19 Out of 20 Cabinet Agencies in the Most Transparent Administration In History Disregard Disclosure Law


Remember back in 2007 when Democrats staged a "Sunshine Week" designed, according to the Associated Press, to "highlight they say is a disturbing level of secrecy in the Bush administration"? Democratic media staffers told the press that they were upset in large part because seven executive had gone a decade or more without responding to legally required information requests.

Later, when their winning presidential candidate, Barack Obama, took office, he immediately promised to "usher in a new era of open government," promising to oversee "the most transparent administration in history."

Here's what transparency and accountability looks like under the most transparent administration in all of recorded time. Via Bloomberg News:

On his first full day in office, President Barack Obama ordered federal officials to "usher in a new era of open government" and "act promptly" to make information public.

As Obama nears the end of his term, his administration hasn't met those goals, failing to follow the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act, according to an analysis of open-government requests filed by Bloomberg News.

Nineteen of 20 cabinet-level agencies disobeyed the law requiring the disclosure of public information: The cost of travel by top officials. In all, just eight of the 57 federal agencies met Bloomberg's request for those documents within the 20-day window required by the Act.

"When it comes to implementation of Obama's wonderful transparency policy goals, especially FOIA policy in particular, there has been far more 'talk the talk' rather than 'walk the walk,'" said Daniel Metcalfe, director of the Department of Justice's office monitoring the government's compliance with FOIA requests from 1981 to 2007.

The Bloomberg survey was designed in part to gauge the timeliness of responses, which Attorney General Eric Holder called "an essential component of transparency" in a March 2009 memo. About half of the 57 agencies eventually disclosed the out-of-town travel expenses generated by their top official by Sept. 14, most of them well past the legal deadline. 

Outside of paid White House staffers, who continue to claim that the administration is as transparent as a newly Windexed window, is there anyone left who doesn't think the Obama administration's commitment to openness is a joke? This president and the agencies he oversees are just as indifferent to transparency as every administrion before, and perhaps more so.