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Opening Doors at the Department of Justice

On April 8 OpenTheGovernment.org and a number of our partners sat down with Tony West, the Associate Attorney General (the number three person at the Department of Justice DOJ),  to discuss areas where we believe DOJ could take significant steps to make the department more open and accountable. 

OTG at 10: Discussing the Coalition's Founding and Future at the Newseum

The Freedom of Information Day celebration kicked off with a discussion about OpenTheGovernment.org's founding, achievements, and future. Watch the video of the panel below. 

Join the New Federal Open Government Discussion Group

The White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) recently launched a new Federal Open Government Discussion Group to create space for open government advocates from inside and outside the government to collaborate on issues. The group is open to anyone and intended to support on-going discussions about U.S. Federal open government efforts, including the Open Government Partnership, Federal agency Open Government Plans, the Freedom of Information Act, and other related issues. The list is co-moderated by OSTP and OpenTheGovernment.org. To join, visit the group page and request to be added.

Quigley Introduces Omnibus Transparency Bill

Rep. Mike Quigley introduced the Transparency in Government Act on March 13th. The bill is wide-ranging and comprehensive, addressing transparency issues across all branches of government.

Administration Issues Updated Guidance for Agency Open Government Plans

On February 28, the Administration issued updated guidance for agencies to use as they develop 2014 open government plans.

Coalition for Court Transparency Launches

Today, OpenTheGovernment.org joined several media and civil society groups to form the Coalition for Court Transparency, a group calling on justices to allow cameras to televise oral arguments.

Groups Ask House to Vote on Bill to Make Presidential Library Fundraising More Transparent

On February 6, more than 20 groups joined to urge the House Leadership to schedule time to debate and vote on H.R. 1133, the Presidential Library Donation Reform Act.

Currently, presidents raise funds privately to establish their presidential libraries. As these efforts often begin well before they leave office, and the system is completely unregulated and undisclosed, the fund-raising creates opportunities for, or the appearance of, influence-peddling.

NSA Reforms: Will the Administration Take On Transparency?

On Friday, January 16th, President Obama will outline the administration’s reforms of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs. As the Church Committee said in its 1976 report (and the President’s review group cited), “The American public… should know enough about intelligence activities to be able to apply its good sense to the underlying issues of policy and morality. Knowledge is the key to control.” We couldn’t agree more.

Commitment Analysis: Open Government? Check. Public Participation? Not yet.

The following is cross-posted with permission from the blog Conflict and Collaboration. It is written by Tina Nabatchi, Associate Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University

Openness Shuts Down with the Government

Over the weekend Chairman Patrick Leahy of the Senate Judiciary Committee shone some much needed light on the government shutdown's effect on government openness, noting that "We literally have a closed government." As reported by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, some agencies have made their FOIA websites completely inactive during the shutdown and more than a dozen agencies have confirmed that their FOIA operations are being reduced until the government is re-opened. While other agencies have not confirmed that they have reduced FOIA operations, we have reason to believe the list of effected offices is larger. Read more to see Senator Leahy's statement on the public's right to know.

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Celebrate our 10th anniversary with us on May 8th, 2014! More information available here

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