Over the course of our recent correspondence, the Department has failed to address POGO's direct questions. Among these were questions about DHHS's plans for the online posting of contracts for vaccine production and its plans to post the evaluation of contractors' performance. This time we turned up the heat, bluntly telling Dr. Nicole Lurie, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, that her reply to our recent inquiry constituted a "non-response response" that "combines, confuses, and fails to distinguish between four different kinds of documents."
We also reminded the Assistant Secretary about the March 2009 memo in which Attorney General Eric Holder urged agencies to release more information -- even urging them to post documents in advance of freedom-of-information requests by the public.
Perhaps the release of the DHHS's new Open Government Plan (due April 7), will give the agency reason to reconsider posting the contracts for vaccine production. In addition, DHHS should either post information about contractors' performance or else explain the legal basis for refusing to post this information.
POGO previously asked DHHS to make this and other information available in a letter sent on October 30, which you may read here.
-- Bryan Rahija