Sunshine Week inspires request for improved performance in federal government transparency

Transparency advocates are finding a lot to criticize in the Obama administration’s transparency record, praising its passage of the 2014 DATA Act and the release of catalogs of federal agency data but decrying the robust use of the Espionage Act to prosecute national security whistleblowers and federal agencies’ resistance to disclosure. (Government Executive, March 16, 2015, by Charles S. Clark)

In commemoration of Sunshine Week, over 20 open government groups signed a letter to President Obama requesting four steps to advance the cause of transparency: support the “presumption of openness” in FOIA reform; release the drafts of the TPP and T-TIP pacts; proactively disclose FISA data for which disclosure would be mandated under Sen. Leahy’s 2014 USA Freedom Act; and issue a statement of support for restoring intelligence community contractor whistleblower protections. (Project on Government Oversight, March 10, 2015, letter)