recommended reading

Groups compile list of hard-to-access public records

Less than a month after President Obama gave administration officials 120 days to develop a governmentwide transparency directive, watchdogs are compiling a list of the 10 "most wanted" unclassified government documents currently unavailable in an easily accessible format., a project just launched by the Center for Democracy and Technology and Open the Government, has received more than 80 suggestions so far, with financial industry bailout funds and Congressional Research Service reports topping the list. Other popular requests include details on the rationale for and usage of USA PATRIOT Act powers, congressional voting records, and memoranda from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel.

Internet users have until March 9 to vote for the unclassified information or data they most want to see posted or updated. The results will be released during Sunshine Week, March 15-21.

CDT Vice President Ari Schwartz said the first major test of Obama's e-government regime is, a searchable database of economic stimulus-related spending that went online today before the president signed the $787 billion package. At a briefing with other CDT officials, Schwartz expressed disappointment with Obama's failure to follow through on his campaign pledge not to sign legislation without posting it online for five days to allow public review and comment. The administration has since limited this requirement to "non-emergency" bills, which meant that neither the State Children's Health Insurance Program nor the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act received five-days of scrutiny before becoming law.

CDT President Leslie Harris was less critical, saying the administration needs "a little bit more time" to get its e-government house in order. But Harris criticized the administration's decision last week to continue, pending completion of a Justice Department review, the Bush administration's policy of asserting "state secrets" privileges in national security cases.

Lawmakers will get a chance to examine the transparency of stimulus spending at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing scheduled for March 5. OMB Director Peter Orszag is expected to testify along with GAO Acting Comptroller General Gene Dodaro and Phyllis Fong, chair of the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency.

"It is critical to ensure that systems are in place -- ahead of time -- to oversee this massive level of spending and that the public is provided with as much information as possible about where their money is going," Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Joseph Lieberman said Saturday.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.