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“They still have a presumption against disclosure,” said Ms. Sloan, whose group’s lawsuit over visitor logs eventually led the Obama administration to make them public more than a year ago. “At least with the Bush administration, they told you there was a presumption of secrecy. The Obama administration is claiming a presumption of openness and yet everything [the Justice Department] does is in opposition to that.”

CREW also has kept the heat on the White House over its adherence to federal rules governing the preservation of electronic records - a source of controversy during the Bush administration. After the New York Times reported that administration officials were using personal e-mail accounts to communicate with lobbyists and circumventing visitor logs by meeting with them outside the White House, the watchdog group this summer asked a House oversight committee to open an investigation.

Still, Ms. Sloan said she gives the White House a good deal of credit for being “way more responsive” to watchdog groups than the Bush administration was, even if they don’t always see eye to eye: “At least they listen to what you’re saying; they return your phone calls.”

Going forward, John Wonderlich, policy director at the Sunlight Foundation, said the onus will be on the president and his advisers to ensure that various agencies execute on the transparency plans they were required to submit earlier this year under the open-government directive.

“Moving beyond the easy wins, it’s going to take continuing effort from the White House. They’re going to have to continue making it a priority,” he said.

Cato’s Mr. Harper said he would like to see full compliance from the administration on the president’s so-called “sunlight before signing” pledge, which got off to a “lousy start” in 2009 when the White House posted only six out of 124 bills on its website for the requisite five days before Mr. Obama signed them. As of Nov. 8, Mr. Obama had adhered to his pledge 103 out of 159 times this year, with one exception for an “emergency” bill.