Free Markets, Free People

The most transparent administration in history … not

The Obama White House has quietly rewritten a portion of the Freedom Of Information Act to exclude what it calls “White House equities” from being released without a White House review.  The rewrite was inspired by a 2009 memo by then White House counsel, Greg Craig:

The Greg memo is described in detail in a new study made public today by Cause of Action, a Washington-based nonprofit watchdog group that monitors government transparency and accountability.

How serious an attack on the public’s right to know is the Obama administration’s invention of the “White House equities” exception?

“FOIA is designed to inform the public on government behavior; White House equities allow the government to withhold information from the media, and therefore the public, by having media requests forwarded for review. This not only politicizes federal agencies, it impairs fundamental First Amendment liberties,” Cause of Action explains in its report.

The equities exception is breathtaking in its breadth. As the Greg memo put it, any document request is covered, including “congressional committee requests, GAO requests, judicial subpoenas and FOIA requests.”

And it doesn’t matter what format the documents happen to be in because, according to Greg, the equities exception “applies to all documents and records, whether in oral, paper, or electronic form, that relate to communications to and from the White House, including preparations for such communications.”

What this effectively does is stop federal agencies from answering FOIA requests which might include “White House equities” within the 20 days required by law.  There is no apparent limit to the review time the White House can take with its “review” of such requests.  Since the White House gets to decide what are “White House equities” and how long it will take to review requests which include them, the change effectively neuters the intent of the FOIA law.  This gives the White House the ability to delay release of such information until it is politically beneficial for them to do so (or, in reality, not at all):

In one case cited by Cause of Action, the response to a request from a Los Angeles Times reporter to the Department of the Interior for “communications between the White House and high-ranking Interior officials on various politically sensitive topics” was delayed at least two years by the equities review.

And that isn’t the only department in which such delays have become common:

“Cause of Action is still waiting for documents from 16 federal agencies, with the Department of Treasury having the longest pending request of 202 business days.

“The Department of Energy is a close second at 169 business days. The requests to the Department of Defense and Department of Health and Human Services have been pending for 138 business days,” the report said.

This is what political subversion looks like.  It is also a fairly common example of this administration saying one thing and actually doing the opposite.

Most transparent administration ever.  Another lie worthy of 4 Pinocchios.


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17 Responses to The most transparent administration in history … not

  • Transparent – they keep using that word…..I do not think it means etc….

    • It is transparent to the administration.  They know what is going on and know what you need to know.  Think of it as freedom.  You don’t have to worry about what government is doing because the Obama admin is doing that worrying for you!

  • There was a piece about 3 weeks ago about how the Obama Administration has been flooding the PR channels with releases of useless information in an effort to choke the resources of those trying to monitor the administration.
    This made them uselessly transparent.

  • It’s all good though, we know what difficult choices he made in his NCAA bracket picks and THAT’S information that needs to be public.
    He’s not a President, turns out he’s a Kardashian, which, if you think about it really, explains a lot about the last 6 years or so.

  • …the Obama administration’s invention of the “White House equities” exception…
    There is no such thing.  There is only the ASSERTION of any such thing.  It is simply a way to stick Obama’s thumb in the eye of the people, and try to slow-walk conformity with the law until AFTER the Obamic Decline.

  • NASA….some agency that I think used to do stuff like putting men in space on a useful basis, is paying for studies on the fall of western civilization.   Which it turns out, will occur because I’m not sharing my Raising Caine’s chicken fingers with the less fortunate when I have lunch and I’m driving 10 miles to work every day in an automobile instead of making broomsticks on the threshhold of my mud and thatch hovel.
    Failure to distribute WEALTH is going to cause the fall of Western Civilization?   REALLY?
    And here I thought NASA was tasked with Muslim outreach.

    • Mission creep.  Plus, look up Conquest’s Second Law.

    • They had DOD doing women’s breast cancer studies

    • Perhaps their claim will be if we give them more money to mine the….moon…. we won’t run out of resources.   Course THAT idea is just silly, imagine thinking we could develop the technology and get resources from off planet if we invested the resource effort now!   Besides that might result in Fatwas being issued against men (and women) living (together….and talking maybe, even….) on the moon.
      Muslim outreach is way cheaper and besides food stamps, health care, climate change (racists!), studies on what causes nations to decline, cheaper.    What we need to do is ensure we’ve anchored our available resources, destroyed chances that new businesses will form to discover and acquire or process new resources, and make damn sure that we don’t progress to guarantee that we DO run out of what we’ve got sooner rather than later to enable the fall of Western Civilization.  Which is way too advanced for the 12th century life style we should all be living anyway.   And of course the REST of the west will go gentle into that good night WITH us.
      I suppose it’s just a coincidence that NASA would come out with a study like this around the same time Baracka the magnificent is focusing on making sure wealth is more evenly distributed in the US.
      Okay, I’ve figured out how they got there.   It’s not really a warning study, it’s a road map to get us there study.

  • Don’t worry. The public and press will clamor to fix this……when the next GOP Pres. Is in office

  • Twenty-eight of the Democrats’ [FOIA] requests have been completed. Most resulted in the EPA release of documents with some reports that a search yielded no records. The other requests are being processed or await assignment. Republican political committees have filed just four requests since 2012, and none of those has been fulfilled. One request that has languished for more than two years sought correspondence between John F. Kerry, a senator at the time, and EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.
    I bet that last one involved “White House equities”

  • Heh – transparent press conferences too.
    Where you get the questions before hand, then you answer them before hand, then you distribute the answers beforehand.   It’s all done to help the reporters you see……
    This was off the record though….which probably meant she shouldn’t have told anyone about it, but hey….I wonder if they’ll suddenly decide she needs to find a new venue for her reporting.

    • hah – yes it WAS off the record, maybe she’ll get a note from the IRS, maybe the EPA will take a look at her property to see if she’s sequestering rain water that is rightfully the property of the state, maybe “someone” will dig up some sealed court records, or capture some selfies off her cell phone or computer.
      How dare she tell us what’s happening behind the curtain.   Do NOT arouse the wrath of the great and powerful OZ!!!!

      • And finally, the retraction.…course she was wrong!  Jake Trapper doesn’t do that!  That means it never happens….and besides it was off the record…..which IS the way this administration likes most everything anyway,
        Before her first story gets lost in the record, she originally specified, it wasn’t for “breaking news”…. I’m sure they’re berry berry careful who they call on during “breaking news” stories.

        ‘And this was off-the-record,’ she reported, ‘so we were able to ask him all about some of the preparation that he does on a regular basis for talking to the press in his daily press briefings. He showed us a very long list of items that he has to be well-versed on every single day.’

        ‘And then he also mentioned that a lot of times,’ Anaya added, ‘unless it’s something breaking, the questions that the reporters actually ask – or the correspondents – they are provided to him in advance.’

        I believe her first version of the story, call it confirmation bias if you will, because if there was ever a duck I expected to quack, it’s this quacking administration.

  • This has been said before countless times in countless ways, but imagine if the Bush Administration had sweepingly negated the FOIA like this?