Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Most transparent administration ever? No. That, too, was a lie.

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Ed Brayton:

On President Obama’s very first day in office he pledged that his would be the most transparent administration ever. He issued an executive order telling federal agency and department heads to change their ways when it comes to Freedom of Information Act requests and err on the side of transparency rather than secrecy. And he was particularly adamant about the public knowing about government officials meeting with lobbyists. In fact, in his State of the Union address last week he said:

Because you deserve to know when your elected officials are meeting with lobbyists, I ask Congress to do what the White House has already done: put that information online.

The rhetoric sounds great. The reality isn’t matching up. Right now, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in the process of making a decision on whether to greenlight the Keystone XL pipeline, which will carry highly polluting tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada all the way to Houston, Texas. And it just so happens that the deputy national campaign manager of her 2008 presidential campaign is now the chief lobbyist for TransCanada, the oil company that is proposing the pipeline.

A group of environmental groups filed a FOIA request for all communications on the subject between Clinton and Paul Elliott, her campaign manager turned lobbyist. The State Department rejected it. Those groups have now filed an appeal of that rejection, which will almost certainly be ignored (under FOIA law, no answer means a rejection of the appeal), forcing the issue into court.

But if the Obama administration actually meant what it says about transparency, they wouldn’t have to.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 February 2011 at 4:52 pm

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