to Cut Waste
President Obama and Vice President Biden launch the Campaign to Cut Waste, which will hunt down and eliminate misspent tax dollars in every agency and department across the Federal Government.
The President's first Executive Order called for more transparent, participatory, and collaborative government. This action set the bar for Executive Orders and Memoranda to follow that further his commitment to a government that is open and efficient.
President Obama has consistently made clear that he will strive to lead the most open, ethical, and accountable government in history. On January 21, 2009, the first day of his Administration, President Obama signed the following four initiatives. Each one is geared toward increasing public participation in government, and making government more accountable to the American people.
Presidential Memorandum on the Freedom of Information Act
The Memorandum instructs the Attorney General to issue new guidelines to the government implementing those same principles of openness and transparency in the processing of FOIA requests.
MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
SUBJECT: Freedom of Information Act
A democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency. As Justice Louis Brandeis wrote, "sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants." In our democracy, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which encourages accountability through transparency, is the most prominent expression of a profound national commitment to ensuring an open Government. At the heart of that commitment is the idea that accountability is in the interest of the Government and the citizenry alike.
The Freedom of Information Act should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails. The Government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears. Nondisclosure should never be based on an effort to protect the personal interests of Government officials at the expense of those they are supposed to serve. In responding to requests under the FOIA, executive branch agencies (agencies) should act promptly and in a spirit of cooperation, recognizing that such agencies are servants of the public.
All agencies should adopt a presumption in favor of disclosure, in order to renew their commitment to the principles embodied in FOIA, and to usher in a new era of open Government. The presumption of disclosure should be applied to all decisions involving FOIA.
The presumption of disclosure also means that agencies should take affirmative steps to make information public. They should not wait for specific requests from the public. All agencies should use modern technology to inform citizens about what is known and done by their Government. Disclosure should be timely.
I direct the Attorney General to issue new guidelines governing the FOIA to the heads of executive departments and agencies, reaffirming the commitment to accountability and transparency, and to publish such guidelines in the Federal Register. In doing so, the Attorney General should review FOIA reports produced by the agencies under Executive Order 13392 of December 14, 2005. I also direct the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to update guidance to the agencies to increase and improve information dissemination to the public, including through the use of new technologies, and to publish such guidance in the Federal Register.
This memorandum does not create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
The Director of the Office of Management and Budget is hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.
Presidential Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government
The Memorandum mandates an Open Government Directive within 120 days directing specific actions to achieve transparency, openness, and engagement.
MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
SUBJECT: Transparency and Open Government
My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.
Government should be transparent. Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing. Information maintained by the Federal Government is a national asset. My Administration will take appropriate action, consistent with law and policy, to disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use. Executive departments and agencies should harness new technologies to put information about their operations and decisions online and readily available to the public. Executive departments and agencies should also solicit public feedback to identify information of greatest use to the public.
Government should be participatory. Public engagement enhances the Government's effectiveness and improves the quality of its decisions. Knowledge is widely dispersed in society, and public officials benefit from having access to that dispersed knowledge. Executive departments and agencies should offer Americans increased opportunities to participate in policymaking and to provide their Government with the benefits of their collective expertise and information. Executive departments and agencies should also solicit public input on how we can increase and improve opportunities for public participation in Government.
Government should be collaborative. Collaboration actively engages Americans in the work of their Government. Executive departments and agencies should use innovative tools, methods, and systems to cooperate among themselves, across all levels of Government, and with nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individuals in the private sector. Executive departments and agencies should solicit public feedback to assess and improve their level of collaboration and to identify new opportunities for cooperation.
I direct the Chief Technology Officer, in coordination with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Administrator of General Services, to coordinate the development by appropriate executive departments and agencies, within 120 days, of recommendations for an Open Government Directive, to be issued by the Director of OMB, that instructs executive departments and agencies to take specific actions implementing the principles set forth in this memorandum. The independent agencies should comply with the Open Government Directive.
This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by a party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
This memorandum shall be published in the Federal Register.
Executive Order on Presidential Records
The Executive Order on Presidential Records brings those principles to presidential records by giving the American people greater access to these historic documents, severely curtailing the ability to use executive privilege to shield those documents.
