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Government transparency and the White House

If you missed “Building Transparency,” the live online forum last Friday about how the Obama administration is doing in terms of transparency and open government, you can watch the entire two-hour program online.

On his first full day in office, President Barack Obama committed his administration “to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government.” To help meet that goal, the administration issued an open government directive and a new memorandum on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and attorney general guidelines. The administration has also launched an expansive effort to open up data to developers, advocates and the public via Data.gov.

While the current administration has significantly surpassed that of its predecessor in government transparency, much more remains to be done to ensure the people are able to hold their government accountable.

“The past year has been an exciting time for people who care about transparency,” said Adina Rosenbaum, a Public Citizen attorney and director of Public Citizen’s Freedom of Information Clearinghouse. “President Obama has charted a new direction for agencies with respect to government openness, but further leadership is necessary for the vision of transparency the president has articulated to be fully realized throughout the executive branch.”

Rosenbaum called on congressional lawmakers to amend FOIA to promote the disclosure of more information and to relax standards for making older records public.