Vermont’s senior U.S. senator wants more transparency in government. Unfortunately, Vermont’s governor insists on less.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., introduced legislation earlier this week that would make it harder for government officials to conceal information from the public.
Leahy’s bill, the FOIA Improvement Act of 2014, helps citizens peer inside government by closing a loophole in one of nine exemptions commonly used to reject freedom of information requests. The legislation also requires agencies to adopt a “presumption of openness” when responding to FOIA requests.
“The Freedom of Information Act is one of our nation’s most important laws, established to give Americans greater access to their government and to hold government accountable,” Leahy said in a statement
An analysis released by Leahy’s office says agencies or officials that cite the deliberative-process privilege or the attorney work-product privilege when faced with FOIA requests will be forced to disclose information.
Whereas Vermont’s senator is leading the push for greater transparency, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, also a Democrat, continues to hide information about the state’s single-payer health care system.
Under Act 48, the state’s universal health care legislation, Shumlin is bound to disclose the costs of single-payer and the means by which the state will pay for it — information the governor continues to conceal from the public.