New Posts

Feb 8, 2016

Top 400 Taxpayers See Tax Rates Rise, But There’s More to the Story

As Americans were gathering party supplies to greet the New Year, the Internal Revenue Service released their annual report of cumulative tax data reported on the 400 tax r...

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Feb 4, 2016

Chlorine Bleach Plants Needlessly Endanger 63 Million Americans

Chlorine bleach plants across the U.S. put millions of Americans in danger of a chlorine gas release, a substance so toxic it has been used as a chemical weapon. Greenpeace’s new repo...

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Jan 25, 2016

U.S. Industrial Facilities Reported Fewer Toxic Releases in 2014

The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data for 2014 is now available. The good news: total toxic releases by reporting facilities decreased by nearly six percent from 2013 levels. Howe...

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Jan 22, 2016

Methane Causes Climate Change. Here's How the President Plans to Cut Emissions by 40-45 Percent.

  UPDATE (Jan. 22, 2016): Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its proposed rule to reduce methane emissions...

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Congress Says Special-Ops Budget Too Secret

While details on spending on specific national-security programs are sometimes kept from the public, such secrecy is not supposed to extend to Congress. Lawmakers are supposed to have detailed information on executive branch activities so they can knowledgeably exercise their constitutional power of the purse.

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DOJ Letter Shows Need for Stepped-Up Enforcement of Freedom of Information Act

A new letter by Department of Justice (DOJ) officials reveals the department is engaged in limited enforcement activities under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The letter responds to an inquiry from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to DOJ's Office of Information Policy (OIP), which oversees agency compliance with FOIA.

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Disclosure of NSA Surveillance Programs Underscores Need for Increased Transparency of National Security Activities

As more facts come to light about the massive, ongoing surveillance affecting millions of Americans, it is imperative that the government bring greater transparency and accountability to national security programs. We need a new national debate about personal privacy and security and where we as a country will draw the line.

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Transparency is Key for Sustainable Growth, Global Panel Says

Open and accountable government is key to successful development, according to a report by a United Nations (UN) panel released May 30. The report, titled A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies through Sustainable Development, was produced by a panel of global dignitaries at the request of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The report's emphasis on transparency represents the growing consensus among world leaders in favor of open government and could bolster support for transparency within the U.S.

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Improving Rules on Implementing the Freedom of Information Act

Up-to-date Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) rules that support transparency are important for ensuring agencies are properly implementing the law. Last week, the Center for Effective Government submitted comments to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) on its proposed FOIA implementation regulations and encouraged the agency to expand online disclosures, improve communication with requesters, clarify fees and fee waivers, and improve the process of submitting and processing administrative appeals.

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Center for Effective Government Welcomes New Executive Order on Transparency

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2013— Today, President Obama signed an executive order on data and information transparency. Titled "Making Open and Machine Readable the New Default for Government Information," the order was accompanied by an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) memo detailing the new policy and its implementation. The policy is intended to make public information more open and more easily accessible to the American people.

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Fixes Early in FOIA Process Offer Greatest Potential for Impact

The Obama administration has released new data on the 333 lawsuits filed in 2012 under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The data shows that although FOIA lawsuits can be high profile, they are rare and the vast majority of requesters never pursue litigation. But more importantly, the information indicates that FOIA reforms, currently being considered by both Congress and the administration, can generate greater improvements for public access when they address earlier stages of the FOIA process.

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Shortcomings in Transparency Performance Point to the Need for Reforms of Freedom of Information Act

The Center for Effective Government's recent analysis, Freedom of Information Act Performance, 2012: Agencies Are Processing More Requests but Redacting More Often, highlighted some troubling trends in agencies' performance in providing information to the public under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and found wide disparities among agencies. These shortcomings show that legislation will be needed to repair the current weaknesses in the FOIA system.

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Ruling in Major Freedom of Information Act Case Requires Meaningful Responses to Requests

On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an important ruling in a lawsuit that Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed against the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The court agreed with CREW’s position that in order to meet the Freedom of Information Act's (FOIA) deadline to reply to a request, an agency's response must be meaningful. The Center for Effective Government supported CREW’s position by joining an amicus brief in June 2012.

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Informing All Financial Customers: Consumer Protection Agency Expands Complaint Database

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced today that it will expand its online public database of customer complaints to include additional financial services that the bureau regulates. Previously, the database had included only complaints about credit cards. Under the new policy, the CFPB will disclose complaints it has received from consumers about mortgages, bank accounts and services, private student loans, and other consumer loans.

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Resources & Research

Living in the Shadow of Danger: Poverty, Race, and Unequal Chemical Facility Hazards

People of color and people living in poverty, especially poor children of color, are significantly more likely...

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A Tale of Two Retirements: One for CEOs and One for the Rest of Us

The 100 largest CEO retirement funds are worth a combined $4.9 billion, equal to the entire retirement account savings of 41 percent of American fam...

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