Transparency is one of the most misunderstood concepts in executive circles. Clear to all ranks however, is the notion that a perceived lack of it can have a crippling effect on a leader’s reputation.
Consider both current U.S. presidential candidate and incumbent, on the issue. When the latter, Barack Obama, took office, his Administration promised that it would be "the most open and transparent in history." All evidence to the contrary, say prominent critics who point to the government’s alleged disappointing track record in processing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. On the flip side, Democrats (joined by some vocal Republicans), are assailing challenger Mitt Romney for not releasing the standard 10-year stretch of tax returns as presidential hopefuls had done for the better part of the previous -- and this -- century. Meanwhile the media are having a ball with the Romney shut-down persona which seemingly won’t let anyone in, including them.