Thursday, August 25, 2011

President Obama instructed all federal agencies to promote openness and transparency

[Guest blog tonight from America's Progressive Voice!  Please follow their outstanding blog and like them on their Facebook page. If you would like to contribute, just email] 

On his first day in office, President Obama issued a Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies on Transparency and Open Government; a directive stating his administration's commitment to "creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government."

"My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government.  We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government."

1. Government should be transparent.
2. Government should be participatory.
3. Government should be collaborative.

"I direct the Chief Technology Officer, in coordination with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Administrator of General Services, to coordinate the development by appropriate executive departments and agencies, within 120 days, of recommendations for an Open Government Directive, to be issued by the Director of OMB, that instructs executive departments and agencies to take specific actions implementing the principles set forth in this memorandum. The independent agencies should comply with the Open Government Directive."

Open Government Initiative

May 21, 2009 - the Obama administration launched the Open Government Initiative which included included three phases of public participation via cyberspace, e-mail and traditional mail.

  • February,  2009 - Launch of  enables the American people to track how Recovery Act money is being spent
  • March, 2009 - Each department released their annual Freedom of Information Act in a machine-readable format so that members of the public can more easily track performance
  • April, 2009 - U.S. Government Printing Office launches new,  online federal digital system to increase public access to archived Government information
  • May, 2009 - Launch of Web site, which provides the public with access to raw federal data in formats that they can download and manipulate including data sets on economic,  health care and environmental topics  which had been previously available only in incompatible formats and scattered across multiple agency sites
  • May, 2009 -, the official site for submitting comments electronically now has enhanced search capability
  • July 2009 - Obama's Chief Information Officer launches the Federal IT Dashboard a new, one-stop clearinghouse of information that allows the public to track $76 billion in federal IT initiatives and hold the government accountable for results. The Dashboard is now being used by the Administration and Congress to make budget and policy decisions
  • September, 2009 - the Federal Communications Commission to allow the public to stay connected to all Federal Communication Commission activities and share their thoughts about the Internet
  • September, 2009 - The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, for the first time, publishes its Work-related Injury OSHA Data Initiative allowing the public to search online employer-specific information about occupational fatalities
  • October, 2009 - the White House, for the first time ever, began publishing the names of everyone who visited the White House the previous 120 days on theirVisitor Access Records page.  As of  July, 2011, over 1.5 million records have been released.
  • December 8, 2009 - the White House issued an unprecedented Open Government Directive which requires federal agencies "to take immediate, specific steps to achieve key milestones in transparency, participation, and collaboration." That month, the administration issued their Progress Report to the American Peopledetailing their Open Government accomplishments
  • February, 2010 - The Department of Energy launched an open-source platform Open Energy Info to make DOE resources and energy data widely available to the public.


  1. is the biggest load of internet waste I've ever seen.

    So what? Obama posted online what would've found it's way there anyway (see Wiki leaks).

    ---President Obama set the tone, breaking his transparency pledge with the very first bill he signed into law. On January 29, the White House announced that Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act had been posted online for review. One problem: Obama had already signed it – in violation of his “sunlight before signing” pledge to post legislation for public comment on the White House website five days before he sealed any deal.
    April 2009: “Of the eleven bills President Obama has signed, only six have been posted on None have been posted for a full five days after presentment from Congress…”

    HAHAHAH!!! There is your "transparency"!! I can keep going if you'd like?

  2. Then why did Bush and Reagan change it?

  3. PFP- Not following you, bud. What do you mean?

  4. And for the record, I actually like that he did all this....but any politicians that claim they are "transparent" are lying.

    And there isn't as much transparency here as he'd like us all to think there is.

  5. I think this was just precedent setting.