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InsiderOnline Blog: October 2012

Not Transparent

The Obama administration is not fulfilling the President’s instructions to “usher in a new era of open government,” according to a Bloomberg analysis of federal agencies’ responses to Freedom of Information Act requests for the cost of travel by top officials:

Nineteen of 20 cabinet-level agencies disobeyed the law requiring the disclosure of public information: The cost of travel by top officials. In all, just eight of the 57 federal agencies met Bloomberg’s request for those documents within the 20-day window required by the Act. […]

Bloomberg reporters in June filed FOIA requests for fiscal year 2011 taxpayer-supported travel for Cabinet secretaries and top officials of major departments. Justice Department official Melanie Ann Pustay said in an interview that disclosure of those records is in the public interest.

Even agency heads who publicly announce their events – including Holder, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius – didn’t provide the costs of their out-of-town trips more than three months after the initial request. […]

The travel costs generated by some other Obama officials—Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, and Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano – also remain undisclosed.

A request made in June for the travel records of Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, will remain unfulfilled for more than a year, according to a federal official involved in the case. [Bloomberg, September 28]

Posted on 10/01/12 06:13 PM by Alex Adrianson

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