Coalition calls for President Obama to take urgent action on national security transparency and accountability

WASHINGTON, November 21, 2016 – Today, a coalition of organizations committed to promoting government openness and accountability, and to the defense of civil liberties, civil rights, and privacy rights, is calling on President Obama to take urgent steps to disclose information related to critical areas of national security-related secrecy before the end of his term.

Coalition calls for greater transparency in federal contracting

OpenTheGovernment.org has joined 24 civil society organizations in calling on the Obama Administration to require bidders for federal contracts to disclose information about the identities of people who own and control them. The letter also calls for award, contract and ownership information to be made available on line for everyone for free.

Openness groups call for removal of new FOIA exemption from NDAA

Wednesday, OpenTheGovernment.org joined 38 organizations and individuals in calling on Congress to remove a new FOIA exemption from the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act (FY 2017). The new exemption would seriously undermine recent FOIA reforms, and create a broad and unnecessary secrecy provision for the Department of Defense.

Read the full letter here.


OTG joins groups to call for PCLOB chair with civil liberties background

Today, OpenTheGovernment.org joined 28 other openness, civil liberties, and privacy groups in calling on President Obama to quickly appoint a Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) chair who has a strong background in privacy and civil liberties. The letter emphasizes the importance of the PCLOB as the only independent agency in the executive branch that serves to protect privacy and civil liberties in counterterrorism programs.

Final FOIA Reform Bill on Brink of Passage

S. 337 (FOIA Improvement Act of 2016) will be voted on today in the House under Suspension of the Rules. When it passes, FOIA reform legislation will be ready to go to the President for his signature--as promised by his press secretary. OpenTheGovernment.org joined 27 open government groups in a letter expressing support for the legislation, addressed to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. The letter emphasized that S. 337 would codify the presumption of openness, curb the overuse of FOIA Exemption 5, and promote greater proactive disclosure.