Leaders of the open government community met with President Obama last week to present him with an award for his leadership in making government more transparent. The inscription on the award reads: ‘To President Barack Obama For His Deep Commitment to a More Open and Transparent Government—Of, By, and For the People from The Openness Community.
Group leaders representing a coalition of open government groups included Gary Bass, Founder and Executive Director of OMB Watch; Tom Blanton, Director of the National Security Archive; Danielle Brian, Executive Director of the Project on Government Oversight; Lucy Dalglish, Executive Director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press; and Patrice McDermott, Director of Open the Government. They praised the President’s efforts to reduce secrecy by reducing classification and over-classification, to create a more responsive FOIA process, and to enhance transparency through the Open Government directive and the White House visitors logs, as well as his support for whistleblower protections and the reporters’ privilege.
The meeting was more than a handshake, however. The President also engaged the group leaders in discussion. He listened to their concerns and priorities, and expressed his agreement with their fundamental commitment to open government, and with their observation that promoting transparency requires ongoing effort. He welcomed their continued support, assistance, and feedback.
Steve Croley is Special Assistant to the President for Justice and Regulatory Policy