On July 17, 2014, we sent a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Office of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) – in article Putting WH Press Secretary Earnest claim of “most transparent” to the test. We have sent FOIA request before and the normal response time is up to 48 hours for acknowledgement of email. Depending on the nature of the request some time may transpire before a response is provided. Last time it took 34 days to get an answer. Apparently that may have been a speedy response.
As of this writing, we have sent 3 requests to the OMB – July 17th, July 23rd, and again on July 30th. In addition, we have called the OMB on July 30th at 2:21pm. Thus far we have received no response or acknowledgement. The exact response from Andrew Echart, who answered the phone at the OMB media relations line, was to try to send the email again and that no response could be given verbally.
This is an abysmal response.
On July 13, 2014, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest touted the transparency of the Obama Administration. That didn’t exist in April of 2013. It’s even worse in 2014, as we are proving.
With such untimely response, and an apparent inability (or possibly willingness) to respond, the multiple scandals plaguing the Obama Administration seem far more understandable. If the OMB cannot acknowledge receipt of an email in 13 days is it any wonder that Lois Lerner emails have mysteriously been lost? Is it truly surprising that the VA kept secret lists and fudged numbers – and the White House never noticed the discrepancies even as they were told about them? Can anyone be shocked that our President is apparently the least informed person in his Administration – as he himself constantly states that he learns of events via the news media along with the public?
Given we are not the New York Times. Given we are not (to our knowledge) probing the Government for national secrets. Still a FOIA request is vital to the transparency and trust between the Government and the public. A trust that we have less of today than on July 17th.
Whether this is a matter of incompetence or human error or even a general dislike of the topics we present, is unknown and open to the interpretation of the reader. But it is a clear statement that the Government is failing the public, and the plausibility of transparency is tenuous at best.
There is a saying that we think applies,
“The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” – John Wooden
We don’t have the readership of the Wall Street Journal or viewership of MSNBC (maybe), but if our Government can’t answer our simple request and answer then what are they doing when it comes to the really hard questions from the news media that millions rely on? What is our Government doing when it comes to the Benghazi investigation, the IRS, the NSA, the VA?
As always we will provide any and all responses we receive, when (and if) they are provided. But the proof is in what is happening. Our Government is failing us, and we are documenting it as it is happening. Feel free to contact the White House with your outrage, because you should be outraged. Not for us, but what it means for you.