Sunday, April 10, 2016

Obama claimed to want transparency. His actions suggest the opposite; Guardian, 3/9/16

Trevor Timm, Guardian; Obama claimed to want transparency. His actions suggest the opposite:
"The Obama administration has taken a lot of well-deserved criticism over the years for claiming to be the most transparent presidency ever while actually being remarkably opaque, but they’ve now reached a new low: newly released documents show they aggressively lobbied Congress to kill bipartisan transparency reform that was based on the administration’s own policy.
In a move open government advocates are calling “ludicrous”, the administration “strongly opposed” the passage of bipartisan Freedom of Information Act (Foia) reform behind closed doors in 2014. The bill was a modest and uncontroversial piece of legislation which attempted to modernize the law for the internet age and codify President Obama’s 2009 memo directing federal agencies to adopt a “presumption of openness”.
Through a Foia lawsuit, the Freedom of the Press Foundation (the organization I work for) obtained a six-page talking points memo that the Justice Department distributed to House members protesting virtually every aspect of the proposed legislation in incredibly harsh language – despite the fact that some of the provisions were based almost word-for-word on the Justice Department’s own supposed policy (you can see a side-by-side comparison here).
Worse, Vice’s Jason Leopold is also reporting that the administration is conducting similar lobbying efforts around this year’s attempt to reform Foia in time for the law’s 50th anniversary this summer.
This is a shameful move by an administration that is constantly touting its open government and transparency bona fides despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary."

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