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to establish policies and procedures governing the assertion of executive privilege by incumbent and former Presidents in connection with the release of Presidential records by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) pursuant to the Presidential Records Act of 1978, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Definitions. For purposes of this order:
(a) "Archivist" refers to the Archivist of the United States or his designee.
(b) "NARA" refers to the National Archives and Records Administration.
(c) "Presidential Records Act" refers to the Presidential Records Act, 44 U.S.C. 2201-2207.
(d) "NARA regulations" refers to the NARA regulations implementing the Presidential Records Act, 36 C.F.R. Part 1270.
(e) "Presidential records" refers to those documentary materials maintained by NARA pursuant to the Presidential Records Act, including Vice Presidential records.
(f) "Former President" refers to the former President during whose term or terms of office particular Presidential records were created.
(g) A "substantial question of executive privilege" exists if NARA's disclosure of Presidential records might impair national security (including the conduct of foreign relations), law enforcement, or the deliberative processes of the executive branch.
(h) A "final court order" is a court order from which no appeal may be taken.
Sec. 2. Notice of Intent to Disclose Presidential Records.
(a) When the Archivist provides notice to the incumbent and former Presidents of his intent to disclose Presidential records pursuant to section 1270.46 of the NARA regulations, the Archivist, using any guidelines provided by the incumbent and former Presidents, shall identify any specific materials, the disclosure of which he believes may raise a substantial question of executive privilege. However, nothing in this order is intended to affect the right of the incumbent or former Presidents to invoke executive privilege with respect to materials not identified by the Archivist. Copies of the notice for the incumbent President shall be delivered to the President (through the Counsel to the President) and the Attorney General (through the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel). The copy of the notice for the former President shall be delivered to the former President or his designated representative.
b) Upon the passage of 30 days after receipt by the incumbent and former Presidents of a notice of intent to disclose Presidential records, the Archivist may disclose the records covered by the notice, unless during that time period the Archivist has received a claim of executive privilege by the incumbent or former President or the Archivist has been instructed by the incumbent President or his designee to extend the time period for a time certain and with reason for the extension of time provided in the notice. If a shorter period of time is required under the circumstances set forth in section 1270.44 of the NARA regulations, the Archivist shall so indicate in the notice.
Sec. 3. Claim of Executive Privilege by Incumbent President.
(a) Upon receipt of a notice of intent to disclose Presidential records, the Attorney General (directly or through the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel) and the Counsel to the President shall review as they deem appropriate the records covered by the notice and consult with each other, the Archivist, and such other executive agencies as they deem appropriate concerning whether invocation of executive privilege is justified.
(b) The Attorney General and the Counsel to the President, in the exercise of their discretion and after appropriate review and consultation under subsection (a) of this section, may jointly determine that invocation of executive privilege is not justified. The Archivist shall be notified promptly of any such determination.
(c) If either the Attorney General or the Counsel to the President believes that the circumstances justify invocation of executive privilege, the issue shall be presented to the President by the Counsel to the President and the Attorney General.
(d) If the President decides to invoke executive privilege, the Counsel to the President shall notify the former President, the Archivist, and the Attorney General in writing of the claim of privilege and the specific Presidential records to which it relates. After receiving such notice, the Archivist shall not disclose the privileged records unless directed to do so by an incumbent President or by a final court order.
Sec. 4. Claim of Executive Privilege by Former President.
(a) Upon receipt of a claim of executive privilege by a living former President, the Archivist shall consult with the Attorney General (through the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel), the Counsel to the President, and such other executive agencies as the Archivist deems appropriate concerning the Archivist's determination as to whether to honor the former President's claim of privilege or instead to disclose the Presidential records notwithstanding the claim of privilege. Any determination under section 3 of this order that executive privilege shall not be invoked by the incumbent President shall not prejudice the Archivist's determination with respect to the former President's claim of privilege.
(b) In making the determination referred to in subsection (a) of this section, the Archivist shall abide by any instructions given him by the incumbent President or his designee unless otherwise directed by a final court order. The Archivist shall notify the incumbent and former Presidents of his determination at least 30 days prior to disclosure of the Presidential records, unless a shorter time period is required in the circumstances set forth in section 1270.44 of the NARA regulations. Copies of the notice for the incumbent President shall be delivered to the President (through the Counsel to the President) and the Attorney General (through the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel). The copy of the notice for the former President shall be delivered to the former President or his designated representative.
