The Obama Administration's Open Government Initiative: Issues for Congress
Congressional research rept.
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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On his first full day in office January 21, 2009, President Barack Obama issued two memoranda for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies that were related to transparency in government. One memorandum focused on the administration of the Freedom of Information Act FOIA, and the other focused on transparency and open government. The transparency memorandum committed the administration to an unprecedented level of openness and to the establishment of a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Some scholars argue that these memoranda were a significant break from the policies of the previous administration. Over the next few months, the Office of Management and Budget OMB--a component of the Executive Office of the President--administered a series of online public feedback forums as part of a comprehensive Open Government Initiative OGI. Through the forums, OMB sought input from federal employees and the public on ways to improve government transparency, increase public participation with the federal government, and encourage collaboration among federal government agencies, private citizens, and other entities. On December 8, 2009, the Obama Administration released a third memorandum, an Open Government Directive OGD, that included more detailed instructions for departments and agencies on how they are to implement the principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration. Among other policy initiatives, the memorandum required all federal agencies to release three high-value datasets that were previously unpublished. In addition, the memorandum required each agency to designate a high-level senior official to be accountable for the quality and objectivity of, and internal controls over, the Federal spending information that agencies currently provide to government websites like USAspending.gov and Recovery.gov.
- Government and Political Science