Note: This posting should not be construed as an endorsement of Barack Obama for President. – Daniel
Senator Barack Obama has made some intriguing proposals on government transparency that seemed worthy of sharing with our readers. The following proposals are taken from the 64 page pamphlet "Blueprint for Change", which is available at http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/ObamaBlueprintForChange.pdf:
(From page 4): Shine the Light on Federal Contracts, Tax Breaks and Earmarks
Create a Public “Contracts and Influence” Database: As president, Obama will create a “contracts and influence” database that will disclose how much federal contractors spend on lobbying, and what contracts they are getting and how well they complete them.
Expose Special Interest Tax Breaks to Public Scrutiny: Barack Obama will ensure that any tax breaks for corporate recipients – or tax earmarks – are also publicly available on the Internet in an easily searchable format.
End Abuse of No-Bid Contracts: Barack Obama will end abuse of no-bid contracts by requiring that nearly all contract orders over $25,000 be competitively awarded.
Sunlight Before Signing: Too often bills are rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them. As president, Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days.
Shine Light on Earmarks and Pork Barrel Spending: Obama’s Transparency and Integrity in Earmarks Act will shed light on all earmarks by disclosing the name of the legislator who asked for each earmark, along with a written justification, 72 hours before they can be approved by the full Senate.
Bring Americans Back into their Government
Hold 21st Century Fireside Chats: Obama will bring democracy and policy directly to the people by requiring his Cabinet officials to have periodic national broadband townhall meetings to discuss issues before their agencies.
Make White House Communications Public: Obama will amend executive orders to ensure that communications about regulatory policymaking between persons outside government and all White House staff are disclosed to the public.
Conduct Regulatory Agency Business in Public: Obama will require his appointees who lead the executive branch departments and rulemaking agencies to conduct the significant business of the agency in public, so that any citizen can watch these debates in person or on the Internet.
Release Presidential Records: Obama will nullify the Bush attempts to make the timely release of presidential records more difficult.
These all seem like worthy goals we hope that any eventual President will embrace.
Please share what you know about other candidate’s stands on transparency issues. There is some information from an August 2007 Reason Magazine article suggesting that Obama and Ron Paul were two of the strongest candidate advocates for greater transparency, but perhaps more have made proposals by now.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.