A Reminder of Our Common Goals and Agenda

OpenTheGovernment.org and our partners are united by the belief that reducing secrecy improves our democracy. Our partnership is diverse: we include journalists, consumer, good- and limited- government groups, environmentalists, library groups, labor, and others. For each of our partners, open government is a critical tool that helps them achieve their goals and move along their agenda. With such diversity, then, it should not be surprising that sometimes we disagree on how best to proceed.

 

Recently a petition began circulating asking OpenTheGovernment.org and other groups to withdraw the award we participated in giving President Obama this March for his commitment to open government. The petition includes a list of issues where, in some instances, the President’s commitment clearly has not translated into real world change. We share the petitioners’ disappointment, and actually – as Danielle Brian of the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) described in her fist-hand account of the Oval Office meeting where the award was presented- clearly shared those areas of disappointment with the President himself.

 

The meeting was a momentous event for our community. Less than three years ago, under the Bush Administration, the very idea that the President would have a meeting with transparency advocates was laughable. It was a substantive discussion with the leader of the United States on topics of concern to our community.  And it went twice as long as we expected.

 

We encourage you to take a moment to read POGO’s blog post responding to the petition. We share common concerns with the petition’s authors, but these must not be allowed to distract us from what we can be accomplishing for the cause of open government. We fully intend, with your support, to continue to hold the Administration’s feet to the fire and encourage the President to do more to live up to his rhetoric on open government.

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