Reports

OTG's 2015 in review: Year-End Report

In 2015, OpenTheGovernment.org (OTG) worked to defend and strengthen open and accountable government, combat attempts to increase government secrecy, provide information to the public about their right to know and the need for open government reform, and much more.

OTG Forum Identifies Opportunities for Engagement on Transparent Policing and Accountable Law Enforcement Advocacy

“The data helps us balance the playing field” – grassroots organizers speaking at OTG’s January 27, 2016 town hall

On January 27, 2016, OpenTheGovernment.org hosted a Town Hall event attended by open government organizations, data specialists, civil right groups, grassroots organizers, and criminal justice proponents. The panelists were Kanya Bennett (ACLU), Sakira Cook (Leadership Conference), Damian Ortellado (Sunlight Foundation), and Scott Roberts (ColorofChange).

Players or Spectators: Observations on CSO Participation in the OGP

OpenTheGovernment.org was pleased to host Al Kags as a Mandela Washington Fellow this summer. Mr. Kags is the founder of the Open Institute, a "think-do tank" that collaborates with governments and civil society groups on open government issues.

In partnership with OTG, Mr.Kags and the Open Institute present an insightful analysis of the role of civil society in the Open Government Partnership. In addition to observations drawn from conversations with government officials and civil society representatives from several OGP countries, the report features recommendations for improving CSO participation.

Civil Society Groups Issue Progress Report on 2nd US National Action Plan

According to the first civil society progress report on the implementation of the United States’ Second National Action Plan, the United States government appears to be on-course to meet the majority of its commitments six months into the implementation period. This report draws on the expertise and experiences of a wide range of civil society groups engaging on the commitments and features their knowledge of the Administration's efforts to meaningfully implement its commitments and to collaborate effectively with civil society.

Secrecy Report 2013 --The Tip of the Iceberg

WASHINGTON, October 1, 2013 – Today’s release of the 2013 Secrecy Report, the 9th annual review and analysis of indicators of secrecy in the federal government by OpenTheGovernment.org, comes amid shocking revelations that cast doubt on the accuracy and the meaningfulness of the government’s statistics about surveillance. As is highlighted in the introduction to this report and in comments provided to OpenTheGovernment.org by former-Representative Mickey Edwards (R-OK), the government’s insistence on keeping interpretations of the law secret and a lack of oversight by Congress and the Judicial Branch helped set the stage for a surveillance program that is much broader than previously believed.

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.

Unprecedented Civil Society Report on US OGP: One Small Step for Open Government

The US met most of its 2011 commitments to make the government more open and accountable according to an unprecedented evaluation of the US’ efforts to implement its first National Action Plan. President Obama presented the US’s commitments at the launch of the Open Government Partnership on September 20, 2011.

While the Plan reflected many of the priorities of open government advocates, the specific commitments included in the plan do not put the US on a path to accomplish those goals quickly. According to Patrice McDermott, Executive Director of OpenTheGovernment.org, “The Administration should be commended for taking good first, if often small, steps forward on a number of issues. Achieving the greater goal of transforming government to be open and accountable to the public, though, will require the proverbial giant leap.”