Event Offers In-Depth Assessment of Transparency in the Fourth Year of the Obama Administration


WASHINGTON, Jan. 14, 2013 – For the fifth year in a row, American University Washington College of Law’s Collaboration on Government Secrecy (CGS) will host leading experts on transparency issues with representatives from the Obama Administration to focus on the accomplishments and challenges in making government transparency a reality, particularly in the second presidential term.

The day-long program will be held Jan. 17 from 9:30 a.m.– 6 p.m. at American University Washington College of Law, Room 603.

Since 2009, the Obama Administration has striven to keep his presidential campaign commitment to create "the most transparent administration in history," beginning with his sweeping “Day One” transparency and FOIA policy memoranda. After creating high expectations for the full and prompt implementation of these new transparency policies, however, the Obama Administration and its Department of Justice have struggled to do so –which has led to growing concern and now even alarm in the openness-in-government community.

“We have conducted this type of program for five years now, amidst high expectations but increasing concerns over policy-implementation promises by the Obama Administration that have remained unmet,” said Daniel Metcalfe, director of the law school's Collaboration on Government Secrecy. “This year, we will focus most heavily on the differences between the Justice Department’s Office of Information Policy (OIP) and NARA’s newer Office of Government Information Services (OGIS); on the inexplicable delays in agencies’ promulgation of updated FOIA regulations since 2007; and on the prospects for improved FOIA service through the FOIAonline portal sponsored by OGIS and EPA. The Justice Department has been invited to participate both widely and at a high level, and it is expected to do so.”

The program will feature presentations by key Administration officials on the following:

  • OGIS Successes an assessment of the Office of Government Information Services’ successful discharge of its statutory mandate, and more, during its first three years
  • “Portal to Success” An early look at the unique new “FOIAonline” portal launched by OGIS, EPA, and three other federal agencies to transform the handling of FOIA requests
  • “FOIA Regs or FOIA Dregs” A critical review of the widespread failure of federal agencies to issue regulations required for full and proper implementation of the 2007 FOIA Amendments and the Holder FOIA Memorandum of March 2009
  • Defending the Justice Department An opportunity to explain the seemingly inexplicable failure of the Department to successfully fulfill its longtime FOIA leadership role
  • “Transparency” in its Broadest Sense – A broad view of “transparency” as involving the means by which government information is made available for public use

Speakers include:

  • Josh Gerstein, White House reporter, POLITICO
  • Thomas S. Blanton, director, National Security Archive
  • Miriam M. Nisbet, director, Office of Government Information Services (OGIS), National Archives and Records Administration
  • David Burnham, co-director, Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), and former investigative reporter, The New York Times

More information or register for the event.

Media interested in attending should contact Megan Smith, public relations coordinator, 202-274-4276.


About American University Washington College of Law

In 1896, American University Washington College of Law became the first law school in the country founded by women. More than 100 years since its founding, this law school community is grounded in the values of equality, diversity, and intellectual rigor. The law school's nationally and internationally recognized programs (in clinical legal education, trial advocacy, international law, and intellectual property to name a few) and dedicated faculty provide its 1700 JD, LL.M., and SJD students with the critical skills and values to have an immediate impact as students and as graduates, in Washington, DC and around the world. For more information, visit wcl.american.edu.