Government Information Watch is focused on open and accountable government. Our mission is to monitor access to information about government policy, process, and practice and to ensure and preserve open, accountable government through advocacy. In this capacity, we intend to serve as a resource for policymakers, the media, advocacy groups, and the public.
Government Information Watch draws on the expertise of an Advisory Committee and the Director.
Patrice McDermott retired in March 2017 as Executive Director of OpenTheGovernment.org. During her tenure, between July 2006 and March 2017, Patrice McDermott brought OTG to the forefront of progress on government transparency and accountability, including successful efforts to reform the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), ensure preservation of the Senate Torture Report, combat secrecy around surveillance programs in the wake of the Snowden revelations, and engage the openness community in such diverse policy areas as trade, immigration, and law enforcement accountability.
McDermott became the OTG coalition’s Director in 2006, after more than 4 years as the Deputy Director of the Office of Government Relations at the American Library Association Washington Office. She joined ALA in December 2001, after having served for 8 years as the senior information policy analyst for OMB Watch.
Dr. McDermott is the author of “Secrets and Lies — Exposed and Combatted: Warrantless Surveillance Under and Around the Law 2001-2017.” Secrecy and Society 2(1), and Who Needs to Know? The State of Public Access to Federal Government Information. On March 16, 2011, she received the James Madison Award from the American Library Association in recognition of her work to champion, protect, and promote public access to government information and the public’s right to know. She was inducted into the National Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame in 2001.
Patrice was awarded her doctorate from the University of Arizona in political science and received an M.Ln. in library and information management from Emory University and an M.A. from Brown University. She is a graduate of Florida State University.
Under Dr. McDermott, OpenTheGovernment.org was the linchpin of the transparency community’s work with the Obama Administration on open government from 2009 – 2016. OTG and its partner organizations served as informal advisors to the White House and to several agencies on issues of concern to our community and the public (such as the Open Government Partnership, the Open Government Directive and the high-value data sets on Data.gov, the Executive Order on Classified National Security Information, the initiatives of the White House related to sensitive but unclassified information, implementation of improvements to FOIA processes, issues of electronic records management, and more).