Press Releases

OTG Supports the Special Counsel Transparency Act of 2018 to Ensure the Results of Mueller’s Investigation are Preserved and Shared with Congress

April 17, 2018 -- Open the Government expressed support for the Special Counsel Transparency Act of 2018, which was introduced today in the House of Representatives by Reps. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Ted Lieu (D-CA), and David Cicilline (D-R.I.) The bill seeks to preserve the work of the Justice Department’s investigation into the 2016 election, in the event the Trump Administration dismisses Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Citing Gina Haspel’s Role in Destruction of Torture Videos, OTG Leads Joint Letter Calling on Senate to Halt Her Nomination

Open the Government led a coalition that signed a joint letter today calling on the Senate not to advance Gina Haspel’s nomination as CIA Director until all records of her past involvement in a CIA torture program are declassified and released to the public. OTG is particularly concerned that Haspel participated in the destruction of video evidence of her role overseeing a clandestine detention site in Thailand that tortured detainees. The letter cited Haspel’s “concerted effort to escape embarrassment and legal consequences” by eliminating video proof of waterboarding, slamming detainees against walls, enforced sleeplessness, and confinement inside coffin-shaped boxes.

OTG Releases New Report Highlighting Challenges to Transparency in Washington, a Growing Surveillance State, and Attacks on Press Freedoms

Open the Government (OTG) released a new report, Closing Democracy’s Window: The Growing Culture of Secrecy in Washington and the Erosion of the Public’s Right to Know. To document the first year of the Trump Administration, the report closely reviews transparency and openness in the White House, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security; agencies selected for their high profile and their impact on important public policies.

In Sunshine Week Declaration Condemning Threats to Openness, Coalition Warns that Laws and Norms Protecting Open Government are Being Eclipsed

A coalition of leading organizations that fight for transparency and openness in government released a powerful declaration today warning Americans about escalating attacks on the public’s right to know. The organizations shared the statement, A Condemnation of Threats to Openness, Ethics and Accountability, with the White House and Members of Congress on the first weekday of Sunshine Week (March 11 – 17), to demonstrate how laws and norms that ensure Americans have access to information on their government are being eroded and eclipsed by a growing culture of secrecy in Washington.

OTG’s Executive Director Condemns Reported Trump Decision to Keep Guantanamo Prison Open

Open the Government Executive Director, Lisa Rosenberg, condemned the Trump Administration’s shortsighted decision to sign an Executive Order reversing Barack Obama’s policy to close the Guantanamo facility “as soon as practicable.” Politico reports “Trump is expected to announce plans to sign the order during his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, or in the days before or after the address.”

Nunes Alleges FISA Abuse in Secret Memo; Yet he and Others Voted for Reauthorization of the Most Unregulated Area of the Law Without Protections for Americans

Open the Government Executive Director, Lisa Rosenberg, says that a new secret memo by Rep. Devin Nunes, (R-CA) that claims the Obama Administration abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to target Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, raises serious questions about why lawmakers voted last week for reauthorization immediately after rejecting an amendment to fix the parts of the law most subject to misuse and interference with Americans’ privacy.

Dangerous Provision Slipped into the Continuing Resolution Allows Secret Transfer of Intelligence Funding without Congressional Oversight

Open the Government Executive Director, Lisa Rosenberg, called on the House today to reject a disturbing provision in the budget bill that would permit President Donald Trump and intelligence agencies to covertly reallocate money to from one intelligence program to another without first notifying Congress. “Congress must remove this intelligence provision and remind itself that it has a duty to serve as a check on Executive Branch overreach,” said Open the Government Executive Director Lisa Rosenberg

Trump Administration Blocks Access to Report on Handling of the Travel Ban; Open Government Groups Appeal Decision

Today, two open government organizations called on the Trump Administration to immediately release an Inspector General’s report detailing how the administration carried out its controversial travel ban issued in January 2017. Open the Government and the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) were alarmed after their Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to access the IG report was blocked by the Trump Administration, and today filed an appeal challenging the decision.

Senate Abdicates Leadership on FISA, Opening the Door to Targeting Americans with Abusive Surveillance Tactics

The Senate failed to protect the American people from a bill that poses an enormous risk to accountability, civil liberties and privacy rights. This is a bad gamble that was sold as making us safe, when it has the potential downside of making us very sorry. We have already seen disturbing glimpses of FISA 702 abuses, with warrantless surveillance that has upended the lives of Americans.