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Agencies Open to the Public – Some Not So Much

Under a directive from the White House's Office of Management and Budget, federal departments and agencies were to have created open-government Web pages by last Saturday. A few stragglers didn't make it.

 Last Saturday was the deadline for federal departments and agencies to launch their open-government Web pages under a directive issued by the White House Office of Management and Budget. Our Transparency Tracker clocked the progress of some of those pages and found that while many agencies posted their new pages, there are some stragglers. We found no open-government sites for the CIA, the Federal Election Commission or the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

For those agencies that did make the deadline, the quality of pages ranged from the minimal --  “Here’s Our Open-Government Site” -- to detailed pages providing plenty of links to data and other materials.

The White House’s directive called for agencies to create transparency sites with consistent addresses – the agency’s URL followed by “/open.” While some agencies redirected any user who typed that URL to the right place, we found the National Transportation Safety Board only by searching. Not even our handy tracker picked it up.

The OMB directive also required that agencies “maintain and update that webpage in a timely fashion.” So we’ll also be tracking progress on agencies’ open-government Web sites.

Yes, we realize that Washington was hit with a record-breaking snowstorm over the weekend, but the directive calling for these sites was issued in early December. Once Washington is open for business, we’ll contact agencies to get more information about the sites we could not find.

Last Saturday was the second of several open-government deadlines for agencies. To find out what’s next, check out our interactive chart of transparency tasks.

Getting up open-government sites is one thing, but really following through on President Obama’s call for transparency is another. Check out these sites and tell us in comments what you think.

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