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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
The suggestions of Senators on which credits and deductions to keep in a streamlined tax code will be kept secret until 2064. OpenTheGovernment.orgjoined Taxpayers for Common Sense and 29 other groups to urge the Senate Finance Committee to keep tax reform in the public eye.
Since 2011, more than 20 national organizations committed to improving openness and accountability have worked together to identify policy priorities and specific recommendations for improving and strengthening federal government openness.
Sixty-three organizations, including OpenTheGovernment.org and many of our coalition partners and tech companies, joined the Center for Democracy and Technology to call for more transparency of government communications surveillance. The letter accompanied the launch of the reform campaign StopWatching.Us.