Petitions website disappears


An Obama-era open government tool created to encourage transparency and communication has ended under Trump.

Throughout Trump’s first year in office, the White House has not answered a single petition on the “We The People” website. In December, the site was disabled entirely, but will it really be brought back like the Trump administration claims?

Salon’s Alyona Minkovski questioned why the 17 petitions that reached the necessary quota of signatures to warrant a response were ignored for “Salon Now.” Created by the Obama administration in 2011, the online tool allows the public to draft petitions on wh.gov. If they receive over 100,000 signatures, the White House has 30 days to respond. During the Obama years, some of the most popular petitions included questions about marijuana legalization and UFOs.

Some of the petitions that received the most support in 2017 targeted the president directly. A petition asking Trump to release his tax returns has over one million signatures. Others include a petition calling for Trump’s resignation, and another urging for him to divest or put all of his assets in a blind trust.

While it seems the public may have struck a nerve, the result is a further descent into secrecy and move away from open government. Other topics that reached the 100,000-signature threshold in 2017 included net neutrality, the National Firearms Act and a request to let farmers grow hemp.

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