Last week, the White House removed a federal regulation that binds its Office of Administration to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), exempting that office from answering requests for government records. The Office of Administration deals with human resources, information technology and record-keeping support.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest insists that the change will not affect their compliance with FOIA, but Anne Weisman, interim executive director of the liberal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), is doubtful of the president’s commitment to government transparency, a cause he claims to champion.
A few years ago, CREW sued the Bush administration over access to some 22 million emails and lost. A federal appeals court ruled that the Office of Administration was not required to release the correspondences, citing their status as an administrative and operational arm of the White House.
The timing of the removal is ironic; government transparency advocates are in the middle of Sunshine Week, a seven-day effort to promote open government.
Check out the full interview here:[audio https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/191633883/HMWC%20Interviews/Anne%20Weisman%20Interview%2C%20White%20House%20Transparency%2C%203.19.15.mp3]