, open-government advocates were hopeful when Barack Obama promised greater transparency.

Four years later, did the president keep his promise?

“It’s a mixed bag,” said Patrice McDermott, executive director of OpenTheGovernment.org, a consortium of right-to-know groups. “I think they’ve made progress, but a whole lot more remains to be done.”

The rest of the piece is here.

In Case You Missed It….

Dana Milbank took the Obama administration to task for its hollow talk when it comes to transparency this week in the Post. These are the best minds in the business on the subject, and they are right. Goes to show you that secrecy is a bipartisan value.

From the column:

“My administration,” President Barack Obama wrote on his first day in office, “is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government.”

Those were strong and hopeful words. Four years later, it is becoming more and more clear that they were just words.

On Monday afternoon, open-government advocates assembled in a congressional hearing room to ponder what had become of the Obama administration’s lofty vows of transparency.

“It’s been a really tough slog,” said Anne Weismann of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “The lack of effective leadership in the White House, in the executive branch, has really made it difficult to have more significant progress.”

“They’ve been reluctant to take positions,” said Hudson Hollister of the Data Transparency Coalition, “and translate that to real action.”

 

 

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Open Government at the Federal Level on the Chopping Block…

Short-sighted slashing in Washington

Government transparency advocates warn that spending cuts in the federal budget passed last week could close the door on President Obama’s ambitious “open government” goals and hamper efforts to open up federal agencies to closer public scrutiny.

The budget deal slashes the Electronic Government Fund from a proposed $35 million to $8 million — not nearly enough to keep certain government Web sites operating at current levels, officials said.

The cuts could spell the end of Data.gov, a compilation of hundreds of thousands of government data sets; theIT Dashboard, an ambitious project to track how much the federal government spends on information technology investments; and USASpending.gov, which tracks federal contract spending and was established by a 2006 law sponsored by Obama when he was a senator.

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The Folks Behind the WWW Are Unhappy…

Steve Bratt is the CEO of the World Wide Web Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the web. The mission of the organization is to empower people through transformative programs that leverage the web as a medium for positive change.

In his inaugural speech, President Barack Obama pledged support for open government initiatives, including the creation of websites that provide access to valuable but not sensitive government data. This initiative promoted transparency, accountability, collaboration and citizen participation by putting government data online. Data.gov was launched in May 2009 as a result, and this incredible site provides nearly 300,000 data sets and almost 1,000 applications developed by government and private enterprise. Government has embraced the web as a platform to provide data to the public and to other entities inside and outside the government sector. Open Government Data (OGD), or government data that can be accessed online and used by others, is a pioneer idea that empowers people and enhances government accountability.

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Powerful New Video Demonstrates the Power of Open Government Data…

Need a quick primer on the importance of open government data? Grab a copy of this great new video at Open Government Data.org and you’ll soon have a new convert!

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Obama Visitor Logs: Riddled With Holes

South façade of the White House, the executive...

Image via Wikipedia

The Obama administration talks up the importance of government transparency, but White House visitor logs are anything but. That’s according to a new investigation by iWatch News. The White House website proudly boasts of making available “over 1,000,000 records of everyone who’s come through the doors of the White House” via a searchable database. Yet our analysis shows that the logs routinely omit or cloud key details about the identity of visitors, who they met with, the nature of the visit, and even includes the names of people who never showed up.

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