Thursday, March 10, 2016

Obama's hypocrisy on freedom of information

The Obama Administration claims to be the most transparent Presidency ever. It even issued a memo in 2009 instructing government agencies to be more open to FOIA requests. But when legislators took the President at his word and tried to enact those instructions into law, Obama secretly opposed them:

In a move open government advocates are calling “ludicrous”, the administration “strongly opposed” the passage of bipartisan Freedom of Information Act (Foia) reform behind closed doors in 2014. The bill was a modest and uncontroversial piece of legislation which attempted to modernize the law for the internet age and codify President Obama’s 2009 memo directing federal agencies to adopt a “presumption of openness”.

Through a Foia lawsuit, the Freedom of the Press Foundation (the organization I work for) obtained a six-page talking points memo that the Justice Department distributed to House members protesting virtually every aspect of the proposed legislation in incredibly harsh language – despite the fact that some of the provisions were based almost word-for-word on the Justice Department’s own supposed policy...

Worse, Vice’s Jason Leopold is also reporting that the administration is conducting similar lobbying efforts around this year’s attempt to reform Foia in time for the law’s 50th anniversary this summer.

And naturally, they had to sue to extract this information from a government which wanted to keep its hypocrisy secret.

The full horror story is here.