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Clinton White House Records Released, No Assertion of Privilege

On February 28th, the former President’s Library released several thousand pages of records from the Clinton White House. Under the Presidential Records Act, records may be withheld for processing for up to 12 years after a president leaves office.

Groups Support House Passage of FOIA Bill

More than two dozen organizations (including OpenTheGovernment.org) joined the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) in supporting passage of H.R. 1211, a bill to improve the government's processing of requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The House is expected to vote on the bill tomorrow afternoon (February 25). Click on "read more" to see the letter, and the signatories.

The Time is Ripe for Increased Access to Congressional Mandated Reports

Twenty organizations dedicated to transparency and accountability called on Congress to consider the bipartisan Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act (H.R. 1380). The legislation would require any congressionally mandated report that is releasable under the Freedom of Information Act be made available online by the Government Printing Office. The common-sense legislation would create one central and searchable repository for the reports, which are currently difficult to find.

Groups Meet with Administration's Open Government Working Group

Last Wednesday more than 20 outside stakeholders joined the regular meeting of the Administration's Open Government Working Group to discuss the new open government plans agencies are expected to create this year.

Bringing a Focus on the Freedom of Information Act

Over the past few months, OpenTheGovernment.org has been working to bring a renewed focus to how the open government community can work together to address some of the major issues with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

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.

Submit Nominations for Federal Advisory Committee on FOIA Modernization

Last week the Administration moved one step closer to meeting one of its commitments to improve implementation of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) when the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) published a blog post asking readers to submit nominations for a Fed

Right to Know Preserved in Final Version of Farm Bill

After months of conference negotiations, the Farm Bill has moved forward without the provisions that would have cut of public access to information about agricultural and livestock information.  The language, originally in the House-passed bill, would have prohibited disclosure of information about any owner, operator, or employee of an agricultural or livestock operation. The public, particularly the neighbors of these operations, require access to information about the operations to ensure their health and safety.

Privacy Board Makes a Strong Case for Transparency, Against Secret Law

Please see OpenTheGovernment.org's statement on the PCLOB Report here

We applaud the strong transparency recommendations from the PCLOB in its January 23, 2014 Report.  The Board took an important and clearly stated stand for the public’s right to know the legal interpretations and authorities that inform domestic data collection programs by the intelligence community.  Early on, the board notes the critical balancing act the intelligence community must perform in its duties to protect the public without keeping it in the dark: “both openness and secrecy are vital to our survival, and we must strive to develop and implement intelligence programs in ways that serve both values.”

The Classified Section

Check out our new blog, The Classified Section, for analysis of national security secrecy.

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