December 7, 2009
[efoods]The Obama administration is holding a workshop today on open goverment.
It’s closed to the public and press.
The workshop is being held by the Justice Department’s Office of Information Policy for the public liasons at federal agencies who field requests for records filed under the Freedom of Information Act. The administration, vowing greater “transparency” about government actions, is outlining procedures for working with a new U.S. Office of Government Information Services, set up to resolve disputes over information requests.
“If they’re getting marching orders, why shouldn’t the public be there?” asks Jeff Stachewicz, founder of the Washington-based FOIA Group Inc., which files hundreds of requests each month on behalf of companies, law firms and news organizations.
“We’d like to know, when they’re training agencies, are they telling them the same thing they’re saying in public, that they’re committed to making the Freedom of Information Act work well and make sure that agencies are releasing information whenever possible while protecting important issues like individual privacy and national security,” said Rick Blum, coordinator of the Sunshine in Government Initiative.