Obama Just Officially Decided White House Emails Aren’t Subject to the Freedom of Information Act

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/chrismar/3780790125/in/photolist-6L6xbD-9ranL3-6ha7oQ-cDzcLh-ngN63V-4fk8fV-cF6ZZy-9GeSHV-5L6eTK-5vNbG8-9pNQjS-8oXzNh-5SHJgg-cDzchw-cDzdv7-bfJctT-cF71dy-nYYeLR-cDz89Y-dtpe2z-6Awh6m-cF71VQ-cDzdRq-cDAdbQ-cDAcVG-cDAaVd-8BcQno-bY3AUW-6GCn3N-4kR3yn-cDzd8W-cDAezq-9z1tj5-78bXi6-5Tm92g-nfN3r5-cDzexY-828pqh-eB1zNa-8BcQpo-8LcFS8-aws9ax-cDz8nQ-cDAbbN-cDAcEN-4H1B1P-9a3hzW-6ffeD8-9RMhbf-mLajCz">Chris Martino</a>/Flickr

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Civil liberties advocates are adding another strike to the Obama administration’s record on transparency: on Monday, the White House announced that it is officially ending the Freedom of Information Act obligations of its Office of Administration. That office provides broad administrative support to the White House—including the archiving of emails—and had been subject to FOIA for much of its nearly four-decade history.

In 2007, the George W. Bush administration decided that its OA would reject any FOIA requests, freeing it from the burden to release emails regarding any number of Bush-era scandals. When President Obama took office in 2009, transparency advocates were hopeful that he’d strike down the Bush policy—especially after he claimed transparency would be a “touchstone” of his presidency. In a letter that year, advocates from dozens of organizations urged Obama to restore transparency to the OA.

He never did, and Monday’s move from the White House makes the long-standing policy official. Coincidentally, March 16th was Freedom of Information Day, and this week marks the annual Sunshine Week, which focuses on open government. 

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up to $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate