Obama at 100 Days — Assessments of Government Transparency and Regulatory Reform Efforts

-For Immediate Release-
April 28, 2009

Contact: Brian Gumm, (202) 683-4812, bgumm@ombwatch.org

Obama at 100 Days — Assessments of Government Transparency and Regulatory Reform Efforts

WASHINGTON, April 28, 2009—In November 2008, OMB Watch, together with a diverse set of organizations and individuals, presented Barack Obama (who was then President-elect) and Congress with recommendations on how to improve government transparency, advance Americans' right to know, reform the regulatory process, and ensure that federal agencies are working to advance the public interest. The recommendations were included in two separate reports, Moving Toward a 21st Century Right-to-Know Agenda and Advancing the Public Interest through Regulatory Reform. Both reports included actions for President Obama to undertake within the first 100 days of his presidency.

OMB Watch has assessed the Obama administration's work on government transparency and regulatory reform at the 100-day mark. While the administration did not accomplish all of the recommendations included in the reports, readers will see that the president and his team have made significant progress in both the right-to-know and regulatory areas. The assessments illustrate, however, that there is still much work to be done as we move deeper into Obama's term in office. This is to be expected, as a more complete measurement of any new presidency cannot be made until at least a year after Inauguration Day.

"The Obama administration has already accomplished some key things related to regulatory reform and advancing our right-to-know," said Gary D. Bass, executive director of OMB Watch. "However, we do have some concerns."

Bass noted that Obama's choice to head up the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Cass Sunstein, is a strong proponent of the continued use of cost-benefit analysis, a tool many advocates see as flawed and a cause of delay in the regulatory process. The Obama administration's continued use of the state secrets privilege and other policy tools is also troubling, according to Bass.

Despite the concerns, Bass is optimistic that Obama is moving in the right direction on most government transparency and regulatory reform issues. "Obama's first 100 days have already shown us how different his administration is from the Bush years," he said. "In most instances, the administration has moved away from a presumption of government secrecy to one of government openness, and Obama has scrapped some of the most damaging revisions of the regulatory process that Bush and his team imposed on the nation." Bass added that it is important for citizens and watchdog organizations to remain vigilant and to encourage the administration to continue to improve the way our government functions and interacts with the American people.

The full text of the assessments is available at http://www.ombwatch.org/obamaat100days. Direct links to PDF versions of each assessment are also available:

# # #

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