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By Rob Morse
Let’s put this in perspective. Obama labeled his administration as “most transparent administration in history”. The media trumpets that claim. In fact, Obama hides everything, to the point that news media sources had to routinely sue the federal government of access to routine records, and the government charged the press for the privileged of reporting. My point? How would the press have reported these facts is Trump acted that way? Transparent bias, I’d say.
I hope the Trump administration is honest with the american people.
The Obama administration in its final year in office spent a record $36.2 million on legal costs defending its refusal to turn over federal records under the Freedom of Information Act. This information comes from an Associated Press analysis of new U.S. data that also showed poor performance in other categories measuring transparency in government.
For a second consecutive year, the Obama administration set a record for the number of times federal employees told citizens, journalists and others that despite searching they couldn’t find a single page of files that were requested. And it set records for outright denial of access to files, refusing to quickly consider requests described as especially newsworthy, and forcing people to pay for records who had asked the government to waive search and copy fees.
The government acknowledged when challenged that it had been wrong to initially refuse to turn over all or parts of records in more than one-third of such cases, the highest rate in at least six years.
In courtrooms, the number of lawsuits filed by news organizations under the Freedom of Information Act surged during the past four years, led by the New York Times, Center for Public Integrity and The Associated Press, according to a litigation study by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. The AP on Monday settled its 2015 lawsuit against the State Department for files about Hillary Clinton’s time as secretary of state, at AP’s request, and received $150,546 from the department to cover part of its legal fees.