Obama's secretive nature, lack of transparency and autocratic style are real issues, especially since he attacked Bush for a perceived lack of openness. Aside from the obvious hypocrisy, these impact on how he does business and directly affect the nation. From the LA Times:
Originally Posted by PoliCon
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An Obama secret: They're rejecting more Freedom of Information requests than those secretive Bush folks
Comments (11) (265)(0)March 16, 2010 | 5:10 pm
Here's a not-so-tiny tidbit of data that's getting lost in the White House-driven public frenzy over healthcare legislation this week:
The White House Democratic administration of Barack Obama, who denounced his presidential predecessor George W. Bush as the most secretive in history, is now denying more Freedom of Information Act requests than the Republican did.
Transparency and openness were deemed so important to the new president that on his first full day in office last year he dispatched a memo to all federal agencies saying:
Transparency and openness were so important to the new president that on his first full day in office last year, he dispatched a much-publicized memo throughout the federal government saying:
All agencies should adopt a presumption in favor of disclosure, in order to renew their commitment to the principles embodied in FOIA, and to usher in a new era of open Government. The presumption of disclosure should be applied to all decisions involving FOIA.
That was the same day he issued an executive order promising to shut the Guantanamo Bay detention facility by the end of calendar 2009, which hasn't happened yet either.
One of the exemptions allowed to deny Freedom of Information requests has been
...used by the Obama administration 70,779 times in its first year, while the same exemption was used 47,395 times in Bush's final budget year.
An Associated Press examination of 17 major agencies' handling of FOIA requests found denials 466,872 times, an increase of nearly 50% from the 2008 fiscal year under Bush.
As the thorough Ed Morrissey points out over here, during a time of war and terrorist threats, any government can justify not releasing some sensitive information. And true, Obama's always been a legislator, not an executive.
But why despite advance warnings about the realities of governing make such a big campaign deal over a previous administration's secrecy (not to mention Guantanamo) when you're going to end up being even more secretive?
And invite inevitable charges of hypocrisy and even more empty campaign promises?
Today to mark annual Sunshine Week, designed to promote openness in government, Obama applauded himself by issuing a statement:
As Sunshine Week begins, I want to applaud everyone who has worked to increase transparency in government and recommit my administration to be the most open and transparent ever, an effort that will strengthen our democracy and ensure the publicís trust in their government.
However, a new study out Monday by George Washington University's National Security Archive finds less than one-third of the 90 federal agencies who process such FOIA requests have made significant changes in their procedures since Obama's 2009 memo.
So, today in response, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel did what federal government chiefs of staff do: He sent out yet another memo. Since the agencies ignored the memo from the real president of the United States, they'll probably all snap to when the Obama staffer's note arrives, don't you think?.
Here's another recent example, this time, related to campaign finances, another area where Obama has taken a holier-than-thou position and then sinned, so to speak:
April 19, 2011 8:32 PM
Obama Campaign won't reveal fundraising numbers
Posted by Mark Knoller 23 comments 0diggsdigg Share E-mail Print Font
Pres. Obama's re-election campaign won't be disclosing how much money is taken in at the individual fundraising events attended by Pres. Obama. Neither will the Democratic National Committee.
An official says it's the same policy by which the Obama Campaign operated in the 2008 election cycle.
Fundraising numbers have to be filed with the Federal Election Commission, but often not until weeks later - and the FEC documents don't itemize amounts raised at specific fundraising events.
The Obama Campaign is not the first to adopt such a policy, although Pres. Bush's re-election operation in 2004 freely disclosed how much money was taken in at individual events.
The Obama Campaign thinks the release of such information might be akin to divulging strategic political information that opponents could use to discern levels of support.
Obama heads to Chicago for first fundraisers for his 2012 campaign
Pres. Obama often trumpets that his White House is more transparent and open than any other. But it's clear he does not apply that approach to his political fund-raising.
The president attended three fundraisers last Thursday in Chicago. His political operation revealed the price range of tickets, from $100 to $35,800 per person, and also disclosed the number of people in attendance. But it declined to provide an official estimate of how much money would be raised. Reporters could try to estimate the amounts.
Pres. Obama heads west Wednesday on a three-day trip to California and Nevada during which he'll be attending six fundraising events for his re-election.