Updated: Questions for 2016 Candidates for Federal Offices on Government Accountability, Public Disclosure, and the Right to Know

OpenTheGovernment.org and the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) have drafted these open government-related questions that can be asked of all candidates for federal office.  Our hope is that they will be used broadly – by editorial boards, reporters covering the 2016 campaigns, and interested members of the public who have an opportunity to speak with candidates.

Transparency is vital for public accountability and it needs to be a part of the greater conversation on democracy and open government. Indeed, government transparency and secrecy have played a major role in the most salient political issues of this still nascent election cycle, ranging from FOIA requests on Flint’s water crisis, to debates on NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, to questions on campaign finance. Still, while these issues are raised frequently in the midst of a high-profile controversy, candidates are rarely asked about their underlying open government beliefs and policies. Less than one-third of Americans view elected officials as “honest,” and yet transparency is mostly absent from the larger discussion.

Because this list consists of questions related to federal open government issues, it is therefore most relevant to candidates for President, United States Senate, or the United States House of Representatives.  However, we also encourage those interested in transparency at the state level to use them as a model when speaking with candidates for state or local office.

Contact information for ASNE and OpenTheGovernment.org is listed here as well, along with contact information for individual subject matter experts, so please do not hesitate to reach out to any identified individuals for additional information. Please also follow the #OpenOurGov campaign at OpenOurGov.org, calling on the presidential candidates to give their views on government transparency. 

Read the questions here.


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