March 15, 2010

Report gives mixed score to President's transparency push

Another day, another "mixed report card" on the President's transparency push:

But a new report released Sunday by a private research group, the National Security Archive, suggests that the results of Mr. Obama’s push for transparency have been decidedly mixed across the federal government, with progress slow and erratic.

The report found that despite Mr. Obama’s directive for agencies to take “affirmative steps” to make more information public through the Freedom of Information Act, many agencies do not appear to have made any concrete changes. It also found little indication that most federal agencies were releasing information any more frequently or rejecting public requests for information any less often. (Emphasis mine)

Even Norm Eisen, the special counsel to the president for ethics and government reform, admitted that "there's much more to do" and "it will probably take another year before the changes are fully seen."

Why will it take another year, Mr. Eisen? Why wasn't more done this past year? Will you be saying the same thing next year?

This should all have been done by now. If agency heads are impeding transparency efforts, they need to be fired immediately. If agencies are missing deadlines, heads need to roll. If FOIA requests are languishing in the system, make people responsible for clearing them out. Enough excuses, enough delays, enough broken promises. Fix it now.

You can read the report here.