Agencies Should Cooperate with Freedom of Information Ombudsman, Administrative Conference Says

Federal agencies should do more to cooperate with the government's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) ombudsman, according to recommendations approved June 5 by the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS). The recommendations also called for the ombudsman, known as the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS), to continue efforts to assist people who make FOIA requests. The recommendation is a positive step for helping people access public information under FOIA.

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Transparency Will Help Air Travelers Choose the Right Flight

On May 23, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed a new rule meant to better protect air travelers from hidden fees. The proposed rule would require airlines and ticket agents to disclose any baggage or other ancillary fees along with ticket prices in order to help customers compare the real cost of flights.

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Justice Department Will Release Drone Strike Memo

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced May 20 that it will not appeal a court decision ordering the disclosure of the legal analysis that justifies the government's drone-based targeted killing program. The Center for Effective Government, along with other transparency organizations, had called on DOJ to let the decision stand and release the records. The case, New York Times Co. v. Department of Justice, was filed after the agency rejected a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the document.

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Transparency Missing from House NSA Reform Bill

On May 8, the House Intelligence Committee approved the USA FREEDOM Act, which would limit the National Security Agency's (NSA) ability to spy on Americans through their phone records. A day earlier, the House Judiciary Committee approved the same bill, setting the stage for consideration by the full House.

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Medicare Releases Data on Payments to Physicians

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services today released a trove of data on the agency's payments to physicians. This information has long been sought for its value in detecting and deterring fraud and waste.

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CEG Joins Brief in Case Challenging Secret Presidential Orders

The Center for Effective Government joined Public Citizen and other open government groups on April 7 in filing an amicus brief in a key lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The case, Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) v. National Security Agency (NSA), could limit the public's ability to access documents that set policy for executive branch agencies. 

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Information for Economic Opportunity: Ensuring Equal Pay through Transparency

Today is Equal Pay Day, the date representing how far into the new year the average woman would have to work in order to earn the same as the average man did in the previous year. In recognition, President Obama took executive actions and the Senate began work on a bill, all aimed at closing the pay gap and ensuring women earn equal pay for equal work. Each of these efforts is based on the same premise: that better access to information can expand economic opportunity.

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Now Available: Obama Foreign Aid Order Obtained in Groundbreaking Case

Today, the Center for Effective Government is releasing the Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development, which it obtained through a path-setting Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. President Obama originally issued the order in September 2010. Our story exemplifies a situation where disclosure eventually prevailed but with more delay and hassle than should be the case under the law.

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The Right to Know: A Global Goal

In a statement released today, the Center for Effective Government joined nearly 200 organizations from around the world in calling for the right to know to be enshrined as a global goal for sustainable development efforts.

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Oversight Board Calls for Greater Transparency of Telephone Surveillance

Today, the independent Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board released its report examining the bulk collection of telephone records by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the operation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The NSA program has come under intense scrutiny in the wake of disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The oversight board’s report is sharply critical of the program and calls for greater transparency of surveillance policies and the surveillance court.

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