Obama Transition Team Pledges Transparency and a Seat at the Table

Dec 5, 2008 5:35pm

In this memo obtained by ABC News, the Obama Transition Team co-chair John Podesta writes to his colleagues that the Team has a new “Seat at the Table” Transparency Policy "effective immediately."

Podesta instructs his underlings that "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 http://change.gov/, the American people deserve a  ‘seat at the table’ as we receive input from organizations and make decisions."   

The OTT will post, per these instructions, all policy documents and written policy recommendations from "official meetings" with outside organizations  and the date and organizations represented at official meetings in the Transition  headquarters or agency offices,  along with any documents presented.  Staff are strongly encouraged to include any additional materials. 

After the information is posted, the general public can comment at the OTT website: http://change.gov/seatatthetable   

There are exceptions: the policy will not apply to personnel matters and hiring recommendations; and it does not apply to non-public or classified information acquired from the Agency Review Process and internal memorandum. And it defines "official meetings" as those with more than three or more individuals from an outside group.

Mr. Podesta recommends to staffers that email invitations to outside groups include the language: “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" its website.

– jpt

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