By DANA LIEBELSON and BRYAN RAHIJA
POGO is enthusiastic about the White House's new U.S. National Action Plan on transparency, which was made public today. The plan's release coincides with a speech President Obama gave this afternoon as part of the Open Government Partnership. A great number of POGO's recommendations are incorporated in the plan.
In early September, POGO and partners submitted comments and top policy priorities on an openness agenda to the Obama Administration. Back then POGO wrote, “The president is still not able to say his administration is the most open in history. Many in the openness community want to help the president achieve his objective on openness.” POGO’s recommendations included improving implementation of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), creating an executive order on whistleblower protections and establishing a Presidential Advisory Committee on Open Government (or PACOG.)
As we noted in a statement this morning, the new plan incorporates many of these suggestions. It commits not only to supporting legislation that protects federal whistleblowers, but to using executive power (for example, by issuing an executive order) to impose new protections if Congress fails to enact reforms. It also commits to improving FOIA administration; declassifying information that should be public; increasing transparency in federal spending, revenue collection for natural resources on public lands, and international financial systems; and also modernizing federal records so as to preserve agency emails.