New OMB Watch Report Shows States Making Progress on Releasing Accountability Information Online, but More Work Needed

WASHINGTON, March 19, 2012—OMB Watch today released a new report, Upholding the Public's Trust: Key Features for Effective State Accountability Websites, that evaluates state and federal accountability websites against several key criteria. Overall, several states have taken initial steps to release public officials' integrity information online, which is crucial for holding those officials accountable for their actions. However, the report finds that much more work lies ahead for state disclosure sites.

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Analysis Finds Progress, Some Stumbles in Obama Administration's FOIA Transparency Efforts

WASHINGTON, March 14, 2012—Today, OMB Watch released an analysis of the Obama administration's implementation of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) based on new agency reports. The administration has continued to make progress in this area: in fiscal year (FY) 2011, the Obama administration processed more FOIA requests than in either of the past two years.

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Sunshine Week: A Celebration of Transparency

Sunshine Week, the annual celebration of transparency in government, will be held this year from March 11-17. A number of events and activities are planned across the country to raise awareness of the importance of open government.

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Freedom of Information Act Portal Would Boost Responsiveness, Improve Efficiency

An interagency project underway could revolutionize implementation of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and significantly improve transparency and efficiency. The project to develop a government-wide portal for FOIA requests, a goal long supported by the open government community, could deliver as soon as this fall.

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Peering Behind the Curtain: Consumer Protection Agency Proposes Public Credit Card Complaint Database

In December, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposed a public online database of consumer complaints about credit cards. The database would empower consumer choices on credit cards and position the agency as a leader in government transparency. However, the financial industry opposes disclosure and may use its considerable political influence in an effort to block public access to the information.

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Government Transparency in 2011: Moving the Chains

Heading into the holiday season, many Americans think not just of gifts and snowdrifts, but also of another winter tradition: football. As it happens, gridiron analogies are a good way to think about the year's events in the arena of government transparency and right-to-know. In March, OMB Watch published an assessment of President Obama's first two seasons as coach, which showed remarkable progress for Team Transparency. Throughout 2011, Obama and his staff made strong decisions, but there were also a few setbacks along the way.

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Global Studies Highlight U.S. Transparency Strengths, Weaknesses

Several recently published studies compare the policy and practice of transparency in the United States and other countries. Such studies provide useful measures of U.S. openness relative to real-world conditions, in addition to highlighting global best practices and alternative approaches. The U.S. ranked in the middle range in the studies, demonstrating how other countries have met the challenges of 21st-century transparency while the U.S. has lagged in some areas.

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Administration Identifies Unclassified Information to be Safeguarded

On Nov. 4, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) released the initial registry of controlled unclassified information (CUI) categories. When fully implemented, the categories listed in the CUI registry will be the only labels that agencies can use to identify unclassified information that requires safeguarding or dissemination controls.

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Administration and Global Partners Forge Ahead with Open Government Agenda

The launch of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) on Sept. 20 marks a new era for open government in the United States and abroad. The national action plans released by the OGP founding countries offer the potential to create more responsive governments that better serve the needs and aspirations of their peoples.

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Building a 21st Century FOIA System

The Obama administration is seeking to use technology to better support the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) system. The effort could improve access to government information, empower Americans, and strengthen democratic accountability.

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