Reining in “Controlled Unclassified” Information: Time to Get the Job Done

The administration’s 2nd Open Government National Action Plan, released Dec. 6, includes a welcome commitment to implement the reforms laid out in President Obama’s 2010 executive order on controlled unclassified information (CUI).


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Shining a Light on Office of Management and Budget Rule Review Abuse

While anecdotes about the manipulation of the federal regulatory review process by the White House Office of Management and Budget have circulated for years, a recent Washington Post article on the delay of potentially controversial rules by the OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) prior to the 2012 elections is truly shocking.

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Will the National Action Plan Tackle Spending Transparency Gaps?

The White House unveiled version 2.0 of its Open Government National Action Plan (NAP 2.0) last week. An important part of the plan is shining more sunlight on how the federal government spends our money, such as improving the usability of (the main public portal for spending information), providing more federal contract information, and making spending data more available in formats easy to parse with computers. We commend the White House for these commitments.

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Defense Department Takes Narrower Approach to Controlled Unclassified Information

A new Department of Defense (DOD) rule requires defense contractors to protect “unclassified controlled technical information” from unauthorized access and disclosure. The rule, issued Nov. 18, is much narrower than DOD’s proposed rule, which had raised concerns that it could result in the inappropriate withholding of public information.

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Calls for Safer Chemicals Dominate Listening Session on Chemical Security

On Nov. 15, three federal agencies held the second of a series of “listening sessions” to improve chemical facility safety and security. Held in Washington, DC, the major point of discussion during the daylong session was on the need for the federal government to require high-risk facilities to convert to safer chemicals when available and affordable.

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House Bills Give Free Reign to the Oil and Gas Industry – Undermine Public Participation

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed two bills that would give the oil and gas industry free reign over federal lands and hinder public participation in environmental decision-making. Both bills, however, face an uphill battle in the Senate and the Obama administration has already vowed to veto them.

Here is a quick summary of the two bills:

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Congress Moves Closer to DATA Act Passage

The House of Representatives is planning to vote on the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2013 (DATA Act; H.R. 2061) tonight. The DATA Act, which has bipartisan support, would direct the executive branch to improve federal spending transparency.

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Congressional Research Service Details Latest Shutdown Developments at the Defense Department

On Oct. 7, the Congressional Research Service updated its report on how a lapse in appropriations – in other words, a government shutdown – is affecting the Department of Defense (DoD). The Center for Effective Government obtained the report and is making it publicly available.

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The Government is Now Closed…in More Ways Than One

The ludicrous and wasteful government shutdown can now claim another victim: government transparency. Several functions dedicated to providing information to the American public have been declared “non-essential” and are suspended during the lapse in appropriations. You might say that open government is now closed for business.

Here are some of the ways in which the shutdown is making it harder to know what government is doing (or at least, was doing before the shutdown):

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Freedom of Information Act Ombudsman Not Yet at Full Force, Report Finds

A recent report by the Government Accountability Office found that the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) doesn't have a plan for conducting comprehensive reviews of federal agencies Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) policies or their compliance with the law.

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