Focus Issues

OTG's Patrice McDermott joins Transparency Caucus briefing panel

On September 21, OTG's Patrice McDermott spoke at a Congressional Transparency Caucus briefing hosted by Representative Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA). The panel was moderated by Demand Progress' Daniel Schuman, and also included Shanna Devine (Government Accountability Project) and Christian Hoehner (Data Transparency Coalition).

OTG endorses Promoting Transparency in Trade Act

Thursday, Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI) introduced H.R. 6141, the Promoting Transparency in Trade Act. supports this important bill, which would make significant strides in making the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and U.S. trade negotiations more transparent.

Updated: Questions for 2016 Candidates for Federal Offices on Government Accountability, Public Disclosure, and the Right to Know and the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) have drafted these open government-related questions that can be asked of all candidates for federal office.  Our hope is that they will be used broadly - by editorial boards, reporters covering the 2016 campaigns, and interested members of the public who have an opportunity to speak with candidates.

Coalition submits comments opposing FBI proposal to exempt controversial biometrics database from Privacy Act protections

Today, submitted comments -- endorsed by civil rights, human rights, immigrant rights, privacy and transparency organizations -- to the Department of Justice about proposed Privacy Act exemptions to the FBI’s biometrics database – the Next Generation Identification (NGI) system. The comments oppose the FBI proposal to exempt the NGI system from virtually every key provision of the Privacy Act. The comments call for stro

President signs most significant reform to FOIA since its original passage

June 30, 2016 – Today, the President signed the FOIA Improvement Act, codifying into law comprehensive bipartisan reforms to the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for the first time in nearly a decade. The signing of the bill comes days before the 50th anniversary of the FOIA, signed into law on July 4, 1966. The FOIA Improvement Act is the result of a herculean effort on the part of Congressional leaders, staff members, and open government advocates who have been working to push the FOIA reform legislation that is critical to ensuring government accountability.

Importantly, the reform bill codifies the presumption of openness -- requiring records be released unless there is a foreseeable harm or legal requirement to withhold them. This language mirrors the Obama Administration’s and the Department of Justice’s 2009 guidance on FOIA, which reversed the policy of the Bush administration that had encouraged agencies to limit discretionary disclosures of information. With these legislative changes, the law makes clear that FOIA, under any administration, must be approached with a presumption of openness. 

Coalition calls for hearing on FBI’s use of facial recognition and proposal to exempt biometrics database from Privacy Act protections

Today, is joining a coalition of civil rights, human rights, immigrant rights, privacy and transparency organizations, and companies calling on members of Congress to hold an oversight hearing to assess the privacy, civil liberties, and human right issues raised by the FBI’s massive biometric database– the Next Generation Identification (NGI) system, to require the FBI’s compliance with the