Today, Public Citizen president Joan Claybrook lauded President Obama for swift actions to hold the government accountable. The statement follows:
President Obama campaigned with the promise of change, a commitment to government openness and a pledge to uphold high ethical standards. On his first full day in office, the new president showed a willingness to turn rhetoric into action.
After eight years of government in the shadows and preferential treatment of corporate lobbyists under his predecessor, President Obama’s directives and executive orders on presidential records, the Freedom of Information Act, transparency and open government, and ethics are not only important in restoring public access to critical information and holding government accountable, but they serve to reaffirm the hope our nation has in his presidency. By issuing strict rules on the future lobbying activities of his administration, President Obama slowed the revolving door that has allowed so many high-ranking government officials to enrich themselves at the public’s expense. And by emphasizing the openness of government records, the orders help to ensure that abuses of power will not go unnoticed and uncorrected.