What influence do corporate foundation donors have over the organizations they are propping up?
Last month, the Eyeopener investigated the “transparency award” that was bestowed on Obama this past March by a bevvy of government watchdog NGOs who are ostensibly advocating for more government openness. As we saw in that report, dozens of high profile government whistleblowers and organizations have launched a petition at takeawardback.org calling on these NGOs to rescind the award in light of the Obama Administration’s abysmal record of government secrecy and unprecedented levels of whistleblower prosecution.
In response to the petition, one of the NGOs named in our report posted a reply defending its decision to honour Obama on the transparency issue and questioning the motives of those opposing that decision. In the rebuttal, Danielle Brian of the Project on Government Oversight wrote:
“It is undeniable that the Obama administration has achieved more openness than any other recent president,” adding that “Public debate and disclosure is often healthy. But there is so much to be done to safeguard our rights and expand openness – our community just doesn’t have the luxury to waste time on distractions.”
Exactly how drawing attention to draconian government secrecy practices and opening a debate about whether the President deserves to be honoured for failing to live up to his campaign promises is a distraction from the task of “safeguarding rights” and “expanding openness” is not clear, but a new investigation into the funding sources of the very NGOs who are supposed to be holding the government’s feet to the fire reveals some alternative explanations for why these organizations are so reluctant to call out the Obama administration for its egregious expansion of government secrecy.
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