Sec. 5. General Provisions.
(a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) authority granted by law to a department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budget, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
Sec. 6. Revocation. Executive Order 13233 of November 1, 2001, is revoked.
THE WHITE HOUSE,
January 21, 2009
Executive Order on Ethics Commitments
The Executive Order on Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Personnel lays out tough rules in a comprehensive guide on how executive branch employees are to conduct themselves.
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including section 301 of title 3, United States Code, and sections 3301 and 7301 of title 5, United States Code, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Ethics Pledge. Every appointee in every executive agency appointed on or after January 20, 2009, shall sign, and upon signing shall be contractually committed to, the following pledge upon becoming an appointee:
"As a condition, and in consideration, of my employment in the United States Government in a position invested with the public trust, I commit myself to the following obligations, which I understand are binding on me and are enforceable under law:
"1. Lobbyist Gift Ban. I will not accept gifts from registered lobbyists or lobbying organizations for the duration of my service as an appointee.
"2. Revolving Door Ban All Appointees Entering Government. I will not for a period of 2 years from the date of my appointment participate in any particular matter involving specific parties that is directly and substantially related to my former employer or former clients, including regulations and contracts.
"3. Revolving Door Ban Lobbyists Entering Government. If I was a registered lobbyist within the 2 years before the date of my appointment, in addition to abiding by the limitations of paragraph 2, I will not for a period of 2 years after the date of my appointment:
(a) participate in any particular matter on which I lobbied within the 2 years before the date of my appointment;
(b) participate in the specific issue area in which that particular matter falls; or
(c) seek or accept employment with any executive agency that I lobbied within the 2 years before the date of my appointment.
"4. Revolving Door Ban Appointees Leaving Government. If, upon my departure from the Government, I am covered by the post employment restrictions on communicating with employees of my former executive agency set forth in section 207(c) of title 18, United States Code, I agree that I will abide by those restrictions for a period of 2 years following the end of my appointment.
"5. Revolving Door Ban Appointees Leaving Government to Lobby. In addition to abiding by the limitations of paragraph 4, I also agree, upon leaving Government service, not to lobby any covered executive branch official or non career Senior Executive Service appointee for the remainder of the Administration.
"6. Employment Qualification Commitment. I agree that any hiring or other employment decisions I make will be based on the candidate's qualifications, competence, and experience.
"7. Assent to Enforcement. I acknowledge that the Executive Order entitled 'Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Personnel,' issued by the President on January 21, 2009, which I have read before signing this document, defines certain of the terms applicable to the foregoing obligations and sets forth the methods for enforcing them. I expressly accept the provisions of that Executive Order as a part of this agreement and as binding on me. I understand that the terms of this pledge are in addition to any statutory or other legal restrictions applicable to me by virtue of Federal Government service."
Sec. 2. Definitions. As used herein and in the pledge set forth in section 1 of this order:
(a) "Executive agency" shall include each "executive agency" as defined by section 105 of title 5, United States Code, and shall include the Executive Office of the President; provided, however, that for purposes of this order "executive agency" shall include the United States Postal Service and Postal Regulatory Commission, but shall exclude the Government Accountability Office.
(b) "Appointee" shall include every full time, non career Presidential or Vice-Presidential appointee, non career appointee in the Senior Executive Service (or other SES type system), and appointee to a position that has been excepted from the competitive service by reason of being of a confidential or policymaking character (Schedule C and other positions excepted under comparable criteria) in an executive agency. It does not include any person appointed as a member of the Senior Foreign Service or solely as a uniformed service commissioned officer.
(1) shall have the definition set forth in section 2635.203(b) of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations;
(2) shall include gifts that are solicited or accepted indirectly as defined at section 2635.203(f) of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations; and
(3) shall exclude those items excluded by sections 2635.204(b), (c), (e)(1) & (3) and (j) (l) of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations.
