Home » Posts tagged 'ethics'

Tag Archives: ethics

Our mission

Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

Ethics Waivers Missing from White House Website

A White House web page that says it will report appointees who have been granted waivers to an Ethics Pledge has no posting as of March 10.

A January 28 executive order, “Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Appointees” requires full-time political appointees to sign an Ethics Pledge that is similar to President Obama’s Executive Order 13490.

The new EO differs in two important ways from the Obama EO. The Obama EO allowed the Director of the Office of Management and Budget in consultation with the Counsel to the President to grant waivers to the Pledge by certifying "in writing (i) that the literal application of the restriction is inconsistent with the purposes of the restriction, or (ii) that it is in the public interest to grant the waiver." The Trump EO simply says that the President may grant a waiver.

Second, the Trump EO drops the Obama EO requirement for an annual public report on the administration of the pledge and the EO.

The new EO bans White House appointees who were registered lobbyists from participating in any related matters (Section 1, item 7).

The Independent reports that the President has hired three lobbyists who apparently do not meet that criterion.

One appointee, who worked on retirement and tax issues, is now working in the White House as special assistant for tax and retirement policy. Two appointees who lobbied on energy industry matters are advising the President on domestic and international energy and environmental policies.

The White House website has a page for Ethics Pledge Waivers Released by the White House, which says that "Ethics pledge waivers will be published as they become available." None have been posted as of Mar 10, 2017.

New House Ethics Committee Report Search Tool

New House Ethics Committee Report Search Tool, by Daniel Schuman, Sunlight Foundation (Aug. 4, 2011).

The House Ethics Committee is responsible for investigating and making recommendations on the enforcement of House ethics rules. In an nod towards transparency, its reports and statements are published online — but they are virtually unusable. The Committee publishes documents in an unsearchable PDF format, spreads them out over of 24 pages, and gives them impenetrable titles like “Statement of the Chairman and Ranking Minority Member.” Search engines (like Google) cannot see the documents, and only the most patient will click on each link to see what’s inside.

We’ve taken all 120+ documents, made them searchable, and published them online in a database.

House Ethics Committee search tool.

Government Transparency and Ethics Reform in Louisiana

An issue that is near and dear to my heart, considering that I live in Louisiana, is that of recent government ethics reform initiatives from Governor Bobby Jindal. He was the focus of a recent New York Times article mentioning the “extensive package of ethics bills” passed recently.

One such bill includes House Bill 1 which “Enacts personal financial disclosures for the vast majority of elected and appointed officials in state and local government for the first time in Louisiana’s history”.

Not everyone is happy about these changes. My favorite quote in the New York Times article:

“The volume of grumbling suggested real change was afoot.

‘This is huge,’ said D. W. Hunt, a veteran lobbyist at the Capitol. ‘This is a sea change. This will seriously, dramatically change things. The meta-theme is the transparency.’ “

Can you see the sweat on his forehead?

Louisiana is considered to rank low nationally on state ethics, but according to a statement issued by The Center for Public Integrity, these bills may put Louisiana in the top tier of states with tough ethics rules. Hopefully this will be the case, but we shall have to wait and see…


Wikileaks.org is an uncensorable version of Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. It combines the protection and anonymity of cutting-edge cryptographic technologies with the transparency and simplicity of a wiki interface.”

Wikileaks is developing an uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. Our primary interests are oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we also expect to be of assistance to those in the west who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their own governments and corporations.

According to their FAQ page
Wikileaks expects to go live sometime in February or March 2007.

Read more on their Media reports page.