“Of Interest” Items 2006


ANALYSIS: Greasing the Wheels of Justice: Independent Experts in National Security Cases [National Security Law Report]

ANALYSIS: The 2006 Transparency Awards [OMB Watcher]

ANALYSIS: Pelosi and Reid Promise Increased Congressional Transparency [The Watcher, OMB Watch]

ANALYSIS: Robert Gates on Openness, Oversight
[Secrecy News blog]

ANALYSIS: Glimmers of greater openness at secretive Court
[First Amendment Center]


MEETING ANNOUNCEMENT: Public Forum on the Department of Labor Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Improvement Plan. Dec. 18, 2006 in Washington, DC

ANNOUCEMENT: The State Government Hall of Fame is open to anyone who has made a substantial, sustained and lasting contribution to open government or freedom of information within one particular state. Sponsored by The National Freedom of Information Coalition.


COALITION PARTNER NEWS: Federal court rules NSA can withhold details of domestic wiretapping [JURIST]
The ruling came in a lawsuit brought by People for the American Way

COALITION PARTNER NEWS: Many of our coalition partners filed or signed on to amicus curiae briefs in support of a petition by John Gilmore. Read the background of the secret law case and the briefs here. GovExec.com reports here.


CONGRESS: Ranking Democratic Members of Congress called on the EPA to immediately stop efforts to close libraries across the country pending a review by Congress. Read the letter to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson.

CONGRESS: Organizations and individuals sent a letter on Nov. 26 to ask Congress to shed light on the secret contract between Smithsonian and Showtime.


FOIA: A FOIA lawsuit has resulted in the release of a security video from the Arlington Doubletree Hotel showing the plane crashing into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. [From The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Behind the Homefront]

FOIA: CREW received a heavily redacted response from NARA to a request for docs related to secret White House visitor records. Read more and see the responses here.


NEWS: Florida Governor-elect Charlie Crist announced the creation of the Office of Open Government within the Executive Office of the Governor

NEWS: 10,600 Scientists Condemn Political Interference in Science [Union of Concerned Scientists]

NEWS: Newly Released FBI Documents Disclose Grave Deficiencies in the War on Terrorism [National Whistleblower Center]

NEWS: Congressional Tunnel Workers File Whistleblower Retaliation Claim
[Government Accountability Project]

NEWS: Insider: FCC Buried Report Critical of TV Station Monopolies [The NewStandard 9.18.06]
Also see AFL-CIO’s blog to find out more and get involved!


NEW WEBSITE: Visit the University Channel, a webspace where a number of universities can place their respective materials (podcasts, videocasts, blogs, etc) together, much of it policy-related

NEW WEBSITE (beta): The legislative information system from the Library of Congress, THOMAS, has launched several new features in beta versions. See it here.

NEW WEBSITE: OMB Watch launches FedSpending.org, a free, searchable database of federal government spending


REPORTS: Several new reports on state open government laws from the Virginia Coalition for Open Government and the National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) : A survey of states [pdf] on open government issues ; Federal Controls on State Information Disclosure [pdf]; Federal Protection Laws Can Hinder Open Government (press release)

REPORT: State Employees Who Tell Inconvenient Truths Face Vastly Different Consequences: Whistleblower "Honesty Index" [Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER)]

REPORT: Attorney General releases report on FOIA; National Security Archive says report ignores serious problems, calls for congressional oversight.

REPORT: Task Force on Presidential Signing Statements and the Separation of Powers Doctrine
[American Bar Association]


RESOURCE: Bush Admin: What You Don’t Know Can’t Hurt Us [TPMmuckraker blog]

RESOURCE: Supreme Court Times: Up-to-date information about cases currently on the docket of the Supreme Court of the United States

RESOURCE: Open Government: a journal on freedom of information


SURVEY: Montana, Florida give best access to election info
A state-by-state ranking is available at www.citizenaccess.org by clicking on Election Records, Overall.

COURT RULING: The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has affirmed a general right of access to information held by government, the first such ruling from an international tribunal. Find out more
[Access Info]

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