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The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Coverage of 2008 Secrecy Report Card continues

The 2008 Government Secrecy Report Card released Tuesday by OpenTheGovernment.org was covered by media outlets across the country.

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1 comment:

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The report cites the following as indicators of growing secrecy:

* The government spent $195 maintaining the secrets already on the books for every one dollar the government spent declassifying documents, a 5 percent increase in one year.
* 18 percent of the requested Department of Defense (DOD) acquisition funding is for classified, or “black,” programs. Classified acquisition funding has more than doubled in real terms since FY 1995.
* $114.1 billion of federal contract funding was given out without any competition. On average since 2000, fully and openly competed contracts have dropped by almost 25 percent
* Federal surveillance activity under the jurisdiction of the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has risen for the 9th consecutive year-more than double the amount in 2000.

As bleak as the report is, it’s not totally devoid of good news. It ends with a survey of actions taken by the 110th Congress to force more executive branch openness. For instance, Congress passed the OPEN Government Act of 2007, which was meant to help streamline the myriad of problems with the Freedom of Information Act. Another encouraging bill is S. 3077, the Strengthening Transparency and Accountability in Federal Spending Act of 2008, which if it becomes law would bolster the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006. It was this law that set up USAspending.gov based on OMB Watch’s FedSpending.org.

Congratulations to Patrice and her team on completing this vitally important report. We at Sunlight are proud to be a member of their coalition.