March 17, 2015
(ANTIMEDIA) A little known holiday comes and goes every year without the majority of Americans even being aware of its existence. It’s called Freedom of Information Day and is celebrated annually in the United States on or around March 16, the birthday of James Madison.
Madison, who was the fourth President of the United States, is widely recognized as the “Father of the Constitution” and as the preeminent voice for transparency in government.
The unofficial national holiday is also intended to commemorate the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) which was enacted into law on July 4, 1966.
FOIA was passed to provide accountability to a system that is prone to shrouding its actions in secrecy. The Act “provides that any person has a right, enforceable in court, to obtain access to federal agency records,” according to FOIA.gov. In laymen terms, it is a law that keeps US citizens in the know concerning the dealings of public officials.
How did Barack Obama, who touted in 2013 that his stay in the White House has been “the most transparent administration in history,” celebrate this glorious day intended to promote freedom and government clarity? He had the White House opt out of FOIA.
The ‘most transparent presidential administration ever’ has made it official: they no longer have to respond to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act.
“This is an office that operated under the FOIA for 30 years, and when it became politically inconvenient, they decided they weren’t subject to the Freedom of Information Act any more,” said Tom Fitton of the conservative Judicial Watch.
The executive branch began excluding itself from this rule of law under George W. Bush’s administration but Obama promised in 2008 that he would restore transparency to the White House.
Although the 44th president has done exactly the opposite as he promised, in lavishly hypocritical style mind you, the White House still claims its resolve for openness.
Brandi Hoffine, a spokesperson for the White House, said that despite the recent ‘change’ (no pun intended), the president’s administration remains steadfast “to work towards unprecedented openness in government,”
The president may have distanced himself from Freedom of Information, but he is most certainly still ensconced in an Act.
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