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Category Archives: Freedom of Information

Why is federal government data disappearing?

The Hill: “The White House recently deleted all of the data on its open data portal, which served as a public clearinghouse for data on everything from federal budgets to climate change initiatives. This is a red flag, since for eight years, the Obama White House championed the practice of making government data freely available to the public in order to promote transparency and accountability, to serve as a resource for researchers, and to allow innovators to create new tools and services that spur economic activity and solve social problems. While the Trump administration has not yet signaled that it will oppose open data across the federal government, its silence on the issue suggests that open data may not receive the same level of priority it has in the past. In sharp contrast, President Obama declared a “new era of openness” on his first full day in office and directed federal agencies to be more transparent. Rather than wait for the Trump administration to change course, Congress should move quickly to adopt the bipartisan OPEN Data Act and permanently codify an open data policy for the U.S. government…”

CRS – The Law and Leaks to the Press

CRS Reports & Analysis Legal Sidebar – The Law and Leaks to the Press, 02/22/2017: “President Trump has expressed concern over leaks to the press from within the Executive Branch. Earlier administrations, particularly the Obama Administration, acted upon similar concerns to prosecute officials, employees, and contractors who leaked classified information or certain military information to… Continue Reading

ProPublica Project – Documenting Hate

“The 2016 election left many in America afraid – of intolerance and the violence it can inspire. The need for trustworthy facts on the details and frequency of hate crimes and other incidents born of prejudice has never been more urgent. At this point, there is simply no reliable national data on crimes. And no… Continue Reading

The Presidential Timeline Project

“The Presidential Timeline project supports educators in developing students’ historical thinking skills and promoting civic engagement. The project consists of the Presidential Timeline website, Summer Teacher Institutes and webinars. The National Archives provides historical content and primary sources, and the University of Texas at Austin provides technical skills to create and maintain the website. Both… Continue Reading

Atlantic FAQ on President Trump and conflict of interest issues

The Atlantic – “President Donald Trump still has not taken the necessary steps to distance himself from his businesses while in office. In accordance with a plan that he and one of his lawyers, Sheri Dillon, laid out at a press conference on January 11, Trump has filed paperwork to remove himself from the day-to-day… Continue Reading

The real National Treasure: US presidential libraries

Oxford University Press Blog: “…A presidential library is actually two things,” Giller [Melissa Giller, Chief Marketing Officer for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Institute in Simi Valley, California] describes. “It’s a museum that anyone can come and visit and tour through…and it is a library.” The library is, more often than not, the private… Continue Reading

Animal welfare data deleted by government restored to public by Russ Kick

Follow up to previous posting – Animal welfare information wiped from USDA website – news via TIME on the freedom of information evangelist Russ Kick – “An Arizona man who has published thousands of animal welfare documents on his website since the government purged the once-public information is pledging to keep digging up data until… Continue Reading

AALL joins 60 advocacy groups calling for open access info on government websites

Via AALL: On February 14, 2017 “the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) partnered with OpenTheGovernment.org and more than 60 other public interest groups and associations on a letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), asking OMB to issue guidance reminding agencies that they are required under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C.… Continue Reading

Murray, Cantwell Seek Answers After Resource Website for Federal Law Protecting Students with Disabilities is Taken Down

“Washington state Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell today called on new Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to provide an immediate and detailed explanation for why the resource website for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has disappeared. “The Department’s failure to keep this critical resource operational makes it harder for parents, educators, and… Continue Reading

Amnesty International – Mass hangings and extermination at Saydnaya prison, Syria

Report – Human slaughterhouse: Mass hangings and extermination at Saydnaya prison, Syria: “One former judge from a Syrian military court told Amnesty International the “court” operates outside the rules of the Syrian legal system. “The judge will ask the name of the detainee and whether he committed the crime. Whether the answer is yes or… Continue Reading

Establishing Digital Interactive Transparency Act

News release, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) reintroducing the Establishing Digital Interactive Transparency (EDIT) Act. “The EDIT Act will instruct the Library of Congress to open up the legislative process by implementing a track changes style system for Congress.gov. “Americans want accountability and transparency out of their lawmakers in Washington, and as lawmakers, we must work… Continue Reading

FedWeb.com – How America Raises and Spends $4 Trillion per Year

FedWed.com: “As General Counsel at the Senate Finance Committee, I had the good fortune to be present when our Chairman, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, famously said “everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” One of the great ironies of the Information Age is that the volume of information we receive… Continue Reading