For democratic government to function properly, the people need to know what their government is doing in their name. That demands both transparency and honesty from government officials and agencies. In recent years, however, some in government have worked to shield their work from public inspection, and not just where national security is concerned.
Similarly, scientific evidence and analysis has been devalued in recent years, with some government actors, particularly during the Bush Administration, suppressing politically inconvenient scientific findings.
For democratic government to thrive, its workings must be visible to the public. That fundamental principle has served the nation well for more than two centuries in times of war and peace, bounty and bust. But it is under persistent attack.
In recent years, the scientific process has been polluted with politics. Corporations have sometimes suppressed scientific data that reflected badly on their products and processes, and government-sponsored scientific panels and advisory committees have become increasing slanted toward industry at the expense of the environment, health and safety. Read about CPR's work in this area.
President Obama's White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs is politicizing the regulatory process, and the data on who it meets with when reviewing regulations tell the tale. Read CPR's 2011 report on the topic, and check out the database of OIRA's meetings with lobbyists that we built for the study.
Making Good Government Principles the Rule, Not the Exception
Government secrecy and the integrity of science are key concerns for the Member Scholars of the Center for Progressive Reform.
So much of policymaking in Washington relies on scientific research, particularly at the regulatory level, where the vigorous implementation and enforcement of statutory environmental, health and safety standards depends on sound judgments based on clean science. But too often, the scientific process has been polluted with politics.
Moreover, transparency in government has too often been the exception not the rule.
Read about CPR Member Scholars work on these important "good government" issues:
Clean Science. Scientists harassed and science devalued: See what CPR Member Scholars have been doing to restore respect for science.