“My administration,” President Obama wrote on his first day in office, “is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government.”
Those were strong and hopeful words. Four years later, it is becoming more and more clear that they were just words.
On Monday afternoon, open-government advocates assembled in a congressional hearing room to ponder what had become of the Obama administration’s lofty vows of transparency.
“It’s been a really tough slog,” said Anne Weismann of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “The lack of effective leadership in the White House, in the executive branch, has really made it difficult to have more significant progress.”
“They’ve been reluctant to take positions,” said Hudson Hollister of the Data Transparency Coalition, “and translate that to real action.”
“In the beginning of 2010, [Obama] said he made a significant mistake by abandoning some of his pledges related to transparency,” said Josh Gerstein of Politico, “and that going forward they would do things differently. Seems to me we are forward and it seems to me we’re not doing things any differently.”