The political appointees were allowed to vet records requests that were deemed politically sensitive and require career employees to provide them with information about who requested records — for example, where the requester lived and worked, whether the requester was a private citizen or journalist and, in the case of congressional representatives, whether they were Republican or Democrat.
And in another wholly unrelated coincidence, DHS reportedly stopped this practice right around the time that it handed over its internal e-mails to the AP.
The DHS issued a directive to employees in July 2009 requiring a wide range of public records requests to pass through political appointees for vetting. These included any requests dealing with a “controversial or sensitive subject” or pertaining to meetings involving prominent business leaders and elected officials. Requests from lawmakers, journalists, and activist and watchdog groups were also placed under this scrutiny. ...The e-mails obtained by the AP... reveal that political appointees were less interested in vetting record requests for these reasons than for determining — based on the kinds of requests coming in — what areas might cause the government trouble in terms of scrutiny. Knowing what records journalists were requesting might help the administration prepare a response in anticipation of a news story. For example, the e-mails show concern about making sure the department didn’t release information about Obama’s father without coordinating with the White House first.
And once again, the White House claims to be out of the loop. For the second time this week, we've seen the White House evade connections between itself and Obama's own cabinet agencies. E-mails reportedly went from Homeland Security to the White House so the press shop had time to prepare remarks before a news story broke, but still the White House says they knew nothing about this??The Office of Inspector General is now looking into the matter to determine if there is any evidence of wrongdoing, according to the news service. The White House says it was not involved in creating the DHS directive.
You cannot pretend that a poll of all adults and a poll filtered by registered voters are part of the same series, even if the same questions are asked. That’s Polling 101, and whoever’s responsible for the Gallup release should have known this, and certainly whoever’s responsible for oversight of the Gallup releases would know this.
As the old saying goes: Trust in God and keep your powder dry.
Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday he wasn’t ready to make a final call on what legislation he’ll take to the floor before next month’s summer break. The Nevada Democrat said he will convene a special caucus on Thursday to go over his options, including a bill that caps carbon emissions from power plants, measures to respond to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and a national renewable electricity standard.
Reid had been aiming to release the energy and climate legislation ahead of a floor debate next week, but that schedule appears to be in jeopardy now because of difficulty in finding 60 votes on the carbon pricing piece and the utility industry’s pleadings for more time.
Still, Kerry on Wednesday said he wasn’t ready to rule out action next week. “I don’t even think that is out of the question,” he said. “We have to see where we are on utilities and we have to see where Harry wants to land.”
Increased guarantees for loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, the Government National Mortgage Association and the Veterans administration increased the government's commitments by $512.4 billion alone in the year to June 30, according to the report.
"Indeed, the current outstanding balance of overall Federal support for the nation's financial system...has actually increased more than 23% over the past year, from approximately $3.0 trillion to $3.7 trillion -- the equivalent of a fully deployed TARP program -- largely without congressional action, even as the banking crisis has, by most measures, abated from its most acute phases," the TARP inspector general, Neil Barofsky, wrote in the report.
What a loaded statement. The bank crisis has, "by most measures" resolved itself, yet the amount of money the government is pouring down the drain continues to increase. Meanwhile, Congress apparently isn't even holding the purse strings. How's that for accountability and transparency?!
The report provoked swift criticism of Obama administration housing policies from U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican who has taken every opportunity to blast the Treasury's handling of financial bailout programs.
"The fact that the Obama administration is treating TARP like its own personal slush-fund is beyond egregious and a complete betrayal of what the American people were told would be then when their tax-dollars were used to bailout Wall Street," Issa said in a statement, adding that the housing efforts were "dumping good money after bad".
A year after President Barack Obama's political honeymoon ended, his job approval rating has dropped to a negative 44 - 48 percent, his worst net score ever, and American voters say by a narrow 39 - 36 percent margin that they would vote for an unnamed Republican rather than President Obama in 2012, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.Interesting--the "anyone but Bush/Republicans" syndrome which propelled Obama into office is quickly turning into an "anyone but Obama" backlash.
This compares to a 48 - 43 percent approval for Obama in a May 26 national poll by the independent Quinnipiac University and a 57 - 33 percent approval last July, just before the political firestorm created by opposition to his health care plan galvanized political opponents and turned independent voters against him.
In this latest survey of more than 2,000 voters, independent voters disapprove of Obama 52 - 38 percent and say 37 - 27 percent they would vote for a Republican contender in 2012.
American voters also say 48 - 40 percent Obama does not deserve reelection in 2012.
My relationship with the RNC is a little like Al Pacino’s famous line in Godfather III, except in reverse: Just when I thought I was in, they push me back out.What do you think? Time to clean house?
An overflow crowd packed a City Council meeting in Bell, a mostly Hispanic city of 38,000 about 10 miles (16 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles, to call for the resignation of Mayor Oscar Hernandez and other city officials. Residents left standing outside the chamber banged on the doors and shouted “fuera,” or “get out” in Spanish.
It was the first council meeting since the Los Angeles Times reported July 15 that Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo earns $787,637 -- with annual 12 percent raises -- and that Bell pays its police chief $457,000, more than Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck makes in a city of 3.8 million people. Bell council members earn almost $100,000 for part-time work.
It's so utterly ridiculous: you have people in Bell making $30,000 and paying taxes so that their own government officials can make ten times that much. Luckily, people are standing up. One resident founded the Bell Association to Stop the Abuse, a group now calling for an independent audit of city salaries and contracts.
Hopefully the upswing in public engagement and interest in accountability will make a real difference in Bell--and in communities like it all across the country.
Fired IRS Commissioner: I Promoted Sarah Ingram To Head Obamacare: "We Provided Horrible Customer Service" | Greg Hengler