The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

White House Issues Transparency Directive and Progress Report

Following up on President Obama’s Transparency Memoranda signed on his first day in office, the White House today issued two new documents pledging openness: An

Anita Barnes
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Dec 08, 2009

Following up on President Obama’s Transparency Memoranda signed on his first day in office, the White House today issued two new documents pledging openness: An “open government directive” instructing the heads of federal departments and agencies to take specific actions to open their operations to public scrutiny; and a “progress report” outlining what the administration has already done.

The new directive, from Peter Orszag at the Office of Management and Budget, requires executive departments and agencies, within specific deadlines of not more than two months, to publish more information about their work online in an open format that can be retrieved and searched easily.

The progress report recounts what the administration has done so far to improve transparency, including writing new ethics rules to (mostly) prevent lobbyists from coming to work in government or sitting on its advisory boards; publishing the names of White House visitors; creating Websites that track how the government spends taxpayer money; reversing a Bush administration executive order that limited access to presidential records; and adopted a new state secrets policy. (The report neglects to mention ongoing criticism about the effectiveness of some of these measures.)

The latest transparency directive, while welcomed by open-government advocates, also highlights the fact that the sort of opennness Obama called for on his first day in office still has not taken place inside many executive agencies.

As Meredith Fuchs, General Counsel of the National Security Archive put it in a statement released after the White House announcement:

The Administration appears to realize that even eloquent statements of principle will not shift the bureaucracy’s natural and political tendency towards secrecy.

As for OMB’s new timetables to require more openness, she said:

The only thing missing is a clear enforcement regime, but if the White House, OMB, and the heads of the agencies are serious, then they will use their authority to make these changes real. In some ways that is the test of how serious the Obama Administration is about transparency.

*Update: *Steven Aftergood at Secrecy News notes that the new directive “does not extend to classified national security information or controlled unclassified information, both of which are to be addressed in other pending executive orders. But it does direct agencies to reduce any backlogs in Freedom of Information Act requests “by ten percent each year.”

Anita Barnes | With over twenty years of professional experience in the design industry, I'm a web designer and front-end web developer. As a small business owner, I am familiar with the difficulties that come with running a business. One of those challenges is creating a strong online presence. One that not only represents your ever-changing brand and personality, but also appeals to your target audience. Throughout my web design career, I've built a distinct design style that emphasizes attention to detail. I assume that less is enough when it comes to design. You don't have to have all the bells and whistles only because you can. It's critical to figure out which elements are essential for getting your message through to your customers – and which ones are unnecessary. I'll assist you in sorting through the choices to see what works best for you.


Rep. Paul Ryan to deliver SOTU response

Chairman of the House Budget Committee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will deliver the Republican response to the State of the Union Tuesday, according to Mike Allen

Rep. Paulsen allies with medical device industry to relax FDA oversight

Source: Flickr; Republicanconference ( On the heels of the Minnesota Independent story last week about U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen’s cozy financial relationship with the medical device industry, the New York Times reported Tuesday that some health professionals are alarmed by Paulsen’s push to relax Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight

Rep. Paulsen touts balanced budget constitutional amendment

In a post for the conservative blog True North , U.S. Rep

Rep. Patrick McHenry: Please, Conservatives, Fill Out Your Census Forms!

The conservative congressman from North Carolina, a constant critic of the census -- one of the people who sounded the alarm about politicization when the

Rep. Paulsen, Karl Rove the latest to get ‘glittered’

Rep. Erik Paulsen and former Bush staffer Karl Rove were both showered with glitter at the Midwest Leadership Conference Friday

Rep. Perlmutter to hold constituent meet-up in grocery store

Colorado Congressman Ed Perlmutter will hold a Government in the Grocery constituent meet-up this evening from 5-7 at the Safeway at 38th and Wadsworth in Wheat Ridge. The address is 3900 Wadsworth. The meeting, where Perlmutter typically sits at a folding table and talks to whomever shows up, is free and open to the public

Rep. Perlmutter criticizes House measure that would eliminate 800K federal jobs

Congressman Ed Perlmutter today issued a scathing statement criticizing the House of Representatives for passing a spending bill that could put nearly a million federal employees out of work. The Colorado delegation voted strictly on party lines, with all four Republicans voting in favor of the bill and the three Democrats voting in opposition. Perlmutter’s statement: “My number one priority is to get people back to work because that’s the best thing we can do to pay our debt and move forward toward economic stability

Rep. Pete Stark Won’t Dignify Constituent by, er, Micturating Upon His Leg

In the tradition of Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), California Democratic Rep. Pete Stark revealed at a recent town hall gathering that there are limits to what

Rep. Peace, ACLU seek investigation of soldier’s allegations of racial discrimination in Afghanistan

Both Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) and the American Civil Liberties Union agree: There needs to be an investigation into Spc.

© Copyright 2021 The Washington Independent All Rights Reserved

Terms & Privacy |