Open Government

Open Government

About Open Government

In the 21st Century, democracy demands an innovative approach to policymaking - an approach built on transparency, participation, and collaboration. These foundational qualities are the keys to creating a more effective government that taps the creativity and diversity of an entire nation to generate solutions to the challenges we face.

Implementing the President’s Memorandum on Open Government


The Department of Justice is committed to achieving the President’s goal of making this the most transparent Administration in history. In the Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government, issued on January 21, 2009, the President instructed the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to issue an Open Government Directive.  The Open Government Directive directs executive departments and agencies to take specific actions to implement the principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration set forth in the President’s Memorandum.

As a result, the Associate Attorney General convened a working group of senior Justice Department staff to oversee the development of the Justice Department’s Open Government Plans. We have worked with every component within the Department to fulfill the Open Government Directive and increase openness and transparency. We have also sought ideas from the public and from stakeholders, including civil society organizations, whose contributions have been valuable.

In the past four years, the Department has launched, a comprehensive website designed to educate the public about how the Freedom of Information Act works and to display agency data about FOIA performance in an interactive and easy-to-understand format. We also launched to provide the public with key information related to the Foreign Agents Registration Act in order to increase understanding and promote accountability. Additionally, we have collaborated with outside partners and engaged the public as we carry out our work in enforcing the law.  In our most recent Open Government Plan we committed to modernizing by drafting a common regulation, developing a consolidated portal, and improving both internal agencies’ processes and employees’ training.  We also committed to supporting free legal assistance to low-and middle-income citizens with non-criminal legal issues, through our Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable.  We have increased the volume and variety of data posted online, and have met initial milestones of the administration’s Digital Government Strategy by launching two new Application Programming Interfaces, or APIs.

Although, by necessity, the Department must balance a host of competing interests, some of which may prevent the disclosure of information, we continue to embrace the commitment to openness wherever possible.  This, as Attorney General Holder has stated, “underscores the sacred bond of trust that must always exist between the government and all those we are privileged to serve.”

For more specifics, please Read our Open Government Plans

You can send your ideas on how the Department can better implement the Open Government Directive to

Related Blog Posts

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Department of Justice recently took an important step in reinforcing the principles outlined in the 2009 FOIA Guidelines and the Open Government Directive through updated employee performance standards.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Launched last year, OIP’s Best Practices Workshop series continues with a new slate of topics.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Memorandum from Acting Associate Attorney General Stuart Delery to federal agency leadership emphasizes the need for FOIA training and the availability of OIP’s electronic training resources.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Newest version of the U.S. Open Government National Action Plan, announced at the Open Government Partnership’s 2015 Summit, contains multiple new initiatives that the Justice Department will undertake over the next two years.

Friday, May 1, 2015

OIP's Summary of Fiscal Year 2014 Annual FOIA Reports looks at government-wide data for many key statistics in FOIA administration.  

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