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Keeping the Promise of Transparency

WRI has joined with 70 organizations to issue the 21st Century Right to Know Agenda Report in support of government transparency and accountability in the incoming Obama administration.

In honor of Constitution Day last month, WRI called for the presidential candidates to reaffirm their commitment to the Constitution and the fundamental legal frameworks that makes environmental protection possible.

Today, candidate Obama is now President-elect Obama, and WRI has joined a transpartisan coalition to call on the new administration to improve governance and increase transparency in the executive branch.

John Podesta, President-Elect Obama’s White House Transition team co-chair, has promised to oversee the “most open” and “most transparent” transition possible. WRI and many other organizations want to see these pledges carried through—not only during the next few months, but also once Inauguration Day has come and gone.

The coalition is pushing for a practical set of reforms that the transition team and the new administration should adopt. Here are a few of the principles and recommendations we support:

  • Government should commit to openness as a principle, complying not merely with the letter of openness laws but with the spirit of transparency.
  • Information should be made available in a timely manner and should be accurate, complete, and authentic.
  • Exemptions to disclosure should be as narrow and specific as possible – and the burden of proof should lie with the government when exemptions are used.
  • The president should actively cooperate with congressional oversight and recognize that oversight is a healthy component of American government.

Read the full list of recommendations in the full 21st Century Right to Know Project Report.

WRI has previously released the policy note, Presiding With Principle, which examined the link between poor governance--such as the distortion of scientific findings--and poor policy. Read more about WRI’s efforts to promote transparency, inclusiveness, accountability and scientific integrity here.

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