Strike one against White House transparency

U.S. President Obama appears to break a government transparency promise.

New U.S. President Barack Obama promised during his campaign to post all nonemergency legislation on before signing it as a way to allow the public to review and comment on it.

On Jan. 20, Obama's first day in office, a blog post on repeated that promise. On Thursday, Obama appeared to break that promise with the first piece of legislation he signed into law.

Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, designed to make it easier for women to sue employers that pay them less than their male counterparts. The text of the legislation was apparently posted about the same time that Obama signed it.

"We are informed that the bill has been posted on the White House web site and is now open for comment ... after the President signed it," Paul Blumenthal, research assistant for the Sunlight Foundation, wrote on the government watchdog group's blog. "I am not sure what constitutes 'emergency' legislation; providing emergency appropriations in response to a disaster or attack would apply. This was supposed to be a major element to the President's transparency efforts."

A White House spokeswoman said she couldn't comment specifically on the Lilly Ledbetter legislation, but she said there have been some technical and other issues preventing White House staff from getting content up on the Web site as fast as they'd like.

Several groups, including the Sunlight Foundation, have praised Obama's efforts to improve government transparency. Obama issued a memo Jan. 21 telling federal agencies that they should generally presume government documents are available to the public when they receive Freedom of Information Act requests. That memo reversed a policy from former President George Bush's administration, saying government documents should generally be presumed closed.

The Sunlight Foundation has praised Obama for setting up the Web site to track government spending on a huge economic stimulus package, and it has noted other Obama transparency efforts.

But that didn't stop Blumenthal from commenting on the apparent broken promise. "It is too bad they let this transparency promise slip on the very first piece of legislation that hit the President's desk," he wrote. "After a few transparency wins for the administration, it looks like they've hit their first fail."

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags obama

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?