January 21, 2009:
"The way to make government responsible is to hold it accountable. The way to make government accountable is to make it transparent, so the American people can know exactly what decisions are being made, how they're being well made, and whether their interests are being well served...For a long time now, there's been too much secrecy in this city. The old rules said that if there was a defensible argument for not disclosing something to the American people, then it should not be disclosed. That era is now over, starting today."
That was then. This is now:
The IRS is missing emails. The EPA is missing emails. What's the latest agency to pull the "the dog ate my homework" card? An executive at the Department of Health and Human Services, Marilyn Tavenner, is claiming emails requested by the House Oversight Committee as part of an ongoing investigation into the Obamacare exchange and Healthcare.gov rollout, have been destroyed. The claim came around 5 p.m. Thursday. These same emails were subpoenaed 10 months ago by Congressional investigators.
A government website intended to make federal spending more transparent was missing at least $619 billion from 302 federal programs, a government audit has found. And the data that does exist is wildly inaccurate, according to the Government Accountability Office, which looked at 2012 spending data. Only 2% to 7% of spending data on USAspending.gov is "fully consistent with agencies' records," according to the report.
Independent watchdogs of dozens of federal agencies decried on Tuesday what they said were Obama administration efforts to delay or stall their investigations. A letter to Congress from a broad cross-section of inspectors general cites specific instances in which watchdogs for the Justice Department, Environmental Protection Agency and the Peace Corps said they were denied timely access to documents and other information while doing their investigations. The letter says other inspectors general have faced similar obstacles, and that congressional action may be needed to ensure cooperation from government agencies. "Refusing, restricting, or delaying an Inspector General's access to documents leads to incomplete, inaccurate, or significantly delayed findings or recommendations, which in turn may prevent the agency from promptly correcting serious problems and deprive Congress of timely information regarding the agency's performance," the letter states.
Journalists have accused the Obama White House of running the most secretive administration since Nixon. Last month, a coalition of 38 journalism groups slammed the White House for its "politically-driven suppression of the news." The list goes on, and on, and on, and on...
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography