'Transparency' through obstruction
Welcome to the Summer of Belated Epiphanies. Media lapdogs finally are arriving at the conclusion that maybe the Obama administration isn't the most transparent in world history after all.
The Associated Press last week reported on the administration's use of secret email accounts, stonewalling on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and attempted shakedowns of reporters seeking public information on just how widespread the disclosure evasion might be.
But it wasn't the AP that originally uncovered Team Obama's penchant for email sock-puppetry. Chris Horner, Competitive Enterprise Institute fellow and author of “The Liberal War on Transparency,” first exposed former EPA Chief Lisa Jackson's Internet alter ego, “Richard Windsor,” last year. The free-market environmental think tank filed suit against the government last fall, seeking records on the secret, illegal “secondary” email accounts of high-level EPA officials after the agency ignored multiple FOIA filings.
Seven months after President Obama was re-elected, along comes the AP to bolster Horner's assertion that the practice is not isolated in one bureaucracy. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius maintained at least one FOIA-subverting address: KGS2@hhs.gov. So did Donald Berwick, former head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and Gary Cohen, a top Obama-Care operative.
According to the AP, 10 agencies have not yet turned over lists of email addresses. In a classic Captain Obvious moment, the AP points out that these hidden accounts “drive perceptions that government officials are trying to hide actions or decisions.” You don't say!
Hostility to transparency, of course, has been a hallmark of this administration from top to bottom:
• Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for years fought disclosure of massive donations from foreign governments and corporations that filled her husband's library and foundation coffers.
• Former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis failed to disclose that she was director and treasurer of a union-promoting lobbying group.
• Attorney General Eric Holder overruled his own lawyers in the Justice Department on the issue of D.C. voting rights (which he and Obama support) and refused to make public the staffers' opinion that a House bill on the matter was unconstitutional. His obstructions extend from the New Black Panther Party voting-rights case to the Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal to the Solyndra green boondoggle bankruptcy and Gitmo closure plans — all while touting a new “Open Plan for Government” from which he has conveniently exempted himself.
And in case you'd forgotten, Obama set the tone by breaking his transparency pledge with the very first bill he signed into law. In January 2009, the White House announced that the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act had been posted online for review. Oops: Obama had already signed it — in violation of his “sunlight before signing” pledge to post legislation for public comment on the White House website five days before he sealed any deal.
When Obama vowed that “transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency,” he didn't mean “touchstones.” He meant sinkholes.
Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” (Regnery 2009).
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Another Iran warning: Listen to Abdullah
- Saturday essay: Garage bees
- Connellsville’s cleanup: Shine up your city pride
- Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances
- Clairton’s bizarre teen ID proposal
- Greensburg Laurels & Lances
- Mon-Yough Laurels & Lances
- Wolf attack: Reckless words against UPMC
- Alle-Kiski Laurels & Lances
- Can Iran deal be verified?
- Pulling in illegals: The surge continues