As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, September 04, 2009

White House Gives On Transparency

This is very good news.

Early this morning, the White House took a huge step toward a more transparent government by announcing a historic new policy to voluntarily disclose White House visitor access records. Each month, records of visitors from the previous 90-120 days will be made available online.

From the President’s statement:

For the first time in history, records of White House visitors will be made available to the public on an ongoing basis. We will achieve our goal of making this administration the most open and transparent administration in history not only by opening the doors of the White House to more Americans, but by shining a light on the business conducted inside it. Americans have a right to know whose voices are being heard in the policymaking process.

Aside from a small group of appointments that cannot be disclosed because of national security imperatives or their necessarily confidential nature (such as a visit by a possible Supreme Court nominee), the record of every visitor who comes to the White House for an appointment, a tour, or to conduct business will be released. Read the full policy here.

The Administration has also agreed with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) to settle four pending cases requesting specific White House visitor access records, including those dating from the Bush administration (read the transmittal letter here). We have provided CREW with the records relating to their requests….

Credit where due. Executive branches are going to be naturally somewhat secretive and guarded, and so allowing the visitor logs to be released for the first time in history is a major victory for open government. In general, very good news, as the President makes good on a campaign promise of transparency.

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