TheIntelHub | September 28, 2012
Nineteen out of 20 cabinet-level agencies under the Obama administration have failed to follow the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act, thereby disobeying the law that demands disclosure of public information.
White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew said in July that the Obama administration “has been the most transparent ever.”
But an analysis of government requests filed by Bloomberg News has found an alarming number of transparency violations, particularly when it comes to the taxpayer-funded cost of travel by top officials.
“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,’’ Daniel Metcalfe, director of the Department of Justice’s office monitoring the government’s compliance with FOIA requests, told the news agency.
In 2009, the newly sworn in President Obama promised a new standard of transparency that his administration has not upheld – even accepting awards for what he oversaw as “the most transparent administration in history.”
“I will hold myself as president to a new standard of openness… Let me say it as simply as I can: Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency,”he said while welcoming his senior staff and cabinet secretaries to his office.
Two years later, the administration continued to boast about its supposed transparency.
“This president has demonstrated a commitment to transparency and openness that is greater than any administration has shown in the past, and he’s been committed to that since he ran for president and he’s taken a significant number of measures to demonstrate that,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in May 2011, before the president accepted an award for transparency.
But Bloomberg’s report highlights specific instances in which secrecy was a normal part of the regime. Under FOIA, the news agency requested documents from 57 federal agencies regarding taxpayer-funded travel.
Only eight of 57 agencies responded within the 20-day timeframe required by the Act. The other agencies are under violation of FOIA for failing to submit the documents on time.