Blog — Department of Justice

May 20, 2014

CREW Submits Open Government Plan Recommendations

By Daniel Schuman

Open Data by_Phil_Roeder_Flickr_CC_BY_2_Remix_by_Jason_Reed_dailydotEvery two years, executive branch agencies create open government plans intended to set out specific actions they will take to make government more open. This process started on January 21, 2009, the first full day President Obama was in office, with a White House executive order.

This year, for the third time, agencies will release their open government plans in June. As part of the process, CREW submitted recommendations to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Department of Justice as to what they should include in their plans. We also participated in round-table discussions with many agencies.

For the OMB, we made the following recommendations:

  • Increasing disclosure concerning the activities of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs;
  • Adopting best practices for proactive disclosure;
  • Centralizing publishing of congressional budget justifications in an open format;
  • Creating a machine readable organization chart for the federal government; and
  • Reviewing how the federal government gathers data from forms.

For the Department of Justice, we made several major recommendations:

  • Improving the reporting and disclosure mechanisms for foreign lobbyists under the Foreign Agents Registration Act; 
  • Broadening and deepening public access to opinions (and the summaries thereof) originating in the Office of Legal Counsel;
  • Performing an analysis of the extent to which section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act governs the online posting of documents; and
  • Making available certain legislative documents.

The recommendations did not cover the Freedom of Information Act, which is being handled separately under the National Action Plan, an international agreement around open government.


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