December 7, 2009

The White House's opaque transparency record

Talk about mixed messages: "A workshop on government openness is closed to the public." Wow.

This workshop, intended for FOIA officers, would benefit from inviting the news media and open government activists. If government officials want to be as helpful as they can in responding to FOIA requests, why not listen to the very people who make the lion's share of them?

Unfortunately, this highlights the Obama administration's poor record on transparency issues nearly a year into his term.

The Administration's lone bright spot was the release of the White House visitor logs. Otherwise, its records has been dismal. From the blatantly and repeatedly broken "five day waiting period" before signing bills, the phantom districts on Recovery.gov, and continued presence of lobbyist influences on the Administration and in Washington, one would never know this is an Administration that committed on its first day to be completely open and transparent.

At this point, my hope for Obama to be a shining light on transparency has been snuffed out. Rather than hope it gets better, I now hope it doesn't get any worse.