May 4, 2011–Contractors are a powerful force in many corners of the environment and energy beat, and their trade associations are often players in the regulatory and legislative dealmaking that can shape US policy.
May 4, 2011–Last year, legislation to put new teeth in federal whistleblower protections failed when a single senator put a secret hold on it late in the session. The good news is Sen. Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI) has introduced the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2011 to restart the legislative effort.
April 20, 2011–A former employee of a restaurant in Acadia National Park won a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit over records the National Park Service had refused to release, about a 2008 incident when he was among those detained by Park Service police.
April 6, 2011–Watchdogs were alarmed last week that the GOP "budget-cutting" campaign had targeted OpenGov data programs in order to fund tax cuts for billionaires. But sharp-eyed Daniel Schuman has been covering the developments on the Sunlight Foundation's blog since the first fiscal year 2011 budget bill passed.
April 6, 2011–The draft policy, released recently by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), barely addresses media access. It leaves this to the purview of the Commerce Department Public Communications Policy — which has not changed since the last year of the Bush administration.
April 6, 2011–The Freedom-of-Information establishment annually tries to remind the citizens and journalists of our democracy that this form of government must have a free press and lots of information to be healthy. This year was no exception. They celebrated "Sunshine Week," advancing freedom-of-information on many fronts.
April 6, 2011–AP reported President Barack Obama received an award "for making the government more open and transparent — presented to him behind closed doors with no news coverage or public access allowed." The event offered evidence that Obama's minders may be the worst enemies of his presidency — and that the PR pros are badly fumbling the PR ball.
March 9, 2011–Sunshine Week is spearheaded by the American Society of News Editors with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Gridiron Club — with collaboration by a large number of coalition member groups.
March 9, 2011–In the case of Milner v. Department of the Navy, the court rejected an expansive interpretation of the FOIA exemption on personnel matters. And in another FOIA case decided March 1, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations do not have a right of personal privacy that can prevent the federal government from disclosing records about them.