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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Transparency in the Administration

The Open Secrets blog reports:
PRESIDENTIAL NO-SHOW: President Barack Obama's absence this week at an event conducted in part to celebrate the president's commitment to transparency has raised some questions about his qualifications for the award.

Obama was scheduled to accept an award at the Freedom of Information Day Conference for his "deep commitment to an open and transparent government -- of, by and for the people," but canceled due to unspecified changes to his schedule. None in the coterie of good government groups putting on the event criticized the president or his administration, but the move left a vacuum that many in the media were happy to fill.

The conservative news website Daily Caller brought up an Associated Press story that highlighted the Obama's worsening record on filling Freedom of Information Act requests in 2010. The AP reported that the Obama administration failed to fulfill "one out of every three information requests" last year, down from the year before.

The Daily Caller also joined other media outlets, such as Reason, in highlighting a Time Magazine report about the Obama administration's aggressive push to prosecute whistle-blowers such as Bradley Manning, the Army private who is accused of leaking a cache of State Department cables to the WikiLeaks group.

The Time report features an interview with Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), a consistent congressional advocate for government transparency.

"President Obama came into office promising a new transparency," Kucinich says in the article. "We're getting the opposite."