Is Obama sincere about transparency?

The Conversation: Our responses to your questions and comments.

image of obama on phone

On a story reporting the Obama administration's mixed record for transparency, an anonymous commenter writes: Lack of progress in government transparency is due to the example set at the very top. Based on the actions done ... it is obvious that the actual call for it from this president was all political for obtaining power and not for any improvement in the government.

Camille Tuutti responds: The Center for Effective Government does point out in its report, and so did Gavin Baker in his interview with me, that Obama has taken several strides to make the government more open -- and it does not appear to be just a power grab. For example, one of the first things he did as president was to create a searchable website of logs of White House visitors. It was the first time ever that type of information was made available. Also, during the first two years of the first term, several senior White House staffers worked on transparency reforms. "To its credit, the administration has taken some steps to ensure its transparency policies are enacted," the report summed up. There is no lack of White House-directed policies concerning openness; it is in implementation that shortcomings show. Clearly, more work remains to be done -- and not just by Obama. The recommendations in this report are directed not just at the president, but also to those at the top of the org chart at agencies, as well as legislators.

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