Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Obama's Historically Transparent Thanksgiving Eve Document Drop

It's all so historically transparent, they felt the urgency to release it on a day when most people are busy traveling or preparing for Thanksgiving.

But hey, we're witnessing history here, so stop bitching. Plus, as a special holiday bonus, it's so transparently transparent, they're giving us records that are at least 90 days old. If you want anything since the beginning of September, well, you're out of luck. Maybe they need a record-keeping czar, an appointment that would no doubt signify another historic moment.

Soak in some of the magically transparent history.

Building upon last month’s historic release of nearly 500 White House visitor records, today the White House releases more than 1,600 records of visits to the White House in response to another month’s worth of requests. You can view all the records in a searchable database in our Disclosures section.

We announced earlier that in December the White House would -- for the first time in history -- begin posting all White House visitor records under the terms of our new voluntary disclosure policy. As part of that initiative, we also offered to look back at the records created before the announcement of the policy and answer specific requests for visitor records created earlier in the year.

Today’s production of records is in response to over 300 requests from the public during the month of October. Those requests have yielded over 1,600 responsive records. Consistent with our earlier announcement that we will only release records that are 90 days or older, this group of records covers the time period between January 20, 2009 to August 31, 2009. All of these have been added to the online database of published visitor records in an accessible, searchable format for anyone to browse or download.

Today’s release advances the President’s historic commitment to increasing government transparency and openness. This Administration’s concrete commitments to openness include putting up more government information than ever before on and, reforming the government’s FOIA processes, providing on-line access to White House staff financial reports and salaries, adopting a tough new state secrets policy, reversing an executive order that previously limited access to presidential records, and webcasting White House meetings and conferences. The release also compliments our new lobbying rules, which in addition to closing the revolving door for lobbyists who work in government have also emphasized expanding disclosure of lobbyist contacts with the government.

(Bold emphasis added)

I have to appreciate the subtle humor about "closing the revolving door for lobbyists." These people are a hoot.

The irony that there have to be hundreds of requests before they voluntarily release information seems to escape them. They can just pretend everything is historic and transparent and nobody is to question them. To wit:
Request White House Visitor Access

As detailed in our Voluntary Disclosure Policy on Visitor Access Records, for records between January 20 and September 15, 2009, White House Counsel will voluntarily respond to individual requests that are reasonable, narrow, and specific (e.g. requests that list possible visitors). To request such visitor records, click here.
How about just releasing all visitor records if you're seeking transparency? Why do you have to request something they claim they'll voluntarily release?

Smoke, meet mirror.

Tomorrow Obama will historically play his first historic round of golf on a Thanksgiving Day while President.

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