May 20, 2009

Activists demand inclusion in open government push

As we've previously mentioned, one of the first moves by the Obama administration was an executive order to see what can be done to make the federal government more open, transparent and accountable.

Well, Obama administration will release the results tomorrow and some open government activists aren't happy:

Obama has not sought formal public comment on what should go in the directive. The final product is supposed to foster a more transparent, collaborative and participatory government. Public interest organizations OMB Watch and Openthegovernment.org, which have been circulating the sign-on letter among government transparency groups, also have urged that Obama extend the deadline for recommendations to allow for public input.

"We are deeply concerned. . . that of the 120 days given to develop recommendations in President Obama's 'Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government,' almost 90% of the time has passed with no structured process for public input," the letter states.

In a letter to the administration, the open government groups are asking for more public involvement and that the White House go through the formal Federal Register to get public comments on their directives.

The White House should listen to the open government activists and learn more about what is needed to ensure the federal government stays open and transparent.