Now, if you read that title, you pretty much know what’s coming next. The. Exact. Opposite.
For the second consecutive year, the Obama administration more often than ever censored government files or outright denied access to them under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, according to a new analysis of federal data by The Associated Press.
The government took longer to turn over files when it provided any, said more regularly that it couldn’t find documents, and refused a record number of times to turn over files quickly that might be especially newsworthy.
It also acknowledged in nearly 1 in 3 cases that its initial decisions to withhold or censor records were improper under the law — but only when it was challenged.
Translation: We are your government. We will take our own sweet ass time showing you what we’re doing, because we hope that you’ll just get sick and tired of waiting, and when we do finally respond to your FOIA request, it will either be redacted beyond comprehension or outright denied.
Because fuck you.
Oh, I’m sorry. Or was it: We just don’t have enough resources to keep up with all the FOIA requests, so we’re just denying them outright, because we don’t have the manpower to pay the overtime, but if you allow us to raise taxes and hire more bureaucrats, we will give you information that you’re entitled to from the government which you put in power and which is funded by your tax dollars.
But no. Really. This administration has “a lot to be proud of,” says White House spokeshole Josh Earnest, who contrary to his last name is anything but.
As a matter of fact, the White House has formally exempted its Office of Administration from FOIA regulations, effectively barring citizens from requesting information about their government. To be fair, the Office of Administration pretty much stopped responding to FOIA requests under Bush, but the Obama Administration has made those refusals official and legal.
So much for transparency.
The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sued the office after being denied access to documents it had requested to obtain details about a slew of emails that had gone missing from White House servers.
After a lengthy appeal, the court upheld the ruling that the Office of Administration, which advises and assists the president, is not an “agency” as defined by the FOIA.
Since it only “performs only operational and administrative tasks in support of the president and his staff,” the court ruled in 2009, “under our precedent, [the Office of Administration] lacks substantial independent authority.”
Most. Transparent. Administration. Ever.