A House panel this morning encouraged the Labor Department to abandon its announced changes to the way it releases unemployment data and other market-moving statistics. Media groups protested almost immediately when the Labor Department announced on April 10th that it would force media groups to rip out equipment from the labor Department’s press room and require reporters to draft stories on government computers as part of wholesale changes intended to prevent early leaks of jobless claims and other economically significant information.
The Associated Press (the only newsgathering organization that is a member of SGI) found the majority of countries violate their freedom-of-information laws, the AP reported in an audit released on November 17. The audit, in which the AP submitted requests for documents to test the speed and quality of responses, should provide a good baseline for evaluating the impact of the U.S.-led Open Government Partnership, which launched earlier this year.
Today The Associated Press story showing that political officials reviewed FOIA requests proves that the Office of Government Information Services can effectively resolve disputes and avoid potential litigation (not that we necessarily doubted OGIS). (For full disclosure, the AP is a member of the Sunshine in Government Initiative.) AP’s Ted Bridis reports that political appointees at the Department of Homeland Security ordered career staff to give them a heads up when a FOIA request came in for sensitive information. AP describes it this way: [DHS] detoured hundreds of requests for federal records to senior political advisers for highly unusual scrutiny, [More]