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Agency board to talk transparency, but meeting closed to public

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The board that oversees the Millennium Challenge Corporation, an independent federal agency that doles out foreign aid, is meeting next week  to discuss open data and transparency.

But the meeting, it turns out, is closed to the public.

As a policy, MCC board meetings are held behind closed doors. But with transparency on the agenda, “it’s hard to see why the entire board meeting would be closed to the public,” said John Wonderlich, policy director for the Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit group that advocates for increased government transparency.

He credited the MCC for releasing copies of its meeting minutes. Meanwhile, MCC ranked high in a recent transparency rating of aid organizations worldwide.

Still, while discussions on personnel and pending foreign aid decisions may be appropriate for closed session, Wonderlich said the board should consider dividing between public and nonpublic portions of meetings.

Asked about the closed door policy, the MCC emailed a statement to Federal Times saying the Sunshine Act doesn’t apply to board meetings but the organization still works to be transparent.

“Due to the sensitive and confidential nature of the meetings, they are not open to the public,” the MCC statement reads, adding that the organization also issues press releases and holds public town halls after board meeting to inform the public.

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