Donald Lambro

Then there was a troubling report from the U.S. Labor Department's Inspector General who charged that the Job Corps has badly mismanaged its budgeting operations by allowing program costs to rise far above its appropriations. The IG said out-of-control spending led to $60 million in red ink.

The Job Corps has been one of Obama's pet agencies over the course of his presidency as the White House has sought to boost its budget in the midst of persistently high unemployment over the past four and a half years.

The IG's report "sheds new light on the persistent failure to adequately budget, plan and monitor costs," said Sen. Robert Casey Jr., Pennsylvania Democrat, who asked for the audit. Jane Oates, the department official who headed the Job Corps when the budget deficit occurred, resigned last month.

More recently, a lengthy investigation by the Associated Press revealed Tuesday that a number of appointees in the Obama administration have been using "secret e-mail accounts" that raised suspicions they may be attempting to circumvent future investigations or public inquiries.

"The secret e-mail accounts complicate an agency's legal responsibilities to find and turn over e-mails in response to congressional or internal investigations, civil lawsuits or public records requests because employees assigned to compile such responses would necessarily need to know about the accounts to search them," the AP news wire service said. "Secret accounts also drive perceptions that government officials are trying to hide actions or decisions.”

One of the administration's top Cabinet officials using a secret government e-mail account is Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius who has been in the thick of Obama's continuing controversies and legal fights over his health care law.

How secret is Sebelius's off-the-books e-mail account? Google, the global search engine, said it could not find any reference on the Internet to her e-mail address.

Bear in mind, this is a tightly closed administration that zealously guards its secrets to the point where the Justice Department has secretly seized and searched the phone records of Washington journalists and the e-mails of a Fox News reporter -- another scandal that has triggered a rash of investigative hearings in the House and Senate.

Part of that widening investigation centers on Attorney General Eric Holder's sworn testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on May 15 when he said he was not involved in the "potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material."

"This is not something I've ever been involved in, heard of, [or] would think would be wise policy," Holder said.

News accounts have reported that Holder signed off on the decision to obtain the Fox News reporter's e-mails and Republicans are looking into whether he lied under oath when he made that statement.

These investigations -- plus ongoing inquiries into the administration's misinformation about the deadly terrorist attacks at our consulate in Benghazi, where four Americans were killed, including the ambassador -- casts a darkening cloud of scandal and possibly criminal activity over Obama's second term.

Sen. John McCain says Obama has become "mired" in a swamp of scandals and that "the president's credibility obviously is at stake here."

The Gallup Poll said Monday that Obama's job approval score has sunk to 47 percent, a 12 month low, and, lately, the West Wing is increasingly sounding like it's coming unglued.

As McCain observed Monday on CBS's "This Morning" in a delicious bit of understatement, administration officials are "not covering themselves with distinction here."


Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.



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