Policy and News Updates for September 14, 2010



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

 

News from Coalition Partners & Others

I. 2010 Secrecy Report Card Released

II. OpenTheGovernment.org, Coalition Partners, File Brief in Support of Narrowing FOIA Exemption

News from Coalition Partners & Others

Help GAP Pass Federal Whistleblower Protections

The Government Accountability Project reminds us that Congress only has 80 working days to finalize passage of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (S. 372, H.R. 1507). After nearly a decade-long campaign, we are now we are closer than ever to real reform. However, we risk having to start over next Congress if final passage of this bill is not made a political imperative. Visit GAP’s Action Center to contact your representatives!

 

Sunlight Foundation Launches Clearspending

Last week the Sunlight Foundation launched a new website, Clearspending, that tracks how well, or poorly, U.S. government agencies are reporting their spending data on USASpending.gov. In addition to presenting overall results on the consistency, completeness and timeliness of data in USASpenging.dov, the site enable users to view a "scorecard" of individual agency performance on a variety of metrics.

 

Learn More at National Institute on Money in State Politics

Visit the National Institute on Money in State Politics’ website, FollowTheMoney.org to track money in politics in all 50 states. Set up an account using the myFollowTheMoney feature to download contribution data sets for any state, candidate or committee, or use one of the Sleuth Tutorials to help you grasp the full potential of our database and tools, and provide a visual explanation of campaign finance issues.

 

I. 2010 Secrecy Report Card Released

On Tuesday, September 7, OpenTheGovernment.org released the 2010 Secrecy Report Card 2010 Secrecy Report Card, a quantitative report on indicators of government secrecy. The report chronicles a continued decrease in most indicators of secrecy since the end of the Bush Administration and growing backlogs in the declassification system as old secrets move through the system. The report covers the first 9 months of President Obama’s Administration. According to Patrice McDermott, Director of OpenTheGovernment.org, "The 2008 elections were largely seen as a referendum on the extreme secrecy of the last Administration. On his first full day in office, President Obama pledged his Administration would be the most open, transparent and accountable in history. The Secrecy Report Card helps the public monitor the progress, or lack thereof, the President makes toward that goal."

 

II. OpenTheGovernment.org, Coalition Partners, File Brief in Support of Narrowing FOIA Exemption

OpenTheGovernment.org and several coalition partners have signed onto an amicus brief filed by Public Citizen arguing against the existence of a so-called "high 2" exemption to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that applies when a "personnel document" is "predominantly internal and its disclosure presents a risk of circumvention of agency regulation." As explained in the brief, FOIA’s plain language, legislative history, structure, and purpose all demonstrate that Exemption 2 covers only internal employment matters in which it can be presumed that the public has no interest.

 

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