Sunlight Foundation: White House wavering on transparency

Update: The White House contends the new structure is actually an elevation of ethics and transparency issues, since Croley Bauer will be coordinating a six-lawyer team on transparency and ethics issues that will work closely with Croley. The White House declined to comment on Sunlight's criticisms Tuesday.

Bauer has said that the team's purpose would be "not only to hold administration officials to their ethics obligations, but to promote government openness, whistleblower protections, campaign finance reform and to ensure that government serves the American people, not the special interests."

Several good-government groups, including the Sunlight Foundation, wrote to President Obama on Friday to applaud Eisen's service. The letter also praised the administration's quick action in appointing Bauer and Croley to take over his responsibilities.

But in her blog post, Miller questioned the shuffling of responsibilities to Bauer, accusing him of siding with "arch conservatives" against government transparency and inventing the rationale for the acceptance of unregulated political donations known as soft money. She also said the Obama administration has failed to follow through on its promises with regard to transparency.

"Even before this transition, we’ve been shaking our heads," she wrote. "After making some dramatic statements and issuing important directives, and taking some very positive initial first steps, the White House has already fallen short on delivery of the things we have been promised. We’re now more than 18 months into this administration, and particularly now, we are wondering what is going on."

As evidence, Miller pointed to the federal data clearinghouse Data.gov, where she says "the data isn't piling up." Miller wrote that only 1 percent of the files are raw data, while the rest are useless for anything besides building maps. She also criticized the White House for failing to act on lobbying reform or earmark transparency.

"We’ve noticed the president’s campaign promise to establish an Ethics.gov appears to be dead. And more," Miller wrote. "Sunlight is very concerned about this turn of events. We will be more than happy to be shown that we’re wrong."