The Associated Press has a blockbuster story today, exposing shady activities by the Obama Administration that undermines his claims of transparency and reeks of Nixon-style enemies lists:
In July 2009, Homeland Security introduced a directive requiring a wide range of information to be vetted by political appointees for “awareness purposes,” no matter who requested it. The government on Wednesday estimated fewer than 500 requests underwent such political scrutiny; the Homeland Security Department received about 103,000 total requests for information last fiscal year. Career employees were ordered to provide Secretary Janet Napolitano’s political staff with information about the people who asked for records — such as where they lived, whether they were private citizens or reporters — and about the organizations where they worked.
The story is a must read, so check it out, but I wanted to flag one aspect of DHS’s “awareness program.”
Anything that related to an Obama policy priority was pegged for this review. So was anything that touched on a “controversial or sensitive subject” that could attract media attention or that dealt with meetings involving prominent business and elected leaders.
Big business lobbyists have had much more clout in this administration than the White House would like to admit, as demonstrated by exposes by the L.A. Times, the N.Y. Times, and others. Remember these gems from a N.Y. Times piece:
Two lobbyists also cited instances in which the White House had suggested that a job candidate be “deregistered” as a lobbyist in Senate records to avoid violating the administration’s hiring restrictions…. Lobbyists say some White House officials will agree to an initial meeting with a lobbyist and his client at the White House, but then plan follow-up sessions at a site not subject to the visitors’ log….
It’s increasingly clear that on transparency and closing out the special interests, this administration is not even close to living up to its rhetoric.