Everyday, we meet with organizations that present ideas for the Transition and the incoming Obama-Biden Administration. In past transitions, meetings like this have been held behind closed doors.
Not anymore. Today, every Obama-Biden Transition staff member received a memo outlining the "Seat at the Table" Transparency Policy. I've included a copy of it below.
The policy is pretty simple: the people and groups we're meeting with, the subjects of the meetings, and any documents shared in the meetings will now be made available on Change.gov. Most importantly, the American public can weigh in with comments or their own materials.
This is our latest step toward a more transparent and accessible Transition. We look forward to benefitting from the many more voices that will now be a part of the decision-making process.
John D. Podesta
The Obama-Biden Transition Project
From: John Podesta
To: All Obama-Biden Transition Project Staff
Date: December 4, 2008
Re: "Seat at the Table" Transparency Policy -- EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY
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 www.change.gov, 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 www.change.gov. 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 www.change.gov." 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.
1) This policy does not apply to non-public or classified information acquired from the Agency Review Process and internal memorandum.
2) An "official meeting" is defined as a meeting with outside organizations or representatives of those organizations to which three or more outside participants attend.