The agenda pages that we told you disappeared from Change.gov, President-elect Barack Obama's transition Web site, have returned in newly retooled form. Within the 22-plus agenda categories are items that address how the new administration will increase transparency in government.
The technology page promises that the new administration will open government to citizens by using "cutting-edge technologies to create a new level of transparency, accountability, and participation for America's citizens." That agenda item, however, is listed below one promoting the protection of privacy -- one of the most common reasons the federal government has withheld information over the years.
The items listed on the new page are basically the same as before, but they are more tightly written and no longer include derogatory statements about the Bush administration such as: "The Bush Administration has been one of the most secretive, closed administrations in American history." Apparently, that's now a secret.
Among the 22 items on the transition team's ethics agenda page are more goals -- some more specific than others -- aimed at increasing transparency:
- Create a centralized Internet database of lobbying reports, ethics records, and campaign finance filings in a searchable, sortable and downloadable format
- End the Practice of Writing Legislation Behind Closed Doors
- 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 will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days
- Shine Light on Earmarks and Pork Barrel Spending
- Make White House Communications Public
- Conduct Regulatory Agency Business in Public
- Nullify attempts to make the timely release of presidential records more difficult