White House Secrecy

Josh Gerstein’s Blog

That said, the legalities Orszag alluded to all seem to be aimed at allowing the tax panel to meet in private. The reason to have the task force appointed by the advisory board and not Obama is that, if Obama names them and gives them an assignment, they are a freestanding panel subject to the rules of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, including advance public notice of meetings and public meetings in most cases. Having them give their report to the full 16-member advisory board also insulates the group. By not reporting directly to Obama, the tax reform task force will be able to work behind closed doors.

From Obama’s Blueprint for Change (PDF). You know, the one he campaigned on.  In the Ethics section:

Conduct Regulatory Agency Business in Public: Obama will require his appointees who lead the executive branch departments and rulemaking agencies to conduct the significant business of the agency in public, so that any citizen can watch these debates in person or on the Internet.

His inability to appoint anyone into positions actually makes sense now.  If they aren’t “appointees” then they don’t have to follow his ethics rules.  Not that it matters anyways, he hasn’t followed any of these sections either:

Sunlight Before Signing: Too often bills are rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them. As president, Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days.

Shine Light on Earmarks and Pork Barrel Spending: Obama’s Transparency and Integrity in Earmarks Act will shed light on all earmarks by disclosing the name of the legislator who asked for each earmark, along with a written justification, 72 hours before they can be approved by the full Senate.

Reform the Political Appointee Process: FEMA Director Michael Brown was not qualified to head the agency, and the result was a disaster for the people of the Gulf Coast. But in an Obama administration, every official will have to rise to the standard of proven excellence in the agency’s mission.

Change?  I am shocked that there are so many people who fell for this.

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