Theme #4 of ITSSD's Programs focuses, in part, on the Obama Administration's apparent and reported regulatory science (rule)-based non-transparency (here), (here), (here), (here), (here), (here), because of the political influence U.S. government FOIA practices have historically had abroad.
Theme #4:Protection of the 'public interest' (constitutional protection of individuals' inherent right to 'due process of law') in an era of expanding international regulatory cooperation depends on the establishment, maintenance and oversight of mutually transparent risk-based best available science ("BAS") and economic cost-benefit-analysis-driven government regulatory and technical standards regimes that assure meaningful public participation and input. These regimes must provide public notice and comment mechanisms of sufficient duration prior to agency adoption of final rulemakings, and must offer adequate data/information quality review mechanisms to ensure the validity and reliability of agency and third-party-generated science & technical data/information prior to government dissemination and use of it as the bases for agency decision-making, including economically significant rulemakings and administrative enforcement actions.
The Supreme Court of the United States clarified over a generation ago that,
"The basic purpose of FOIA is to ensure an informed citizenry, vital to the functioning of a democratic society, needed to check against corruption and to hold the governors accountable to the governed."
"has played a unique role in strengthening our democratic form of government. The statute was enacted abased upon the principle that an informed citizenry is essential to the democratic process and that the more the American people know about their government the better they will be governed. Openness in government is essential to accountability and the Act has become an integral part of that process."
Regrettably, the current administration has been shown not to have lived up to eitherthe promise of FOIA or the President's promise of unparalleled transparency (here), (here), (here), (here).
Similarly, while a number of nations have enacted Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA")-like laws and procedures in the name of greater government transparency, it has been reported that their record of implementation has been rather questionable. In addition, it has been shown in a growing number of countries that use of FOIA laws alone to secure government transparency is insufficient to address government-related corruption.
The following preliminary list of sources provides background information about FOIA, comparative analyses of FOIA statutes enacted and implemented around the world, and indices measuring government corruption where FOIA statutes have not been properly implemented:
Statement by the President of the United States Upon Signing the 'Freedom of Information Act' (July 4, 1966)