Democracy and Accountability

An accountable government is the foundation of a strong democracy. Open The Government fosters communication and cooperation between organizations with diverse missions and political leanings to find unifying approaches to strengthening our democracy, and we implement a strategy to engage the public on an accountability agenda that will increase access to information and mitigate corruption.

OTG fights attempts by officials who try to evade accountability. When government information is under threat, we rally the openness community and urge Congress to take action. The Freedom of Information Act is the primary tool used by the public to rollback government secrecy, and its implementation and improvement are top priorities.

Impact:

  • Secured significant accountability victories on Day One of the Biden administration, including an ethics executive order and commitments to regulatory reform and scientific integrity that incorporate many recommendations included in Accountability 2021.
  • Freedom of Information Act requests uncovered records showing the Department of Health and Human Services violated anti-gag laws in an effort to control the narrative surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Advocacy by the OTG coalition led to the Department of Interior rolling back changes to its FOIA regulations that would stifle the public’s access to information.
  • Released a best practices guide to FOIA collaboration so our coalition partners and the public can learn new strategies on how to use FOIA to advance openness.
  • OTG’s report highlighted the growing culture of secrecy in government, its impact on journalists and advocates was introduced into the Congressional record during a Senate judiciary hearing on FOIA.
  • Documents OTG obtained through FOIA provided the public with evidence former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen signed off on a policy of family separation despite repeatedly denying there was such a policy.
  • More here.