Obama's Transparency Promises Have Been Repeatedly Broken

Obama's Transparency Promises Have Been Repeatedly Broken


While the Obama administration has been the most transparent of any so far, he has still broken some pretty specific promises, much to the consternation of those who voted for him.

From New York Times:

“When there’s a bill that ends up on my desk as president, you the public will have five days to look online and find out what’s in it before I sign it, so that you know what your government’s doing,” Mr. Obama said as a candidate, telling voters he would make government more transparent and accountable.

When he took office in January, his team added that in posting nonemergency bills, it would “allow the public to review and comment” before Mr. Obama signed them.

Five months into his administration, Mr. Obama has signed two dozen bills, but he has almost never waited five days. On the recent credit card legislation, which included a controversial measure to allow guns in national parks, he waited just two.

Seriously, how tough is it to wait a few more days? If you’re going to talk the talk, you’ve gotta walk the walk.

This lack of transparency is also display when discussing his pledge of making the White House visitor logs public:

As a senator, Barack Obama denounced the Bush administration for holding “secret energy meetings” with oil executives at the White House. But last week public-interest groups were dismayed when his own administration rejected a Freedom of Information Act request for Secret Service logs showing the identities of coal executives who had visited the White House to discuss Obama’s “clean coal” policies.

One reason: the disclosure of such records might impinge on privileged “presidential communications.” The refusal, approved by White House counsel Greg Craig’s office, is the latest in a series of cases in which Obama officials have opted against public disclosure.

Listen, there is time to turn this around. A few missteps don’t have to turn into a chronic habit. And while I realize that some campaign promises will be broken, this doesn’t have to be one of them.

The sooner they realize this, the better.

  • http://52novels.com Rob in Denver

    I’m not too concerned about the 5-days promise. The only thing transparent about the wait is its symbolism.

    If you really wanna read what’s in a bill before it gets signed, go to the Library of Congress Web site. It’s there online from the day it gets introduced through the day the president signs it.

  • ExiledIndependent

    I think that the bill commentary cycle is a really easy fix (and an easy win) for Obama. He can even spin it by saying, “The critical economic emergencies that I inherited made it difficult to give you the American people the transparency you deserve, the transparency that has been so lacking for the past eight years. With key stimulus programs in effect, I announce today a new section of the whitehouse.gov site where legislation blahblahblah.”

    I think the guest logs are trickier, and perhaps more important.