The most transparent administration in history is having a little trouble with its transparency, down to refusing to show up to explain itself to pesky congressional committees. Spectator alum Phil Klein reports:
The Republican-led House Energy and Commerce’s subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations is holding a hearing on the Obama White House’s lack of transparency, but the White House did not send any representatives to testify, despite a GOP request…
Republicans on the committee highlighted reports that lobbyists started deregistering from the official lobbying disclosure system in 2008 as Obama spoke of not allowing them to hold positions in the White House, and the deregistration rate spiked in 2009 once Obama announced the policy. Meanwhile, the committee said, that “White House staff have purposely and repeatedly circumvented … visitor logs by meeting with lobbyists at Caribou Coffee and other locations outside of the White House.”
Subcommittee chairman Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., also noted that the Obama administration granted 32 waivers from the lobbying ban.
One of the witnesses, Anne Weismann, is the chief counsel of the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a transparency group that had to sue to the Obama administration to get it to release visitor logs that are supposed to be released under the Freedom of Information Act.
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) argued that the White House was a no-show because the Republicans gave them only six days notice and wouldn’t reschedule the hearing. But sources have told me this kind of behavior is routine, not limited to one isolated example or single scheduling conflict.