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).
Thursday, Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI) introduced H.R. 6141, the Promoting Transparency in Trade Act. OpenTheGovernment.org supports this important bill, which would make significant strides in making the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and U.S. trade negotiations more transparent.
By Patrice McDermott & Jesse Franzblau*
The President’s pledge issued on his first day of office to usher in a “new era of openness” stands in stark contrast to his Administration’s secretive approach to trade negotiations. Most alarmingly, the public has been denied critically important information on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations while representatives from over 500 business interests have had direct access to the texts and the ability to influence the agreement.
The United States is the largest single provider of foreign assistance, but the majority of US government donors still fail to publish data in a timely and detailed manner.
Last week, the World Justice Project published the Open Government Index, an examination and ranking of governments’ openness. Notably, the index used public surveys to and “in-country expert questionnaires” to score countries. It’s an interesting approach. After all, the theoretical strength of the Freedom of Information Act matters little if the public does not find it to be an effective, useful tool. On the Open Government Partnership blog, WJP’s Alejandro Ponce uses the Index data to illustrate that “OGP participation indeed linked to more transparent, participatory, and accountable government in practice.”