Seeing Right Through 'The Most Transparent Administration in History' | Speaker.gov

Under Speaker Boehner, the House has become more open and transparent. From banning earmarks to making the legislative process more accessible on livestream, to establishing one website where you can see how all of your tax dollars are being spent, to increasing the fair consideration of legislation, the House has made “big strides” in #OpenGov that has drawn bipartisan praise. It’s open government you can see, literally.

In contrast, while President Obama has repeatedly claimed that his is the “most transparent administration in history,” the evidence supporting his assertion is pretty flimsy, and a recent spate of news stories demonstrates that everyone can see right through the president’s dubious boast:

  • Government watchdogs complain of closed doors set up by White House: “Inspectors general, as they're called, are supposed to uncover government fraud. But they say all too often, they're getting stonewalled instead. The IGs want better access to information from the Obama administration—and they're winning support from members of Congress. Forty-seven IGs signed a letter this month highlighting problems with access to federal records — problems they say slow their investigations and threaten their independence.” (NPR)
  • Obama admin thwarting release of public data under FOIA, lawsuit charges: “The civic watchdog group Cause of Action on Monday sued the Obama administration, claiming that presidential attorneys have interfered improperly in the release of public documents under the landmark FOIA law in an effort to curb the release of derogatory information about the White House. The lawsuit … names 12 federal agencies that the group says slowed the release of documents so officials could consult with White House attorneys under a review process established in spring 2009. FOIA analysts say this practice never occurred in prior administrations.” (The Washington Times)
  • Administration won’t reveal records on health website security: "[T]he Obama administration has concluded it will not publicly disclose federal records that could shed light on the security of the government's health care website because doing so could 'potentially' allow hackers to break in. … The AP is asking the government to reconsider. Obama instructed federal agencies in 2009 to not keep information confidential 'merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears.' Yet the government, in its denial of the AP request, speculates that disclosing the records could possibly, but not assuredly or even probably, give hackers the keys they need to intrude." (Associated Press)
  • The Vice President stonewalled Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to hide travel costs: “[Ronald] Kessler, a former Wall Street Journal and Washington Post investigative reporter, filed a FOIA request in April 2013 with the Air Force for the details and costs of [Vice President Joe] Biden’s personal trips. … According to Kessler, Biden’s then-deputy counsel Jessica Hertz took over the FOIA case from the Air Force and ordered it not to release the 95 pages of documents it had compiled in response to Kessler’s request.” (Washington Free Beacon)
  • Behind closed doors, President Obama crafts executive actions: “[T]he process of drafting what will likely be the only significant immigration changes of his presidency … has been conducted almost entirely behind closed doors, where lobbyists and interest groups invited to the White House are making their case out of public view. … It also has opened the president, already facing charges of executive overreach, to criticism that he is presiding over opaque policy-making, with the potential to reward political backers at the expense of other interests[.]” (The New York Times)
  • ObamaCare's memory hole? 'Please delete this email': “[Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn] Tavenner's email asking the subordinate to delete an email was turned over to the House Energy and Commerce Committee last week, just a day after her staff told the committee that some copies of her email communications might have been lost. ‘Please delete this email,’ Tavenner wrote to then-CMS spokeswoman Julie Bataille on Oct. 5, 2013.” (CNBC)
  • White House reverses lobbyist ban: "The reversal comes amid ongoing debate over the effectiveness of Obama’s efforts to end K Street’s influence on policymaking. A POLITICO count published Tuesday shows that despite restrictions on lobbyists serving in government about 70 corporate, for-hire or association lobbyists have all joined the Obama administration." (Politico)
  • New York Times’ Risen calls Obama administration “the greatest enemy of press freedom” in a generation: “[New York Times reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner Jim] Risen said that the Administration has actively sought to ‘narrow the field of national security reporting’ and ‘create a path for accepted reporting’ while threatening to punish those who do not yield.” (Jonathan Turley)