The Associated Press, that infamous right-wing propaganda machine, has once again looked at the Obama administration’s record on transparency. Since that was one of the big sells of “Hope and Change” in 2008, I applaud AP. Unfortunately, it once again turns out that open and accountable government to the White House is viewed along the lines of “if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan” — only this time it’s “if you like transparency, you can keep transparency.”
The Associated Press reported:
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration has a way to go to fulfill its promises from Day 1 to become the most transparent administration in history.
More often than ever, the administration censored government files or outright denied access to them last year under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, cited more legal exceptions it said justified withholding materials and refused a record number of times to turn over files quickly that might be especially newsworthy, according to a new analysis of federal data by The Associated Press. …
In a year of intense public interest over the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, the government cited national security to withhold information a record 8,496 times – a 57 percent increase over a year earlier and more than double Obama’s first year, when it cited that reason 3,658 times. …
The AP’s request to the Health and Human Services Department for contracts with public-relations companies to promote Obama’s health care law has been pending for more than one year. Requests for files about the Affordable Care Act and the IRS’s treatment of tax-exempt political groups have languished in government offices for months. Similarly, the AP has waited for more than 10 months for emails between the IRS and outside Democratic super PACs about tea party groups.
Seems kind of weird that documents for a non-scandals would “languish” in government limbo if there was only innocuous drivel behind the curtain.
Perhaps Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy has it right:
“I’m concerned the growing trend toward relying upon FOIA exemptions to withhold large swaths of government information is hindering the public’s right to know,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “It becomes too much of a temptation. If you screw up in government, just mark it `top secret.'”
Ouch. First the Associated Press, and now a U.S. senator from the White House’s own party admits that public’s right to know is being hindered. Unfortunately, most people aren’t too excited about covering or reading about yet another big broken promise because it’s uncomfortable to own up and say, “I was duped.”
When the president literally said he believed his election would mark the moment in time when the rising oceans began to recede, millions of people actually believed him. They put their faith in a single charismatic young man whose appeal was largely contingent upon his soaring vagueness, and now that the scary specifics have been filled in they sit silent.
Question: How weird is it going to be when Harry Reid accuses Patrick Leahy and the Associated Press of being in the Koch brother’s pockets?