05 May 2011

Former Obama Admin Open Gov Official Pretending Open Gov Doesn’t Mean Transparency

Bravo to the Project on Government Oversight for catching this.

Open government groups have been frustrated with the Obama administration, after promising campaign rhetoric and some early moves by the President that he deserves praise for led to a plateau. Some of this may be explained with some comments that the woman he had in charge of his “Open Government Directive” made recently.

From the Project on Open Government:

I thought “open government” was such a simple concept—that the “what” and the “why” were not really complicated. We want to see what the government is doing so that we can make sure it is doing it well and doing it for the right reasons.

Boy was I wrong. In fact, it is becoming increasingly clear that there is quite a different perception not only of what open government means, but also of why we want it and how to get it. And it looks like at least some of the people on the inside who have been calling the shots have an entirely different take from us.

Former U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer Beth Noveck, the person tasked with implementing the Obama Administration’s Open Government Initiative until she returned to New York Law School, recently pondered the definition of “open government” in The Huffington Post:

“In retrospect, ‘open government’ was a bad choice. It has generated too much confusion. Many people, even in the White House, still assume that open government means transparency about government. It was a shorthand for open innovation or the idea that working in a transparent, participatory, and collaborative fashion helps improve performance, inform decisionmaking, encourage entrepreneurship, and solve problems more effectively.”

Yeah… those silly people who think open government is supposed to be about transparency… because, you know, that’s what it means. But why let definitions of terms get in the way of a good white washing job from a former administration official?

Political people lying about what words mean is an unfortunate part of being involved in politics – I can’t spend half an hour on Twitter without seeing a handful of people misusing the centrist and/or moderate labels.

Given the fact that honesty isn’t on the menu, the Obama administration almost has no alternative but to lie here. During his campaign, he made a number of promises related to open government and transparency, but his administration has reached new lows in several areas.

Click through to see the POGO folks nail Ms. Noveck to the wall. It’s a pretty good read.

Read on at the Project for Government Oversight »

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