(d) "Covered executive branch official" and "lobbyist" shall have the definitions set forth in section 1602 of title 2, United States Code.
(e) "Registered lobbyist or lobbying organization" shall mean a lobbyist or an organization filing a registration pursuant to section 1603(a) of title 2, United States Code, and in the case of an organization filing such a registration, "registered lobbyist" shall include each of the lobbyists identified therein.
(f) "Lobby" and "lobbied" shall mean to act or have acted as a registered lobbyist.
(g) "Particular matter" shall have the same meaning as set forth in section 207 of title 18, United States Code, and section 2635.402(b)(3) of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations.
(h) "Particular matter involving specific parties" shall have the same meaning as set forth in section 2641.201(h) of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, except that it shall also include any meeting or other communication relating to the performance of one's official duties with a former employer or former client, unless the communication applies to a particular matter of general applicability and participation in the meeting or other event is open to all interested parties.
(i) "Former employer" is any person for whom the appointee has within the 2 years prior to the date of his or her appointment served as an employee, officer, director, trustee, or general partner, except that "former employer" does not include any executive agency or other entity of the Federal Government, State or local government, the District of Columbia, Native American tribe, or any United States territory or possession.
(j) "Former client" is any person for whom the appointee served personally as agent, attorney, or consultant within the 2 years prior to the date of his or her appointment, but excluding instances where the service provided was limited to a speech or similar appearance. It does not include clients of the appointee's former employer to whom the appointee did not personally provide services.
(k) "Directly and substantially related to my former employer or former clients" shall mean matters in which the appointee's former employer or a former client is a party or represents a party.
(l) "Participate" means to participate personally and substantially.
(m) "Post-employment restrictions" shall include the provisions and exceptions in section 207(c) of title 18, United States Code, and the implementing regulations.
(n) "Government official" means any employee of the executive branch.
(o) "Administration" means all terms of office of the incumbent President serving at the time of the appointment of an appointee covered by this order.
(p) "Pledge" means the ethics pledge set forth in section 1 of this order.
(q) All references to provisions of law and regulations shall refer to such provisions as in effect on January 20, 2009.
Sec. 3. Waiver.
(a) The Director of the Office of Management and Budget, or his or her designee, in consultation with the Counsel to the President or his or her designee, may grant to any current or former appointee a written waiver of any restrictions contained in the pledge signed by such appointee if, and to the extent that, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, or his or her designee, certifies in writing (i) that the literal application of the restriction is inconsistent with the purposes of the restriction, or (ii) that it is in the public interest to grant the waiver. A waiver shall take effect when the certification is signed by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget or his or her designee.
(b) The public interest shall include, but not be limited to, exigent circumstances relating to national security or to the economy. De minimis contact with an executive agency shall be cause for a waiver of the restrictions contained in paragraph 3 of the pledge.
Sec. 4. Administration.
(a) The head of every executive agency shall, in consultation with the Director of the Office of Government Ethics, establish such rules or procedures (conforming as nearly as practicable to the agency's general ethics rules and procedures, including those relating to designated agency ethics officers) as are necessary or appropriate to ensure that every appointee in the agency signs the pledge upon assuming the appointed office or otherwise becoming an appointee; to ensure that compliance with paragraph 3 of the pledge is addressed in a written ethics agreement with each appointee to whom it applies, which agreement shall also be approved by the Counsel to the President or his or her designee prior to the appointee commencing work; to ensure that spousal employment issues and other conflicts not expressly addressed by the pledge are addressed in ethics agreements with appointees or, where no such agreements are required, through ethics counseling; and generally to ensure compliance with this order within the agency.
(b) With respect to the Executive Office of the President, the duties set forth in section 4(a) shall be the responsibility of the Counsel to the President or his or her designee.
