Journalism in the Public Interest


Obama Details Promises for Transparency

WDCPIXYesterday, we looked at President-elect Obama’s stance on transparency. As we noted, Obama’s record on the issue isn’t spotless, but he did make promises during the campaign to run a far more transparent presidency. This morning, Obama’s transition Web site,, offered some details on “using cutting-edge technologies” to create “a new level of transparency, accountability and participation for America’s citizens.”  

Among the ideas listed on the site:

  • Centralize Ethics and Lobbying Information for Voters: Obama and Biden will create a centralized Internet database of lobbying reports, ethics records and campaign finance filings in a searchable, sortable and downloadable format.

  • Require Independent Monitoring of Lobbying Laws and Ethics Rules: Obama and Biden will use the power of the presidency to fight for an independent watchdog agency to oversee the investigation of congressional ethics violations so that the public can be assured that ethics complaints will be investigated.
  • Create a Public “Contracts and Influence” Database: As president, Obama will create a “contracts and influence” database that will disclose how much federal contractors spend on lobbying, and what contracts they are getting and how well they complete them.

  • Expose Special Interest Tax Breaks to Public Scrutiny: Obama and Biden will ensure that any tax breaks for corporate recipients — or tax earmarks — are also publicly available on the Internet in an easily searchable format.

  • Sunlight Before Signing: Too often bills are rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them. As president, Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House Web site for five days.

  • Shine Light on Earmarks and Pork Barrel Spending: Obama’s Transparency and Integrity in Earmarks Act will shed light on all earmarks by disclosing the name of the legislator who asked for each earmark, along with a written justification, 72 hours before they can be approved by the full Senate.

We’ll be watching to see what happens after January 20th.

It would appear that the link to no longer works. It would be a great thing if he followed through with those, though.

There are many changes in the government that Obama want to make, unless you live under a rock, you’ve heard of Obama’s “Blueprint for Change” by now. If you’re an employee of the federal government, then you should be wondering about just how this is going to affect you. According to Lois Romano and Eric Pianin of the Washington Post, there are “dozens” of proposals in his Blueprint that can change the career path for government employees. Obama plans to go through the budget line by line and eliminate waste. “I am not a Democrat who thinks that we can or should defend every government program just because it is there,” says the President Elect. While that may sound scary, and it may send many running for personal loans, don’t panic just yet: Obama has a broad domestic policy that will change skilled workers’ careers over to new programs. He also encourages the younger crowd to share in his idealism by participating through service.

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