President Obama Improved Transparency, Executive Branch Culture

Though he took a lot of heat in many circles (especially the professional left, who seem to believe everyone should know everything), when President Obama took over the Executive Branch from the downright abusive Bush Administration, one of the first things he did when he took office was to open the doors to the White House to a greater degree than had been seen in years. Here are some examples of major changes in the way the White House worked.

Within his first week, President Obama signed an Executive Order ordering an audit of government contracts in order to combat waste, fraud and abuse.

The day after he took office, President Obama signed an executive order to make sure all Executive Branch employees upheld the highest ethical standards. (Compare that to the current regime, which has no ethical standards to speak of.)

Appointed the most diverse Cabinet in history, including more women than any other incoming president.

President Obama banned gifts from lobbyists to anyone in the Executive Branch. Compare that to the current Administration, who don’t think they have to even mention gifts they receive and who are led by a “man” who makes a profit from the presidency.

President Obama banned anyone in his Administration from working in an agency they had lobbied in previous years and placed strict limits on lobbyists’ access to the White House. Now, Trump “makes deals” with anyone who walks into the White House.

Provided the first voluntary disclosure of the White House Visitors Log in history. Now, Trump is trying to keep all visitors logs secret.

The Obama Administration extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.

Even before he took office, President Obama created the post of Chief Performance Officer, whose job it is to make operations more efficient to save the federal government money.

On his first full day, President Obama froze White House salaries for the duration of the Great Recession.

President Obama appointed the first Federal Chief Information Officer to oversee federal IT spending and efficiency.

President Obama committed to phasing out unnecessary and outdated weapons systems and signed the Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act, in yet another attempt to limit waste, fraud and abuse, this time in the defense procurement and contracting systems.

President Obama established the Open Government Directive, which completely changed the government’s approach to technology at every level of operation.

President Obama created the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. This commission was to implement recommendations made by Simpson-Bowles regarding both short-term and long-term fiscal sustainability throughout the federal government.

President Obama signed an Executive Order instructing federal agencies to review all federal regulations and remove any unnecessary and/or burdensome regulations from the books. Put simply, while Trump talks about it, Obama actually did it. And he didn’t do it using an arbitrary number. He made sure the regulations kept were necessary and those removed were superfluous.

President Obama dismantled the Minerals Management Service, thereby cutting ties between energy companies and the government.

President Obama held the first-ever first online town hall from the White House, and took questions from the public, thus marking a new era of openness and transparency from the executive branch.

In that same vein, President Obama became the first president to stream every White House event, live.

President Obama also established the first-ever central portal for Americans to find service opportunities, the Corporation for National and Community Service.

President Obama restored the 30-day time frame for former presidents to review records and eliminated the right for the vice president or family members of former presidents to do the reviews, giving the public greater access to historic White House documents, and curtails the use of executive privilege to shield them.

President Obama made major improvements to the Freedom of Information Act and issued new guidelines to make FOIA more open and transparent, especially when they process FOIA requests.

President Obama streamlined the Department of Education’s procurement policies and made them more transparent.

President Obama signed a law to completely reform NSA Data Collection program and keep phone records in the hands of the phone company.

President Obama improved access and availability of data to Inspectors General and the public throughout the federal government and elsewhere, thus improving investigative quality.

President Obama also sought to improve project management and accountability throughout the federal government.

While the current regime seems to be engage in a scandal per day, the Obama Administration enjoyed a virtually scandal-free Administration for eight solid years.

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