Politics

Obama award for ‘deep commitment’ to transparency postponed

The White House postponed an event scheduled for Wednesday afternoon where President Obama was supposed to receive an award for a commitment to transparency due to unspecified “changes to the president’s schedule.”

The award was to be presented by organizers of the Freedom of Information Day conference in conjunction with “Sunshine Week” for the president’s “deep commitment to an open and transparent government—of, by, and for the people.”

The Associated Press reported this week that despite pledges of increased transparency, the Obama administration last year responded to fewer Freedom of Information Act requests than the year before.

In 2010 there were 544,360 requests filed at the 35 largest government agencies. The AP reported that the administration “refused to release any sought-after materials in more than 1-in-3 information requests.”

The Obama administration has developed a reputation for ruthlessly prosecuting whistleblowers for leaks to the press. The heavy-handed approach has prompted concern about a “chilling effect” that could discourage future government transparency.