More than half of President Barack Obama’s cabinet agencies continue to defy open-government rules by not disclosing the cost of travel by top officials.
Nine of 15 cabinet offices have yet to release details of their out-of-town travel records six months after Bloomberg News filed requests for those documents under the Freedom of Information Act. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Energy Secretary Steven Chu andKathleen Sebelius of the Department of Health and Human Services are among those who haven’t complied.
The law requires agencies to respond to requests within 20 working days. Watchdogs say the delays show that the president hasn’t fulfilled his promise of greater transparency, and one group found that more than half of 99 federal offices ignored a directive to overhaul the way they respond to filings.
“I’m concerned about the overall transparency arc for Obama’s second term,” said John Wonderlich, policy director at Washington-based open-government group the Sunlight Foundation. “Has he given up on that mantle of being the transparency reformer?”
Bloomberg reporters in June filed requests under theFreedom of Information Act for records on taxpayer-supported travel in fiscal year 2011 for 57 Cabinet departments and major government agencies.