FOI DAILY DOSE: Congress transparency act gets attention, editorial argues against petition to withdraw Obama’s open gov award

Congress transparency act draws interest in House

A bill that would make congressionally mandated reports more easily accessible is gaining attention in the House of Representatives.

The Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act, which would create a website with easily accessible electronic records of congressionally mandated reports, now has 10 co-sponsors. Its initial sponsor was Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill.

The transparency website would be updated with new reports by the Government Printing Office.

POGO editorial argues against withdrawing Obama’s transparency award

A petition is circulating that asks the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) and other open government organizations to withdraw the transparency award they presented to President Obama in March.

The government crackdown on whistleblowers such as alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning and NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake (whose case was recently settled with a plea bargain) has led the petitioners to question the Obama administration’s commitment to open government.

Danielle Brian, POGO’s executive director, agreed with petitioners in a Tuesday blog post that transparency reforms are needed at the federal level.

But Brian also argued that the Obama administration overall has been a great supporter of open government, which is why POGO will not withdraw its support for the award.

The post also included comments from Tom Blanton, director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University, explaining that Obama received the award because “he produced the best ever – hands down – orders for open government of any president in U.S. history, and he did so on his first day in office.”

Blanton also called for open government advocates to focus their energy on making a real difference in the fight for government transparency.

While POGO and Blanton stand by the transparency award given to Obama, they aren’t going to stop fighting for further open government reforms.

– Morgan Watkins

Morgan Watkins is SPJ’s summer Pulliam/Kilgore Freedom of Information intern and a University of Florida student. Reach her by email ( or connect with her on Twitter (@morganwatkins26).

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