Policy and News Updates for June 22, 2010



In This Issue: [click on the link to go to the corresponding section]

 

News from Coalition Partners & Others

I. House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Status of Federal Electronic Records Management

II. National Declassification Center News

News from Coalition Partners & Others

NFOIC Names Full-Time Executive Director

The National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) announced that starting July 1, Ken Bunting will begin work as its new, full-time executive director. Bunting comes to NFOIC from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, where he spent over 17 years, holding the positions of associate publisher, executive editor and managing editor. Bunting will oversee all daily operations of the NFOIC, including fundraising, coalition building, and managing the newly-created Knight Freedom of Information Fund.

 

POGO Organizes Support for Public Access to Contractor Database

On June 11 the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) sent a letter to the Chair and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Committee on Appropriations urging them to support an amendment to H.R. 4899, the Supplemental Disaster Relief and Summer Jobs Act of 2010 that would open the government’s new contractor integrity and performance database, the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) to the public. The letter included OpenTheGovernment.org and several other coalition partners.

 

Sunlight Foundation Works for Earmark Transparency

The Sunlight Foundation organized a letter urging Members of Congress to co-sponsor the Earmark Transparency Act (S. 3335/ H.R. 5258). The bill would require Congress to create an online, searchable database for all earmark requests. Over 20 organizations, including OpenTheGovernment.org and several other coalition partners signed on in support.

 

I. House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Status of Federal Electronic Records Management

On June 17, the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census and National Archives held a hearing on the status of federal electronic records management. During the hearing, the Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero, testified that the troubling results of the National Archives and Records Administration’s (NARA) recent assessment of records management programs in the Federal Government, which found that 79% of reporting Federal agencies have moderate to high levels of risk associated with their records management programs, are "unacceptable," and committed to more assertively exerting NARA’s statutory authority to oversee and manage agency compliance with records management requirements. According to testimony from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) many of the changes in records management oversight proposed by NARA "could improve the governmentwide management of electronic and other records," "if followed through with effective implementation." During the second panel, Anne Weismann, General Counsel of coalition partner Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), recommended specific ways for Congress to improve existing records management laws.

 

II. National Declassification Center News

The National Declassification Center (NDC) has established a blog to discuss the NDC and report on its progress. Current posts on the blog ask visitors to comment on the recently-released draft Prioritization Plan, which will serve as a roadmap for the NDC to declassify and process for release Federal records and Presidential materials in the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). As noted in the June 1 Policy and News Update, the public can also comment on the plan in person on Wednesday, June 23 during a public forum moderated by the Archivist of the United States, David S. Ferriero, at NARA’s Washington DC location (register to attend here).

 

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