U.S. role as leader in transparency threatened

Transparency International warned that America’s international role as a champion of transparency and anti-corruption was in jeopardy given allegations of conflicts of interest and nepotism in the Trump administration. “The concerns about the U.S. are the concentration of power, the ideas around conflicts of interest being unmanaged, cronyism, nepotism and the muzzling of the press so these are the conditions that we would look out for in the future as to where a country might decline in the rankings,” said Robert Barrington, Transparency International’s director for Britain. (Voice of America, January 27, 2017, by Luis Ramirez)

Reports indicate that the Trump administration is taking steps to “wall off the flow of actual facts from the federal government.” There is a gag on employees of federal agencies. Some worry that they will not be able to obtain reliable economic data prompted by Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s reply to a question about the unemployment rate that he could not answer because the president is “not focused on statistics.” (Newsday, January 25, 2017, by William Goldschlag and Dan Janison)

Andrea Peterson of the Sunlight Foundation, January 26, 2017, reports that the Trump administration has made some disquieting changes to Whitehouse.gov by eliminating some important information from the site, including the White House Open Government Initiative. And even more noteworthy removing the website of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) while they are updating it. Besides playing a vital role in developing a budget, the OMB advises federal agencies on carrying out administration policies.