For Immediate Release
POGO's Request for Transparency to Revolving Door Database Denied
WASHINGTON - Earlier this year, POGO urged the Obama administration to make a
legislatively-mandated DoD revolving door database public. We also
submitted a public comment urging government officials to do the same.
Yesterday, DoD finalized that rule, but denied POGO’s request for public access.
In their explanation, DoD seemed to pass the buck over to over to Congress:
One source submitted comments on the interim rule. That source
supported the rule and its objectives, but recommended that the central
database/repository for retention of written ethics opinions, required
by section 847(b), be made publicly available. DoD has not adopted this
recommendation, as section 847 does not authorize access to the
database by the general public.
The only problem with this reasoning is that Congress did
not expressly deny public access to data — the law merely states that
DoD create an ethics opinion database.
POGO wonders what the harm is in seeing a list of former government
officials who are now working for defense contractors. We have campaign
finance and lobbying disclosure – why not expose those circulating
between the public and private sectors who might be a driving force
behind government decisions and policies?
"Public access to the revolving door database represents the kind of
open government that the public wants and deserves. If this
Administration is serious about open government, it needs to provide
public access to the database about the well-oiled DoD revolving door,"
said POGO's General Counsel, Scott Amey.
This is a coincidence given this week's USA Today article on retired
military generals with ties to defense contractors -- top military
brass should be included in a public revolving door database too.
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is an independent nonprofit that investigates and exposes corruption and other misconduct in order to achieve a more effective, accountable, open and honest federal government.