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October 28, 2014

Saul Alinsky Would Be Proud

Rule 4: Make opponents live up to their own book of rules. “You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.”

- Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals

Channeling Alinsky, 50 watchdog groups ask the Obama administration to live up to it's own rhetoric:

On his first day in office, President Obama issued a memorandum instructing federal agencies that the FOIA “should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails.”

However, transparency groups and media organizations have been largely disappointed by the self-proclaimed “most transparent administration in history.” Federal agencies largely ignored the memorandum, and the Justice Department has been less than aggressive in enforcing the memorandum.

“Today, more than five years later, we face many challenges in fulfilling your day-one commitment,” the transparency groups wrote to the White House. “The FOIA remains one of the most effective tools for the public to know what its government is up to, but changing agency practices under that statute to meet your transparency goals has been especially challenging.”

The groups support codifying President Obama’s memorandum in law, as well as five other measures that would stiffen requirements for when agencies could withhold intra-agency communications or documents older than 25 years.

“Without this legislative mandate, the FOIA will continue to be subject to the political whims of whoever occupies the White House,” the letter states.

The White House has so far not responded to the letter. It did not return a request for comment for this article.

Among the 50 organizations that signed the letter are the American Civil Liberties Union, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Government, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Sunlight Foundation, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the American Library Association.

Perhaps while they're at it, they could ask the National Science Foundation to stop using taxpayer money to monitor/harass conservatives on Twitter.

Posted by Cassandra at October 28, 2014 08:05 AM

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