Transparency efforts show mixed results

March 15, 2010 at 10:20 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 15 (UPI) -- The Obama administration's first year of trying to make government more transparent had mixed results, an audit of Freedom of Information Act requests shows.

The yearly audit of by several organizations indicates less than a third of the 90 federal agencies that process requests for information significantly changed their procedures since President Barack Obama issued new guidelines on transparency his first day in office, The Washington Post report reported Monday.

"President Obama sent a clear message for freedom of information, and we found that agencies are talking the talk, just not yet walking the walk," said Thomas Blanton, director at George Washington University's National Security Archive, which conducted the audit released Monday.

Earning orchids were the departments of Agriculture and Justice, the Office of Management and Budget and the Small Business Administration for either completely or partly fulfilling more requests and denying fewer of them during fiscal 2009. the audit indicated. Getting onions were the departments of State, Transportation and Treasury, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for have fulfilled fewer requests and denied more during the same time period, the Post said.

The audit's release marked the start of Sunshine Week, the annual attempt by federal groups and news organizations to promote better access to government information.

Annual FOIA progress reports from the Justice Department this week are expected to demonstrate noticeable progress on implementing Obama's transparency orders, said Norm Eisen, special White House counsel for ethics and government reform.

"The official data that we will release will show the trends are more positive -- for example, that there were many more full and partial FOIA releases, although we agree it's too soon for a final judgment," Eisen said.

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