May 22, 2009

White House finally opens up

After public interest groups began demanding a more inclusive role in shaping the federal government's ideas for transparency and openness, the White House seems to have gotten the message:

The Office of Science and Technology Policy is preparing to post a notice in tomorrow's Federal Register asking for ideas from the public on possible recommendations for the Open Government Directive they were tasked by president Obama to produce.

The notice prompts participants with a small series of general questions such as “How might federal advisory committees, rulemaking, or electronic rulemaking be better used to improve decisionmaking?” or “What are the limitations to transparency?” Ideas can be either emailed to or posted on the discussion page the White House plans to launch at

While this is encouraging, OMB Watch is right that it was totally needless to have the directive end up like this. This should of taken place months ago, rather than being announced the day the recommendations were due. Even if the Chief Technology Officer position remained unfilled for months, even something as simple as an email address to send suggestions would of been better than this.

But still, after too many violations of his transparency pledges, it is nice to see at least this one move in the right direction.