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Abstract

Government transparency has been a focus of President Barack Obama’s campaign and administration, but effort has been expended on programs that have emphasized policy and legislative transparency over ethical and data transparency. This emphasis is misplaced. During the 2008 Presidential Election, the Obama campaign tapped into a large reserve of predominantly younger people who demanded a connection with the candidates before them. A large part of that connection was focused on the transparency that came from this highly networked campaign. President Obama’s campaign in particular embodied that approach, both through its promises and its actions. Now that the Obama administration has taken office and governed for ten months, how has the Obama team done in their approach to transparency, and have those efforts led to better governance? A given transparency program should not be judged on how well it exposes the public to the details of a piece of legislation, but rather on how well it provides voters with information about the ethical actions of their representatives.