(c) The Director of the Office of Government Ethics shall:
(1) ensure that the pledge and a copy of this order are made available for use by agencies in fulfilling their duties under section 4(a) above;
(2) in consultation with the Attorney General or the Counsel to the President or their designees, when appropriate, assist designated agency ethics officers in providing advice to current or former appointees regarding the application of the pledge; and
(3) in consultation with the Attorney General and the Counsel to the President or their designees, adopt such rules or procedures as are necessary or appropriate:
(i) to carry out the foregoing responsibilities;
(ii) to apply the lobbyist gift ban set forth in paragraph 1 of the pledge to all executive branch employees;
(iii) to authorize limited exceptions to the lobbyist gift ban for circumstances that do not implicate the purposes of the ban;
(iv) to make clear that no person shall have violated the lobbyist gift ban if the person properly disposes of a gift as provided by section 2635.205 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations;
(v) to ensure that existing rules and procedures for Government employees engaged in negotiations for future employment with private businesses that are affected by their official actions do not affect the integrity of the Government's programs and operations;
(vi) to ensure, in consultation with the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, that the requirement set forth in paragraph 6 of the pledge is honored by every employee of the executive branch;
(4) in consultation with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, report to the President on whether full compliance is being achieved with existing laws and regulations governing executive branch procurement lobbying disclosure and on steps the executive branch can take to expand to the fullest extent practicable disclosure of such executive branch procurement lobbying and of lobbying for presidential pardons, and to include in the report both immediate action the executive branch can take and, if necessary, recommendations for legislation; and
(5) provide an annual public report on the administration of the pledge and this order.
(d) The Director of the Office of Government Ethics shall, in consultation with the Attorney General, the Counsel to the President, and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, or their designees, report to the President on steps the executive branch can take to expand to the fullest extent practicable the revolving door ban set forth in paragraph 5 of the pledge to all executive branch employees who are involved in the procurement process such that they may not for 2 years after leaving Government service lobby any Government official regarding a Government contract that was under their official responsibility in the last 2 years of their Government
service; and to include in the report both immediate action the executive branch can take and, if necessary, recommendations for legislation.
(e) All pledges signed by appointees, and all waiver certifications with respect thereto, shall be filed with the head of the appointee's agency for permanent retention in the appointee's official personnel folder or equivalent folder.
Sec. 5. Enforcement.
(a) The contractual, fiduciary, and ethical commitments in the pledge provided for herein are solely enforceable by the United States pursuant to this section by any legally available means, including debarment proceedings within any affected executive agency or judicial civil proceedings for declaratory, injunctive, or monetary relief.
(b) Any former appointee who is determined, after notice and hearing, by the duly designated authority within any agency, to have violated his or her pledge may be barred from lobbying any officer or employee of that agency for up to 5 years in addition to the time period covered by the pledge. The head of every executive agency shall, in consultation with the Director of the Office of Government Ethics, establish procedures to implement this subsection, which procedures shall include (but not be limited to) providing for factfinding and investigation of possible violations of this order and for referrals to the Attorney General for his or her consideration pursuant to subsection (c).
(c) The Attorney General or his or her designee is authorized:
(1) upon receiving information regarding the possible breach of any commitment in a signed pledge, to request any appropriate Federal investigative authority to conduct such investigations as may be appropriate; and
(2) upon determining that there is a reasonable basis to believe that a breach of a commitment has occurred or will occur or continue, if not enjoined, to commence a civil action against the former employee in any United States District Court with jurisdiction to consider the matter.
(d) In any such civil action, the Attorney General or his or her designee is authorized to request any and all relief authorized by law, including but not limited to:
(1) such temporary restraining orders and preliminary and permanent injunctions as may be appropriate to restrain future, recurring, or continuing conduct by the former employee in breach of the commitments in the pledge he or she signed; and
(2) establishment of a constructive trust for the benefit of the United States, requiring an accounting and payment to the United States Treasury of all money and other things of value received by, or payable to, the former employee arising out of any breach or attempted breach of the pledge signed by the former employee.
Sec. 6. General Provisions.
(a) No prior Executive Orders are repealed by this order. To the extent that this order is inconsistent with any provision of any prior Executive Order, this order shall control.
(b) If any provision of this order or the application of such provision is held to be invalid, the remainder of this order and other dissimilar applications of such provision shall not be affected.
(c) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(1) authority granted by law to a department, agency, or the head thereof; or
(2) functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budget, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(d) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(e) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
(f) The definitions set forth in this order are solely applicable to the terms of this order, and are not otherwise intended to impair or affect existing law.
THE WHITE HOUSE,
January 21, 2009