Local officials in Florida experiment with digital technologies to ensure public access after the governor suspends law requiring in-person meetings.
The officials, who wished to remain anonymous, told Reuters that documented exchanges between health officials about “the scope of infections, quarantines and travel restrictions” have been removed from public record and placed in a “high-security meeting room” at the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).
Breaking News Update South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Beatty vacated the order that would have prohibited lawyers from […]
President Trump declared in a tweet that he has told White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to stop holding […]
The Washington Post reports that senior White House staffers in President Trump's administration were asked to sign long-term nondisclosure agreements which would prevent them from revealing confidential information. These agreements extended beyond the normal confidentiality obligations around classified information or attorney-client privilege and included fines if they were broken. What exactly is the law that would govern NDAs? Heidi Kitrosser of the University of Minnesota told Reuters that “These NDAs strike me as clearly unconstitutional under the First Amendment” because the First Amendment protects free speech from government restriction, and White House personnel are employed by the government not by President Trump. This is not absolute in all cases. In Garcetti v. Ceballos (2006), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled public employees can be fired or otherwise disciplined for speech connected to their jobs. Several scholars suggested that President Trump does not need NDAs at all - he can just fire employees who have divulged confidential information.
Though the White House has denied "media gags" at agencies from the EPA to the National Park Service, the chill continues to be felt by reporters covering the current Administration. The latest: higher ups at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention appear to have reduced reporter access according to a recently released email obtained by Axios.
After the Obama administration waged a war against whistleblowers and leakers, how will the Trump administration deal with similar challenges? At the Department of Veterans Affairs, Trump signed a whistleblower protection act. But upheaval at the Interior Department may lead the administration on a different path.