Updated Agency Plans Show Path toward Culture of Openness

On April 9, numerous federal agencies released new versions of their Open Government Plans, detailing the activities they will undertake to bolster transparency and citizen participation. The latest versions are the second generation of plans; the original plans were published in 2010 in response to President Obama's transparency memo and the administration's Open Government Directive.

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Using the Clean Air Act to Protect Americans from Chemical Accidents

In March, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advisory panel recommended that the agency use its authority under the Clean Air Act to protect Americans against chemical disasters. Using safer chemicals could reduce or eliminate the threats and dangers that chemical plants pose to millions of people living downwind.

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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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