A Look at Transparency in the 21st Century

This afternoon, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's technology subcommittee will host a hearing on using technology to improve transparency under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The hearing will also be an opportunity to examine the Obama administration's performance on implementing FOIA.

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States Releasing Information Online that Can Ensure Public Official Accountability

On March 19, OMB Watch released a new report that evaluates state and federal websites designed to ensure the accountability of public officials. The report, Upholding the Public's Trust: Key Features for Effective State Accountability Websites, examines state efforts to release public officials' integrity information online. Such transparency is crucial to guard against self-dealing and patronage. While states and the federal government have made progress in this area, more work lies ahead.

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Mixed Results for the Obama Administration on Freedom of Information

Sunshine Week, the annual nationwide celebration of transparency in government, prompted numerous analyses of the Obama administration’s progress on improving its responsiveness in processing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Through its own analysis, OMB Watch found the administration has continued to make progress overall, but agency-by-agency results have been mixed.

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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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Standing Up for Credit Card Customers' Right to Know

Yesterday, the comment period ended on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) proposal to create an online database of customer complaints about credit card companies. Here's an update on where things stand:

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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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