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The Overview Published: Sep 16, 2015

#FOIAFRIDAY: Editorial Boards Across the Country Criticize the Obama Administration for Transparency Failures

foia-probsLast week, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held two days of hearings on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Over a week later, the drumbeat continues from outlets across the country demanding increased transparency and openness from the Obama Administration.


Most Administrations play games with FOIA, but the Obama White House has turned stonewalling into an art form. … President Obama famously vowed to run the ‘most transparent’ Administration in history. Instead he has presided over one that has systematically abused a law intended to assist public disclosure and keep government accountable.”


The behavior is part of a series of revelations about how the Obama administration has failed to live up to its lofty promises of openness and worked to avoid disclosure to the public.


“Other evidence describes how Mr. Obama’s political appointees and public relations people have injected themselves into the process of reviewing FOIA requests, creating immense delays and lengthy consultations between agencies and White House appointees.” 


The American public deserves answers, not platitudes, from its government, with the understanding that sometimes those answers will be ‘no.’ Even the ‘most transparent’ Obama administration should be able to see that.”


“President Barack Obama took office in January 2009 promising to oversee the most transparent administration ever, but instead his has been the opposite of transparent. Foot dragging and stonewalling are the norm, as testimony last week underscored.


But this is the Obama administration we’re talking about here. The one that piously promised to be the most transparent in history. … If the abuse itself doesn’t get reporters upset, at least the flagrant hypocrisy should.”


In the end, the White House these days is about as transparent as drywall. … The American people have a right to know what their government is up to. Fighting, resisting or just plain ignoring FOIA requests is no way to conduct the business of the people.”


With little more than 18 months left in to President Obama’s second term, that transparency’ remains sadly lacking. … This much, though, is clear: President Obama has fallen far short of keeping his ‘most open and transparent administration’ promise.” 


“This is one of the most secretive White Houses in modern history, one that goes to great lengths to conceal information, duck the Freedom of Information Act, snoop on journalists and prosecute whistleblowers. … And then there is the administration’s record when it comes to the federal FOIA, which is deplorable.”