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Former-Representative Mickey Edwards on Restoring Accountability to National Security Programs

For the release of this Secrecy Report, we asked former-Representative Mickey Edwards, who is also the author of, The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats into Americans and a noted commentator on restoring the Constitution’s balances of power, to provide insight on how to secure better oversight of national security programs.

How could Congress’ oversight of intelligence programs be improved? Or how can the system of checks and balances be restored to our intelligence programs?

First, the congress must reclaim its constitutional authority to oversee the executive branch, decide on questions of war and peace, regulate the armed forces, and determine how federal funds are to be expended.  These are the proper powers of congress but more importantly they are the obligations the constitution places on congress to ensure that the people, through their representatives, control the activities of the federal government.

Groups to Senate Intel: Release Text of NSA Surveillance Program Proposal

Yesterday afternoon 26 organizations joined OpenTheGovernment.org in sending a letter to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to urge them to make the text of their proposal to address the National Security Agency's (NSA) surveillance programs available to the public before marking it up.

Treasury's Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) Must be More Transparent and Accountable

Several partners and allies joined OpenTheGovernmnet.org in sending a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew urging him to adopt policies that would increase transparency and accountability at the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), the office tasked, in part, with granting civil society organizations licenses so that they are able to provide services to civilians in conflict zo

Interactive: A Timeline of US Civil Society's Involvement with the OGP

Use the arrow keys or space bar to explore the development and evaluation process for the first and second National Action Plans.

GAO Report Offers Recommendations to Help OGIS

Last week the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a new report evaluating the Office of Government Information Services' (OGIS) ability to meet its statutory responsibilities to review agency compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), offer mediation services for FOIA disputes and make recommendations for improving FOIA processing.

Latest Records Management Self Assessments Show Minimal Change

The latest summary of agencies' records management self-assessments by National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) shows that despite some improvement in agencies' practices and policies since the self-assessments were first instituted in 2010, most federal agencies are still at moderate-to-high risk of losing records.

Legislation Aimed at Reforming Classification System Introduced

Last week Senators Shaheen and Risch introduced a bill that would help push forward some of the proposals made last year by the Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) to improve the classification and declassification system.

Calls for Transparency and Oversight on Intelligence Surveillance Programs

The House of Representatives recently took the first vote on limiting the government's national security surveillance programs since their broad scope was revealed by a series of leaked documents and press reports.

Multiple Efforts to Bar Access to Ag Info Sprouting on Capitol Hill

Recently we wrote about a successful effort to keep a provision out of the Senate-passed Farm Bill that would have barred the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from releasing information about farm owners or operators. Unfortunately, though, it seems that the attempt to attach the language to the Farm Bill in the Senate was only the opening salvo in a wider war to stop the EPA from releasing potentially important public health and safety information. The Senators who proposed the Farm Bill amendment, Senators Grassley and Donnelly, recently introduced an identical bill, and similar language appears in the House-passed version of the Farm Bill (Sec. 450) and the House Appropriations Committee's version of the 2014 Interior spending bill (Sec. 11325).

Senators’ Tax Code Input Will Be Kept Under Wraps for 50 Years

The suggestions of Senators on which credits and deductions to keep in a streamlined tax code will be kept secret until 2064. OpenTheGovernment.org joined Taxpayers for Common Sense and 29 other groups to urge the Senate Finance Committee to keep tax reform in the public eye.

Celebrate 10 Years of OTG

On May 8 we will be hosting a 10th anniversary celebration in DC. Learn more about the party here

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