WASHINGTON, December 21, 2015 – Today, more than 20 organizations committed to government openness and accountability are calling for the President to take immediate action on the failure of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to comply with Presidential directives on open government.
OMB has not updated its open government plan since it was published in 2010, despite requirements to do so in 2012 and 2014, and has declined to provide a timeline for when an updated plan is to be published. OMB’s failure to comply with these requirements is particularly troubling because OMB plays a central oversight role on information policy, and often serves as the right hand of the President.
The letter emphasizes that the President’s 2009 memorandum on transparency and open government instructed agencies to take specific actions to implement the Administration’s transparency principles. OMB issued an Open Government Directive in accordance with the memo; it requires agencies to develop and publish an Open Government Plan, and update this plan every two years. The purpose behind the Directive, and the Plans, is to encourage agencies to articulate how openness helps them fulfill their missions, address public concerns, and build openness into the way they operate. In February 2014, the White House Office of Science and Technology (OSTP) issued guidance to help agencies update their Open Government Plans for 2014, including guidance on whistleblower protections, records management, FOIA, and other issues. However, OMB remains the only agency that has not updated its plan in accordance with the 2014 requirements.
“Our community has repeatedly expressed concern over the failure of OMB to meet its open government obligations,” according to Patrice McDermott, Executive Director of OpenTheGovernment.org. “It is now time for the President to direct OMB to take immediate steps to comply with the Open Government Directive and update its Open Government Plan in line with the 2014 guidance.”
Read the letter here.