Saturday, December 06, 2008

My Obama Email

I love still getting regular emails from what's now the transition team. It makes me think that maybe, just maybe, Obama's going to keep his promise of open government.

Today's made me especially happy. It outlined what they're calling the "Seat at the Table" transparency policy. Here's the memo included in the email:

As an extension of the unprecedented ethics guidelines already in place for the Obama-Biden Transition Project, we take another significant step towards transparency of our efforts for the American people. Every day, we meet with organizations who present ideas for the Transition and the Administration, both orally and in writing. We want to ensure that we give the American people a "seat at the table" and that we receive the benefit of their feedback.

Accordingly, any documents from official meetings with outside organizations will be posted on our website for people to review and comment on. In addition to presenting ideas as individuals at, the American people deserve a "seat at the table" as we receive input from organizations and make decisions. In the interest of protecting the personal privacy of individuals, this policy does not apply to personnel matters and hiring recommendations.

The following information will be posted on our website:
1. Documents: All policy documents1 and written policy recommendations from official meetings2 with outside organizations.
2. Meetings: The date and organizations represented at official meetings in the Transition headquarters or agency offices, with any documents presented as noted above.

This scope is a floor, not a ceiling, and all staff are strongly encouraged to include additional materials. Such materials could include documents (recommendations, press releases, etc.) presented in smaller meetings or materials or made public by the outside organization without a connection to an official meeting.

If you have any questions as to whether documents should be included, please email [REDACTED].

Prior to an official meeting with an outside organization or organizations, Obama-Biden Transition Project staff members will inform attendees that any documents provided will be posted on our "Seat at the Table" website found at Suggested language for email invitations is: "By presenting or submitting any document at a meeting with the Obama-Biden Transition Project, you agree to allow the document to be made public and posted on" At the completion of each meeting or upon receipt of such documents, Transition staff will provide the documents to [REDACTED] with the date of the meeting, a list of the organizations in attendance, and the topic of the meeting.

There's video here, and the section on the website is here.

You can leave comments at the site.

While that doesn't mean that anyone's actually going to read the comments, it's stuff like this that really impresses me. This administration actually appears to mean what it says about this policy, and plans on continuing talking to Americans like they're grownups.