About Open Government
For too long, the American people have experienced a culture of secrecy in Washington, where information is locked up, taxpayer dollars disappear without a trace, and lobbyists wield undue influence. For Americans, business as usual in Washington has reinforced the belief that the government benefits the special interests and the well connected at the expense of the American people.
But President Obama committed to change the way Washington works. And he has worked hard to do just that.
On his first day in Office, President Obama signed the Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government, ushering in a new era of open and accountable government meant to bridge the gap between the American people and their government:
- The Administration is reducing the influence of special interests with ethics rules that prevent lobbyists from coming to work in government or sitting on its advisory boards.
- The Administration is tracking how government uses the money with which the people have entrusted it with easy-to-understand websites like recovery.gov, USASpending.gov, IT.usaspending.gov, and foreignassistance.gov.
- The Administration is empowering the public – through greater openness and new technologies – to influence the decisions that affect their lives.
On December 8, 2009, the White House issued an unprecedented Open Government Directive requiring federal agencies to take immediate, specific steps to achieve key milestones in transparency, participation, and collaboration. Agencies have set forth those steps in biennial Open Government Plans available on each agency’s Open Government website.
In 2011, the Administration expanded its support of open government efforts when President Obama launched the Open Government Partnership at the UN General Assembly meeting with seven other heads of state. U.S. efforts with the Open Government Partnership are set forth in biennial Open Government National Action Plans that detail specific and measurable open government commitments.