Friday, February 22, 2008

What you don't know won't hurt you

Or so they tell us.

On New Year's Eve, George the Shrub signed into law the Open Government Act of 2007. One of the things the bill did was create a post of FOIA ombudsman. Working out of the National Archive, this ombudsman was supposed to be an honest broker between citizens making FOIA requests and government agencies receiving them. The idea was that having such a person could both advance open government and reduce lawsuits.

Well, the ACLU reported a couple of days ago that
it was too good to be true. Tucked away in Bush's proposed new budget for 2008 - in the 1,300-page appendix - was language that stripped funding for the FOIA ombudsman role, and shoves the responsibilities off to the Justice Department. The same department, we might add, responsible for defending the government agencies when they're named in lawsuits to have FOIA requests enforced.
Give the White House cabal this much: At least they'e consistent.

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