May 26, 2009

You're free to look anywhere, except over there

In a ruling from a federal appeals court sure to discourage open government activists, a three-judge panel has agreed with the White House claim that the Office of Administration is exempt from public record requests.

A federal appeals court ruled last week that the Freedom of Information Act does not require the White House to turn over information about millions of possibly missing Bush administration e-mails.

A three-judge panel agreed with a lower court, saying the White House’s Office of Administration, which holds the information, is not subject to the public records law. The ruling, which is not expected to be appealed, is a major blow to efforts to make the government more transparent.

It is a bad precedent to allow future administrations the ability to hide what they please while saying Freedom of Information Act requests don't apply.

This whole attitude reeks of the fox guarding the hen house. The people who need the most openness and transparency also have the ability to exempt themselves from the FOIA law. The honor system works, but only when the participants are honorable.