Fact Sheet: We Can’t Wait: White House Launches Ethics.gov to Promote Government Accountability and Transparency
President Obama has consistently made clear that he will strive to lead the most open, transparent, and accountable government in history. For over three years, the Administration has done much to make information about how government works more accessible to the public, and to solicit citizens’ participation in government decision-making. We have devised ambitious Open Government Plans designed to increase opportunities for public engagement. We have made a tremendous amount of information newly available on government websites. We have even taken steps to provide more disclosure of sensitive government information. So, we are striving to lead an open and transparent government that works for the American people.
President Obama promised he would “create a centralized Internet database of lobbying reports, ethics records, and campaign finance filings in a searchable, sortable, and downloadable format.” Today, with the launch of www.Ethics.gov, he’s delivering on that promise. In a single, user-friendly format, anyone can access and search the records of seven different databases:
- White House Visitor Records
- Office of Government Ethics Travel Reports
- Lobbying Disclosure Act Data
- Department of Justice Foreign Agents Registration Act Data
- Federal Election Commission Individual Contribution Reports
- Federal Election Commission Candidate Reports
- Federal Election Commission Committee Reports
Never before has this measure of government-verified data been available and so easily searchable in a centralized location. On www.Ethics.gov, the public will be able to find millions of White House Visitor records. You will be able to see agency reports of payments from non-Federal sources for travel to meetings and conferences.
You’ll find records for entities registered with the Federal Election Commission. This includes federal political action committees and party committees, campaign committees for presidential, House and Senate candidates, as well as groups or organizations who are spending money in connection with elections for federal office.
You’ll also find records for each candidate who has either registered with the Federal Election Commission or appeared on a ballot list prepared by a state elections office. This includes contributor information for each contribution of $200 or more from an individual to a federal committee.
Finally, you’ll be able to find lobbying registrations and reports filed under the Lobbying Disclosure Act.
Ethics.gov takes an important step to increase transparency and accountability. This is good for government and good for the American people.
The President’s Record
From the day he took office, the President committed his Administration to work towards unprecedented openness in government. On his first full day in office, President Obama signed the Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government—a document that has helped to guide the federal government as it has worked toward a new era of open government and public engagement.
Since then, the President has redoubled his Administration’s efforts to live up to that early promise – creating Data.gov to increase public access to government information, aggressively tracking the federal government’s use of federal dollars with websites like Recovery.gov and USASpending.gov, introducing the “We the People” initiative to give all Americans an opportunity to petition the government on a range of issues affecting our nation, calling for a large-scale transformation in how agencies maintain their records, and launching an effort to cut waste and streamline government operations.
Continuing his commitment to an open and transparent government, the President challenged nations to make all governments more open and accountable to their people. To meet that challenge, in September 2011, the United States, with other founding nations, launched the Open Government Partnership (OGP) – a global effort to promote more transparent, effective and accountable governance in countries around the world. As part of OGP, the President unveiled the U.S. National Action Plan on Open Government, which outlines twenty-six commitments that the United States is implementing to create a more open and participatory government.