Monday, March 15, 2010

Openness Is Inoperative -- Part 2

Today is National Freedom of Information Day. This should be cause for celebration in an Administration "committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government."

Well, not when it comes to government sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The U.S. placed both agencies "into conservatorship in September 2008," taking control of each. Yet, as previously detailed, the Obama Administration won't include the expenses and operations of Fannie and Freddie in the Federal budget. Further, despite having "title to the books, records, and assets" of those enterprises (12 U.S.C. § 4617(b)(2)(A)(ii)), the government refuses to disclose documentation of those entities' funding of Federal candidates.1 Perhaps that's because Senator Obama was among the top contribution recipients.

Immediately upon assuming office, President Obama declared that:
Information maintained by the Federal Government is a national asset. My Administration will take appropriate action, consistent with law and policy, to disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use.
Apparently we missed the fine print: Except when he has something to hide.

(Previous post in series.)
1 The Freedom of Information Act covers records created or obtained by an agency, and under agency control at the time the FOIA request is made. Dep’t of Justice v. Tax Analysts, 492 U.S. 136, 144-45 (1989).

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