I mean, it’s not that we don’t know why.
The solution to this quandary about transparency in the Obama White House is pretty easy to resolve…
Whether it’s responding to Congress, media questions, or FOIA requests, this administration is no better than its predecessor. The big difference: Obama is a Democrat. And because he is a Democrat, he’s gotten a pass from many of the civil liberty and good-government groups who spent years watching President Bush’s every move like a hawk.
No one knows this better than John Kiriakou, the CIA agent who reported to federal prison two weeks ago for blowing the whistle on the agency’s use of torture[*]. During an interview at an Arlington, Va., coffee shop, Kiriakou said the time has come for Washington watchdog groups—organizations like Public Citizen, Project on Government Oversight, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, and others—to admit that President Obama hasn’t come close to making good on his promise to make government more transparent and accountable.
Continue reading Beltway “whistleblowing” groups: not-curiously silent on Barack Obama’s lack of transparency.
OK, here’s the background: back in 2011 it came out that in 2008 Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D, NV-01) intervened to prevent the shutdown of a Nevadan kidney transplant program that was killing patients. It’s important at this point to distinguish between proper and improper responses: for example, it is proper to be concerned about what was reported as being “the only transplant center in Nevada” at the time, which is why a number of Nevadan Members of Congress (including Rep. Dean Heller – this will be important later) joined Rep. Berkley in intervening with the program. Is this clear? Good. Because the problem here – the possibly improper problem – is that the method of intervention involved just happened to involve hiring more medical personnel from a company that just happens to be owned by Berkely’s physician husband (kidney specialist) who also just happens to be a co-owner of one of Berkley’s major corporate campaign contributors.
Funny how it always seems to work out that way, huh? Continue reading Shelley Berkley (D, NV-01) under ethics investigation for medical crony capitalism.
An amusing sighting at this week’s oh-boy-we-got-shellacked three-day gathering of influential Democratic, liberal, and progressive policy groups:
And on Tuesday, representatives from some of those groups and others mingled with donors before a panel about how the political landscape will affect economic policy, which featured [AFL-CIO president Dick] Trumka.
Melanie Sloan, executive director of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, talked with [Democratic donor Bill] Budinger. According to tax records analyzed by the conservative Capital Research Center, Budinger’s family’s foundation in 2007 contributed $100,000 to the White House-allied Center for American Progress, one of the Democracy Alliance’s earliest beneficiaries.
Sloan did not respond to questions about her participation in the meeting.
Then again, what can she say? “Yeah, CREW is a shill for the American Left. We do the bare minimum of pro forma other-side investigations to make people think that we’re impartial; but, really, we want Democrats to win.” Doesn’t quite fit their public persona, really.
Rep Jesse Jackson Jr (D-IL) – already under a federal probe for his possible connections with former Illinois Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich – is now dealing with questions about payments from his campaign to his wife Sandra Jackson:
Jesse Jackson Jr. Pays Campaign Funds to Chicago Alderman Wife
May 21 (Bloomberg) — Representative Jesse Jackson Jr.’s congressional campaign organization has paid his wife at least $247,500 since 2001, including at least $95,000 after Sandra Jackson joined the Chicago City Council two years ago, according to federal election records.
Jackson’s political committee also gave at least $298,927 in cash and in-kind contributions to Sandra Jackson’s campaign fund, which bankrolled her races for a city council seat that pays more than $100,000 per year and an unpaid position on the Cook County Democratic Committee.
Sandra Jackson, known as Sandi, received the $95,000 for political consulting after pledging during her campaign to give “my full attention” to the alderman’s post.
I would normally be nodding agreement with CREW spokesperson Melanie Sloan when she points out that this mostly shows ‘the scandal in Washington often is what’s legal,’ except for this one little bit.
Continue reading Rep. Jesse Jackson’s campaign payments to wife.