The author considers the interrelationship between the legislative formalization of administrative responsibility and the acceptance or non-acceptance of the ethical and legal principle of transparency of power, understood as free access to information. The universality of the right to information is substantiated. The paper shows the transition of the legislation of various countries from the principle of secrecy of any information at the disposal of state bodies to the principle of transparency, considered as freedom of search, receipt and dissemination of information. This transition is shown in dynamics as going through several stages. The author considers various models of administrative responsibility adopted in various jurisdictions, mainly in European countries, in comparison with the American model. Their mutual influence is also taken into consideration. Much attention is paid to the need for the correct application of the principle of transparency. It is noted that the declarations underlying the new rules adopted recently cannot give real innovative effects if the reforms are not accompanied by changes in organizational structures and additional financial investments. At the same time, the completeness of the transition from the secrecy regime to the principle of transparency is determined by the legal traditions that have developed in different countries.