Obama’s Administration The Most Transparent Ever? Not By A Long Shot

In 2009 Obama promised to be the most transparent administration ever:

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We have since found that it has been one of the most secretive administrations ever. Vince wrote last summer about the lack of transparency and cronyism involved in ObamaCare:

…the violations of that transparency pledge were greatest during the passage of arguably the single most important – and worst – piece of legislation ever to come across a President’s desk: ObamaCare. Euphemistically named the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, ObamaCare single handedly would open the door for regulation of anything in the American economy and the lives of the American people. The legislation inspired protests that have not been seen in decades. Needless to say, ObamaCare was and is controversial.

So it’s particularly interesting that Barack Obama chose that legislation to introduce some of his most potent behind the scenes dealings. Although it was known at the time that the administration was discussing the various elements of ObamaCare with Big Pharma, it wasn’t until three years later that the hypocritical interworkings of the negotiations would became public. In typical Washington fashion, the President traded (dropped) legalizing the importation of drugs from Canada and using government purchasing power to drive down drug prices in exchange for the pharmaceutical industry spending tens of millions of dollars in support of ObamaCare. The point here isn’t that the President engaged in anything particularly unusual, but rather his hypocrisy in explicitly promising an unprecedented level of transparency and then to immediately engage in secret deal making upon taking office.

Even the left was upset about the lack of transparency:

“In the beginning of 2010, [Obama] said he made a significant mistake by abandoning some of his pledges related to transparency,” said Josh Gerstein of Politico, “and that going forward they would do things differently. Seems to me we are forward and it seems to me we’re not doing things any differently.”

It was a more-in-sadness-than-in-anger critique of Obama often heard from the political left, and the moderator, the Sunlight Foundation’s Daniel Schuman, was apologetic. “We’re placing a lot of blame at the administration,” he observed. “Or blame isn’t the right word — maybe responsibility.”

…By certain measures, “overall secrecy has actually increased rather than declined,” said Steven Aftergood, who runs the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy. “Criminalization of unauthorized disclosures of information to the press has risen sharply, becoming a preferred tactic. Efforts to promote public accountability in controversial aspects of counterterrorism policy such as targeted killing have been blocked by threadbare, hardly credible national security secrecy claims.”

A Washington Post report from this past summer concluded that “by some measures the government is keeping more secrets than before.” Those making Freedom of Information Act requests in 2011 were less likely than in 2010 to get material from 10 of 15 Cabinet agencies, which were more likely to exploit the law’s exemptions.

Also, the National Declassification Center, which Obama established in 2009, had by the summer of 2012 reviewed only 14 percent of the pages it was assigned to review and declassify by the end of 2013.

Examples abound what with his secrecy regarding his ties to Fannie Mae, his prosecutions of whistleblowers, his ignoring of FOIA requests, or even his planned regulatory changes for the coming year.

And the ever expanding list continues to grow with the news that the person Obama appointed to head the EPA had a secret email account to bypass the FOIA:

The name Richard Windsor may sound innocuous, but it is allegedly one of the secret “alias” email accounts used by Obama EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

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