Frank LoMonte Authors Article on Restoring Public Legitimacy Through Transparency
Frank LoMonte, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Brechner Center for Freedom of Information director, is the author of “Rebuilding Trust Through Government Transparency and Accountability” published on March 4 in the American Bar Association Human Rights Magazine, Vol. 46, No. 3: The Next Four Years.
LoMonte’s article focuses on challenges for the Biden administration in restoring public legitimacy through transparency.
“The Trump White House overtly sought to undermine any independent fact-finding entity that could challenge the validity of dubious presidential claims,” LoMonte said. “The Biden administration has an opportunity, and a duty, to commit to a government where lying and deceit carry real consequences. That this is a disputed proposition shows how enormous the rebuilding task will be—and how urgent.”
He suggests four achievable reforms the Biden Administration can undertake to regain trust and legitimacy: liberate government experts to speak for themselves; commit to an “open data” mentality; support and enforce meaningful penalties for official misconduct; and reinvigorate the Federal Freedom of Information Act.
According to LoMonte, “It is not enough for President Biden to deliver successful results. He must begin rebuilding the legitimacy of institutions torn down by decades of sustained antigovernment extremist rumor-mongering. The first step in rebuilding trust is, of course, to behave in a way that is worthy of trust. But the first step accomplishes little without the second: To be trusted, the new administration must not merely behave beyond reproach but must invite skeptics to look inside the process of governance to assuage their skepticism.”