Transparently Biased Against Disclosure

Team Obama came out of that disastrous first debate blaming the debacle on one thing after another, finally settling on the most vicious excuse. Mitt Romney only won because he was a brazen liar. David Axelrod was obnoxious enough to cite as his moral witness one Bill Clinton, who is certainly an authority on lying with a barrel full of chutzpah.

Axelrod pledged in every interview that Team Obama would be holding Romney accountable. Fine. That’s political theater. But is there anyone in the media who holds Team Obama accountable? Most journalists are too busy hounding Romney. Bloomberg News is an exception. It is willing to look at how Obama’s campaign promises are faring.

Obama came into office pledging to create “an unprecedented level of openness in government” and to “act promptly” to make information public. Surprise, surprise: Obama is just another politician. In June, Bloomberg reporters filed Freedom of Information Act requests with 57 federal agencies. The reporters sought data on a very basic level: taxpayer-supported travel by Cabinet secretaries and top officials. Just eight of the agencies met the 20-day window for disclosure required by law. Of 20 Cabinet-level agencies, only the Small Business Administration responded within the legal time limit. (Who knew that Obama elevated SBA to Cabinet-level status in January? A lot of good it did.)

The records of five other Cabinet-level departments -- Commerce, Labor, Treasury, the Office of Budget and Management, and the U.S. Trade Representative -- were turned over to Bloomberg past the deadline. “Fourteen either haven’t fully complied or haven’t responded at all, including the Department of Justice -- whose mandate includes enforcing compliance of disclosure laws.”

Bloomberg acknowledged the government processed over 600,000 FOIA filings last year. “But it was the president and his attorney general, Eric Holder, who publicly designated openness and transparency as the guiding lights of this administration. The benchmark of timely disclosure is their own. And unlike other inaugural promises -- world peace, say, or campaign finance reform -- this one seemed within grasp.”

Some refusals were laughable. The State Department, for example, said it couldn’t compile travel records for Susan Rice, the ambassador to the United Nations, until July 2013, more than a year after the request was made.

The media love to march around saying “sunlight is the best disinfectant” and alleging that they’re in favor of government transparency. But when Democrats are in power, they don’t really believe in spending any time on that “openness” blather.

Conservative activist and author Christopher Horner has laid out an astonishing case against the Obama administration in his new book “The Liberal War on Transparency.” Don’t plan on seeing Chris in a big “60 Minutes” piece or a two-hour PBS documentary.

Remember how the liberal reporters all yammered away about how they were entitled to all of Sarah Palin’s e-mails as governor of Alaska? Media organizations sued to gain access to 13,000 Palin e-mails. Where are those “reporters” now? Why the silence over Team Obama? Because the media <ital>are<ital> Team Obama. 

Horner demonstrates that the Obama administration conducts its public business by avoiding the official e-mail accounts provided by the taxpayer. Jim Messina, currently the campaign manager for Obama, used his private AOL account during his time in the White House to make deals with Big Pharma lobbyists to support Obamacare, where they agreed to buy $150 million in ads and lobby for his bill’s enactment.

Similarly, the head of the Department of Energy’s Loan Guarantee Program made infamous by Solyndra, conducted government business on personal e-mail accounts. “Don’t ever send an email on DOE email with a personal email addresses,” Jonathan Silver wrote August 21, 2011, from his personal account to another program official’s private account. “That makes them subpoenable.” There’s nothing innocent in that sentence. 

The Washington Post reported then that “Silver repeatedly communicated about internal and sensitive loan decisions via his personal e-mail, the newly released records show, and more than a dozen other Energy Department staff members used their personal e-mail to discuss decisions involving taxpayer-funded loans as well.”

Did the Post write an angry editorial on this? Of course not.

Horner’s indictment is blunt: “Transparency is being turned on its head, and by the ideological heirs of its original champions.” He means liberals in general. But it’s the liberal “investigative journalists” and editorial writers who have proven to be flagrantly hypocritical. “Freedom of information” is only a fancy turn of phrase used to describe a political tactic to be employed against conservatives. With liberals, silence is golden.