Policy and News Updates for November 18, 2008

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

News from Coalition Partners & Others

I. Help OpenTheGovernment.org Track Secrecy in the Financial Bailout

II. GAO’s Transition "Priorities"

News from Coalition Partners & Others

GAP Puts Whistleblowers on the Air

The Government Accountability Project (GAP) is producing a new television program, Whistle Where You Work, on the Free Speech TV Channel (which airs on the DISH satellite network). GAP is using its position at the intersection of law, media and government to recruit A-List panelists to discuss critical issues about accountability, openness and secrecy. Click here for more information, including how and when you can access the program.


Coalition Partners Release Transition Recommendations

OpenTheGovernment.org, several of our coalition partners, and others extensively participated in creating both Moving Toward a 21st Century Right-To-Know Agenda, a good government transparency report organized by OMB Watch, and the National Security Archive-led effort to craft policy proposals to restore efficiency and openness to the Freedom of Information Act process, reform the classification system to reduce overclassification and facilitate greater declassification, and ensure that presidential records are handled in accordance with the law and Congress’ intent.

OpenTheGovernment.org and many coalition partners also participated in an effort led by the Constitution Project to create an index of liberty and security recommendations for the next Administration and Congress. The catalogue contains abstracts of the problems, possible solutions that identify areas of consensus in the community, identification of allies who support the principles for the described reforms, and a description of likely counter-arguments and possible rebuttals.

Several coalition partners, including the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), the Center for Progressive Reform (CPR), the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the Sunlight Foundation, and others also have released individual transition papers, recommendations to the next Administration to make government more transparent and accountable.


Sunlight Foundation Posts Transparency Jobs

The Sunlight Foundation has created Transparency Jobs to aggregate all the employment opportunities for transparency-related careers in government and in nonprofits. The intent of the site is to help connect those who want to dedicate their careers to opening up Washington with the opportunities that currently exist. Anyone can submit an opening, though all listings are moderated by Sunlight staff.


I. Help OpenTheGovernment.org Track Secrecy in the Financial Bailout

Any credible solution to today’s economic crisis must address one of the crisis’ fundamental causes – corruption and other abuses of power sustained by secrecy. Unfortunately, thus far the government has been slow to let the public know how it is using taxpayer money to help out ailing financial markets. OpenTheGovernment.org is working to build a clearinghouse of information about the lack of transparency in the bailout.

Please help us ensure the clearinghouse is as comprehensive as possible by emailing us news and resources.


II. GAO’s Transition "Priorities"

Shortly after the election, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) launched a new transition website intended to help make the transition an informed and smooth one. By far, most attention has been paid to GAO’s list of thirteen "urgent priorities" for the next Administration to address. However, as noted by the GAO on another section of the transition website dedicated to "Management Challenges Across the Government," the government’s wholly insufficient systems to use and manage information and technologies led to the inclusion of several topics on GAO’s list of "urgent priorities." It will be impossible for the next Administration to successfully deal with the GAO’s identified issues without concurrently addressing government-wide issues like information management.