Lawyers Meyer and Sobel: Obama Not Keeping Transparency Promise

Monday, 05 Mar 2012 11:45 AM

By Dan Weil

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President Barack Obama made clear from the get-go that transparency represented priority No. 1 for his administration. A minute after his presidency began, the White House posted a pledge on its website that the administration would be “the most open and transparent in history,” Politico reports

A little later on that day, Jan. 20, 2009, Obama himself promulgated a heavily publicized order for “a new era” and “an unprecedented level of openness” throughout the federal government.

So how’s he doing? Not so well, experts say.

“Obama is the sixth administration that’s been in office since I’ve been doing Freedom of Information Act [FOIA] work. ... It’s kind of shocking to me to say this, but, of the six, this administration is the worst on FOIA issues — the worst. There’s just no question about it,” Katherine Meyer, a Washington lawyer who’s been filing FOIA cases since 1978, told Politico.

“This administration is raising one barrier after another. ... It’s gotten to the point where I’m stunned. I’m really stunned.”

David Sobel, senior counsel at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, agrees. “Despite the positive rhetoric that has come from the White House and the attorney general, that guidance has not been translated into real-world results in actual cases,” he told Politico. “Basically, the reviews are terrible.”


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