Government Secrecy

Government derives its legitimate power from the approval of the governed. If a government acts in secret, the electorate cannot give its informed consent. Any action undertaken without the people's explicit approval is undemocratic and compromises the government's legitimacy.

As we are continually discovering, many secret government actions violate the separation and limitation of powers as defined in the Constitution and refined by legislation. In the name of national security, our government frequently conceals its actions, operating on the presumption that it is acting on the people's behalf. But by acting against the citizenry's expressed will, the government is in effect denying the people representation. Worse, it carries out these activities with public funds, violating the principal that there should be no taxation without representation.
The Green Party wants to restore the government's full legitimacy:
Increase the public's access to information. Effectively implement and expand the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and make it a crime for any government official to deny or delay action on any such request, or to blot out or censor any portion of any document which is included in a FOIA request.
Establish a citizen review board to oversee the process by which the government classifies information, including the Pentagon's "black budget." Prohibit the use of phrases such as "national security" as a sufficient reason to make any governmental action, budget or plan secret.
Ensure compliance of all open-meeting laws, e.g., the "Brown Act," at every level of government for holding public hearings, procedures for informing the citizenry about upcoming government actions, citizens' rights to discuss these actions, and opportunities to do so.
Pass legislation banning secret government actions unless the public has explicitly sanctioned the goals in question. The legislation must include strict enforcement provisions to punish those responsible for illegitimate covert activities, along with ways to protect "whistle blowers" who report such activities.
Provide criminal consequences for any government official who conceals or misrepresents information under their jurisdiction from the public. Include a provision that defines such actions as "crimes and misdemeanors" as declared in the u.s. constitution to make explicit that such actions are impeachable offenses.
Keep all governmental records, including all presidential papers and recordings, in the public domain after an official leaves office.
Pass legislation removing all secrecy classifications from any governmental document that is ten years old or older.