Government Transparency ? + Update

From the Center for Effective Government


PRESS RELEASE -For Immediate Release- March 10, 2014

Open Government Scorecard Finds Agencies Still Struggling to Effectively Implement the Freedom of Information Act


WASHINGTON, March 10, 2014—In a new report published today, the Center for Effective Government grades 15 key agencies on how well they have implemented our most fundamental right-to-know law – the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). While several agencies received top scores in one of the three areas examined, no one agency earned a top overall grade of an A, and seven agencies received failing grades.

“In each area we examined, we found a few agencies that were performing exceptionally well, demonstrating that excellence is possible,” said Katherine McFate, President and CEO of the Center for Effective Government. “But the fact that no agency achieved a top grade across all three areas illustrates the difficulty agencies are having with implementation overall. Agencies face a variety of challenges, depending on their request loads, the kind of information they manage, and the manpower they have available to do the job. But there is clearly much room for improvement.”

The report, Making the Grade: Access to Information Scorecard 2014 Shows Key Agencies Still Struggling to Effectively Implement the Freedom of Information Act, measures three areas of performance for the 15 agencies that received the most FOIA requests in Fiscal Year 2012:

  1. Processing requests for information (how quickly agencies responded to requests, how frequently agencies granted requests, and how well agency appeals worked);
  2. Establishing rules for information access (effectiveness of agency policy to establish good communications with requesters, streamline the review process to speed responses, and maximize disclosure of records); and
  3. Creating user-friendly websites (facilitating the flow of information to citizens, online services, and up-to-date online reading rooms).

In each of the three performance areas, at least one agency earned an A, showing that excellence is possible. But the highest overall grade was only a B (the Social Security Administration received a B and the Department of Justice a B-). Consistency across each performance area was elusive.

“Many agencies could easily raise their grades by making some commonsense adjustments in the way they process requests, by making disclosure a priority for agency staff, and by improving search features and user interfaces on the disclosure sections of their websites,” said Sean Moulton, Director of Open Government Policy and one of the authors of the report.

Moulton concluded, “By identifying current best practices and agencies that score well, as well as existing shortcomings, we hope to encourage public officials to continue to improve the policies and practices of their agencies to ensure the public’s right to know is guaranteed.”

The report and grade tables are available online at The overall grade table is below.

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Now matter how you look at this, the national government is out of control !

I will be interested in hearing your thoughts about this report and/or government transparency.

Mrs AL

UPDATE:  See CW’s first remark regarding some digging she did on the site who originated this information.  Kudos to CW for discovering the Sorors connection!  I missed it.



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5 Responses to Government Transparency ? + Update

  1. CW says:

    Very interesting, Mrs. AL.

    Frankly I was surprised the grades were as high as this article suggests, so I looked at the website that produced it and lo and behold it’s a group funded by George Soros, among others. So I think right off the bat we can significantly discount their analysis. After all, does anyone seriously believe that Holder’s Justice Department deserves a B- on transparency?

    The other tip-off was the way in which the article suggests that the problem is merely process-related. Yeah right. I imagine it has to be very time-consuming to do all that redacting.

    The fact is there really are no repercussions for not complying as far as I can tell, and that’s an open invitation for the lefties in the Obama administration to abuse the policy, which is precisely what they’ve done. Furthermore, Obama’s claim that he would have the most transparent administration ever was, from the outset, a glaring signal of both his now infamous naiveté and the absurdly false vision he has of himself and his friends as the good guys. That’s what an objective analysis would have concluded.

    • Mrs AL says:

      I knew I could count on someone to sleuth this out ! My compliments, CW.

      That said, the “grades” are bad enough that they should raise all kinds of red flags, not withstanding who is ‘backing’ the group.

    • Garnet92 says:

      Good catch, CW! As one who has “followed” Soros for years, we can be assured that ANYTHING that he funds will be in the business of defeating conservatives. My initial reaction while reading the chart was shock at seeing the DOJ with a high rating. Of course, the Fast & Furious investigation surely showed their cooperation, didn’t it? That report is about as factual as an Obama statement – e.g., BULLSHIT.

  2. Janyk says:

    The only “Freedom of Information Act” I see going on, lately, is THEIR freedom to gather OUR information – NOT our theirs.
    “Transparency”, my foot! Oy!