OMB Watch Applauds Obama Administration's Step Forward on Open Government

-For Immediate Release-
May 22, 2009

Sean Moulton, Director of Federal Information Policy, 202-234-8494,
Roger Strother, Federal Information Policy Analyst, 202-234-8494,

OMB Watch Applauds Obama Administration's Step Forward on Open Government

WASHINGTON, May 22, 2009—On Jan. 21, President Barack Obama issued a memo about the Open Government Directive. The memo gave the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) 120 days to develop recommendations for the directive. This effort has taken a slightly different direction that is encouraging collaboration and public engagement.

On May 21, the 120-day mark, the Office of Science and Technology Policy posted a notice in the Federal Register asking for ideas from the public on possible recommendations for the Open Government Directive that Obama tasked them to produce. The deadline for public comments, however, is June 19, apparently extending the May 20 deadline for official recommendations from the CTO. The administration also took additional efforts toward government openness:

  • The new Open Government Initiative homepage on the White House website,, features the announcement of the new public participation process; links to a brainstorming site (see below); and an innovation gallery of transparency, participation, and collaboration improvements.
  • The Open Government Brainstorm site,, run by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA), provides the ability to submit, comment on, and vote for open government directive ideas in all three categories – transparency, participation, and collaboration – from May 21 to May 28.
  • The open government "From the Inbox" page,, hosted by the Office of Science and Technology Policy, features recommendations and communications for the Open Government Directive that the administration has received over the last few months. The government has not yet placed the ideas in these documents on the brainstorming site for reactions, so it is probably incumbent upon submitters to do so.
  • The Federal Register notice, at, of the new public process for input into the open government directive. Very basic and generic, the notice points those interested to the new White House site but also provides e-mail and mailing addresses for comments.
  • The administration also announced yesterday the launch of and a comments process for

Reversing the entrenched culture of government secrecy is a challenging task for any administration. Some government openness advocates had hoped the process would be further along by this point, but many also understand that the process was delayed by the late appointment of the CTO. The right-to-know community is pleased that the Obama administration is creating an opportunity for public involvement before all the policy decisions are already made.

OMB Watch Executive Director Gary D. Bass commented, "We are hopeful that the participatory process the government has launched will lead to better outcomes."

# # #

OMB Watch is a nonprofit government watchdog organization dedicated to promoting government accountability, citizen participation in public policy decisions, and the use of fiscal and regulatory policy to serve the public interest.

back to Blog