There has been a lot of commotion surrounding the President’s law degree and whether she actually has one or not. Chequeado made a request to receive a copy under Decree 1172/03. On December 5, 2014, Chequeado received a response from the Secretary General of the Presidency dated November 25th stating that a copy cannot be given as it contains “personal information” (Law 25.326). This same statue was cited by the Ministry of Social Development to the Center for the Implementation of Public Policies Promoting Equity and Growth (CIPPEC) over information on beneficiaries of social plans. However, that request involved information from private citizens, whereas the position of President is not covered by the same protections.
On December 20, 2013, Chequeado, along with La Voz Interior de Cordoba, a newspaper, made a request for communications between the Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers and the Ministry of Homeland Security during protests in the province on December 3-4 to confirm whether or not the provincial government asked for assistance from the national government. La Voz had previously requested the same information from the provincial Ministry of Communication and Development. They were sent responses detailing communication attempts between officials during the protests, helping journalists unravel how Homeland Security Act No. 24.059 — the law that allows for such requests for assistance to be made — was being used in the chaos.
An unnamed NGO asked for information regarding the President and public officials' wages. La Nacion composed a similar request asking for only the highest of government workers' salaries. Both requests were denied due to Argentina's sensitive data law (25.326). On February 20, 2014, La Nacion published the records of this correspondence, piling pressure on the government to release the data. Consequently, the Secretary General of the Presidency published a list of the top 20 earners in the Argentine government (http://blogs.lanacion.com.ar/projects/files/2014/04/PlanillaSueldos2012.jpg). The next day this information became front page news, revealing the power of the media to ignite change and action in government when equipped with the right tools.
This article concerns a recent information request on behalf of numerous organizations and Amnestry International to the Minister of Health in Mendoza. It asks for data on access to contraception, legal abortion and the overall health of women, adolescents and children throughout the province. Inquiries into the matter were all prompted by César Mosso Gianini, an advisor to Mendoza's government, who published a series of opinions on the "unconstitutionality" and "illegality" of abortion. Access to such information can be helpful in determining whether public officials are following the rule of law or letting their personal opinions sway their sworn actions.
In 2011, the Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia (ACIJ), the Asociación por los Derechos Civiles (ADC), the Fundación Directorio Legislativo, and Poder Ciudadano requested information on employee contracts (part-time or full time), community expenses, and the grants and subsidies given to the Congressmen of the House and the Senate. In August 2014, they, along with several NGOs, once again requested this information, indicating that the information was not made available on their websites. In February 2015, after receiving no response, the NGOs filed two lawsuits suing the House and the Senate. The Administrative Court ruled in favor of ADC, ACIJ, Directorio Legislativo and Poder Ciudadano. The Senate has 15 days to respond now. The rest of the information requested was made public on the Senate website, signaligning a huge victory for civil society groups trying to bolster public engagement.
In 2013, Manuel Garrido, an Argentine deputy, requested information from the National Directorate for the Protection of Personal Data about the appointment of the department's director, but was initially denied because it was argued that deputies waived their rights to such requests once in office. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Garrido, sponsored by the Asociación por los Derechos Civiles (ADC). This solidified the fact that being in certain positions of employment does not limit your ability to make information requests.
On March 26, 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that the government must release information related to the programs administered by the ministry of social development, including lists of beneficiaries. Requests for this information have been previously rejected on the grounds that such information affects vulnerable groups. The Center for the Implementation of Public Policies Promoting Equity and Growth (CIPPEC), an Argentine think tank, had its 2007 request for this information denied. When CIPPEC requested finanicial information in the same vein from 14 state-run companies, only three sent more than half of the requested data. In a similar move, the Asociación por los Derechos Civiles (ADC) sent 49 requests to various government departments, oh which only 47% were answered satisfactorily. The Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia (ACIJ) sought to investigate the Executive Decree's power and submitted 44 requests of info between January 2012 and 2013: 14 were not answered, 14 were answered after 10 days, and 16 were answered on time. Regarding the quality of answers, only 12 answered completely and adequately as stated in the Decree. Reports of insufficient responses to information requests are rampant, and perhaps make the case for stronger consequences in the case of shoddy replies.
ACIJ and CIPCE (Centro de Investigación y Prevención de la Criminalidad Económica) asked for information from the Anticorruption Office (OA) regarding regulations on gifts to public officials. CIPCE and ACIJ asked the OA information regarding a) whether or not a mechanism from the Registry of Gifts and Benefits to Public Officials had been implemented b) "if not, what where the reasons, and c) how long until some mechanism is implemented?" OA responded on November 28 and gave no specific reasons for the absence of a mechanism and no timeline. The OA’s Director of Policy Planning on Transparency did not respond to most of the ONGs’ questions. Specifically, there was no response to why Article 18, dealing with public ethics, is not applied to gifts. Article 18, Ethics Law of Public Administration, is 12 years old and there is still no Registry of Gifts and Benefits.
This article includes a summary of requests made by the Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia (ACIJ) in 2012: 1) The first series of requests dealt with the February rail accident. ACIJ asked for information from the National Commission for Transport Regulation (CNRT), the Secretary of Transportation, Metrovías S.A., Ferrovías S.A.C., and Railways Infrastructure Administration. Metrovias has not responded, and nor has the Secretary of Transportation, despite asking for a 10 day extension. 2) ACIJ asked for information regarding the vice president and his management of the company Sudamericana, formerly Ciccone, and received a response from the Federal Administration of Public Revenues (AFIP). 3) ACIJ received no response from the Ministry of Transportation or the Ministry of Federal Planning regarding irregularities in the administration and supervision of the SUBE transportation card.
The La Nacion Data team asked for a physical copy of the President's salary on February 7, 2013. In January 2014, they asked for the salaries of the primary officials in the Executive Branch, which was supposed to be provided to them following the request. The physical copy was never successfully relayed to them. In December 2012, the team asked for information regarding the travels of Guillermo Moreno, the Secretary of Domestic Trade from 2005 to 2013. The request was left for 762 days without a response. In 2013, the team requested information regarding a specific resolution of ACUMAR's (a regional government agency): number 1173/2012. On September 6, 2013, Oscar Deina, Chief Executive of ACUMAR, said that the law was not regulated by the agency. 293 days later, the agency sent the text of the resolution. Links and documents to these requests are available in the article.