Travel Ban Report Released by Homeland Security Watchdog after Groups File Records Appeal

Open the Government (OTG) and the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) applauded the release today of a report by the Homeland Security Administration’s Inspector General that critiqued the Trump Administration’s handling of its controversial travel ban that caused chaos and protests across the nation in January 2017. The release of the redacted report came just two days after OTG and POGO filed an appeal after their Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to access the report it was blocked. “This is a huge win for transparency and for the public’s right to know about how the travel ban was implemented on the ground,” said Open the Government’s Executive Director Lisa Rosenberg.

Dangerous Provision Slipped into the Continuing Resolution Allows Secret Transfer of Intelligence Funding without Congressional Oversight

Open the Government Executive Director, Lisa Rosenberg, called on the House today to reject a disturbing provision in the budget bill that would permit President Donald Trump and intelligence agencies to covertly reallocate money to from one intelligence program to another without first notifying Congress. “Congress must remove this intelligence provision and remind itself that it has a duty to serve as a check on Executive Branch overreach,” said Open the Government Executive Director Lisa Rosenberg

Trump Administration Blocks Access to Report on Handling of the Travel Ban; Open Government Groups Appeal Decision

Today, two open government organizations called on the Trump Administration to immediately release an Inspector General’s report detailing how the administration carried out its controversial travel ban issued in January 2017. Open the Government and the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) were alarmed after their Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to access the IG report was blocked by the Trump Administration, and today filed an appeal challenging the decision.

Senate Abdicates Leadership on FISA, Opening the Door to Targeting Americans with Abusive Surveillance Tactics

The Senate failed to protect the American people from a bill that poses an enormous risk to accountability, civil liberties and privacy rights. This is a bad gamble that was sold as making us safe, when it has the potential downside of making us very sorry. We have already seen disturbing glimpses of FISA 702 abuses, with warrantless surveillance that has upended the lives of Americans.

OTG Condemns EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt for Undermining Open Government and Keeping his Work Shielded from Public View

WASHINGTON -- Open the Government assailed Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt today for displaying a pervasive pattern of secrecy that is undermining rules that ensure good government. Pruitt’s penchant for privacy, at the expense of transparency and accountability, are deeply troubling, and OTG calls on him to provide greater public access to his agency’s work in 2018. “It seems like Scott Pruitt has spent more time protecting secrets than the environment,” said Open the Government’s Executive Director Lisa Rosenberg. “Pruitt is toxic to transparency and the Poster Boy for secretive government. We urge the EPA administrator to change course in 2018, and begin to champion openness and accountability, because he is supposed to answer to the people, not hide from them.”

OTG Supports Bills in Congress to Protect Special Counsels from Politically Motivated Firing

Open the Government joined a coalition of groups in a letter today calling on Congress to pass the Special Counsel Integrity Act (H.R. 3771 and S. 1741). The importance of passing these bills was heightened after Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation came under attack by those who wish to undermine the investigation for partisan purposes. “We need strong laws to protect Special Counsels to ensure the process is not corrupted by political calculations,” said Open the Government’s Executive Director Lisa Rosenberg. “The orchestrated attacks against Robert Mueller vividly show the need to strengthen the shield protecting Special Counsels, so they can serve the American people’s right to know about their government.”