Secrecy

Putting a Partisan Legal Advocate in Charge of White House Transparency

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What was this pledge worth? A pile of [rhymes with Suki]

Do click on the link that Jesse Walker highlighted below about President Obama re-assigning his ethics czar to Shirley Temple Black's old job as U.S. ambassador to Prague. It's a Timothy P. Carney column, and as such it will make you want to throw a brick through an opaque window:

President Obama has abolished the position in his White House dedicated to transparency and shunted those duties into the portfolio of a partisan ex-lobbyist who is openly antagonistic to the notion of disclosure by government and politicians.

Obama transferred "ethics czar" Norm Eisen to the Czech Republic to serve as U.S. ambassador. Some of Eisen's duties will be handed to Domestic Policy Council member Steven Croley, but most of them, it appears, will shift over to the already-full docket of White House Counsel Bob Bauer.

Bauer is renowned as a "lawyer's lawyer" and a legal expert. His resume, however, reads more "partisan advocate" than "good-government crusader." Bauer came to the White House from the law firm Perkins Coie, where he represented John Kerry in 2004 and Obama during his campaign.

Bauer has served as the top lawyer for the Democratic National Committee, which is the most prolific fundraising entity in the country. Then-Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., the caricature of a cutthroat Chicago political fixer, hired Bauer to represent the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. […]

Bauer's own words—gathered by the diligent folks at the Sunlight Foundation—show disdain for openness and far greater belief in the good intentions of those in power than of those trying to check the powerful.

And so on and so forth.

Obama, who came into office promising the bestest ever transparency (including signing the Reason Foundation's Oath of Presidential Transparency [PDF]) has been a disappointment on that front. A partial sampling of Reason linkage detailing how:

TRUE STORY: A great pal o' mine was in a mid-'80s New Waveoid SoCal band called "Opaque Window." And one of their biggest hits was…"Lucid Transparencies"! Also, two of the band members went to Obama's college (Occidental), and one now works for the New York Post. COINCIDENCE???

* "Obama Punts His First State Secrets Case," Radley Balko, February 2009

* "What Is a Day in Obama's Eyes?" Jacob Sullum, March 2009

* "Obama Whiffs on Transparency," Radley Balko, April 2009

* "Seeing Is Believing," Veronique de Rugy and Eileen Norcross, May 2009

* "Putting the 'Spare' in Transparency," Matt Welch, May 2009

* "Transparency 0, Terrible Burdens of Wielding Enormous Power 1," Matt Welch, May 2009

* "Obama Keeping Promises That Grow Government; Abandoning Promises That Hold It Accountable," Radley Balko, June 2009

* "Obama Blocks Access to White House Logs," Radley Balko, June 2009

* "Transparency Failure," Katherine Mangu-Ward, July 2009

* "Transparency Not Needed for TARP Funds After All," Amanda Carey, July 2009

* "Government Openness Meeting: Closed to the Media and Public," Brian Doherty, December 2009

* "Supreme Court Extends Obama Administration's Prisoner-Abuse Secrecy," Matt Welch, December 2009

* "Live C-SPAN Coverage vs. Pass Now, Explain Later," Jacob Sullum, January 2010

* "The New Transparency," Jacob Sullum, January 2010

* "Government Backslides on Agriculture-Subsidies Transparency," Matt Welch, May 2010