Submitted by Diane Farsetta on
A coalition of open records, good government and research groups submitted "a lengthy to-do list for President-elect Barack Obama and Congress." Their recommendations include overturning the "Ashcroft memo," which made it easier for federal agencies to refuse requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA); rescinding Executive Order #13233, which limits access to historical presidential records; directing the new Attorney General "to advise agencies how to increase the presumption of openness" under FOIA; encouraging Congress "to establish a criminal penalty for willful concealment or destruction of non-exempt agency records requested under FOIA." The Obama transition website, Change.gov, "once contained pages describing how it would use technology to provide more information to the public," reports ProPublica, "but the transition team took down the pages to 'retool' them." The since-disappeared transparency ideas included establishing a public "contracts and influence" database of federal contractors and their lobbying expenditures, and posting all non-emergency bills on the White House website for five days, before they're signed into law.