No Transparency on Transparency
An unsigned op-ed in the Newport Daily News, yesterday, went to bat for the Obama administration on government transparency:
… it shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise that on his first full day in office, the president issued a memorandum to the heads of all executive departments restoring the original presumption of disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, a reversal from the previous administration.
“My administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government,” he said. “We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in government.”
Oh, the writer admits that “there have been some broken promises along the way” and emphasizes that it’s all “a work in progress.” But the administration has made a “commitment to instill a culture of openness and collaboration between the federal government and the American people.” You know, like this:
One year into its promise of greater government transparency, the Obama administration is more often citing exceptions to the nation’s open records law to withhold federal records even as the number of requests for information decline, according to a review by The Associated Press of agency audits about the Freedom of Information Act. …
Major agencies cited the exemption at least 70,779 times during the 2009 budget year, up from 47,395 times during President George W. Bush’s final full budget year, according to annual reports filed by federal agencies. Obama was president for nine months in the 2009 period.
As with much that Obama supporters proclaim, what the One says is apparently more important than what he does.