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The Daily Caller News Foundation
January 11, 2016

Obama Killing Open Government With ‘Secrecy’
By Kathryn Watson

The White House circulated a then-private memo to federal agencies in 2009, directing them to forward any FOIA requests involving “White House equities” to the White House’s legal counsel for review. “It’s a big deal to democracy — it’s a very serious threat,” David Burnham, former New York Times investigative reporter and co-founder of the FOIA-filing Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), told The Daily Caller News Foundation about the federal government hindering the free-flow of public information. Burnham, a long-time FOIA requester, said government resistance to releasing public information long predates the Obama administration. Obama, however, offered big promises of transparency when he first entered the Oval Office. “This resistance does hinder public and congressional examination of real problems in the agencies,” Burnham said. “Whether it’s worse now than it was under Nixon or other administrations, it’s hard to say. The government is unbelievably awful in our view and unlawful, but I’m not sure it’s worse than it was.” Lawsuits against the federal government in 2015 reached their highest levels since 2001. Burnham said this could be partly attributed to non-profit watchdog groups like Cause of Action and Congress Watch aggressively challenging the Obama administration’s FOIA actions in federal court.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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