Last year, during the ObamaCare debate, the White House held a number of closed-door meetings with union leaders and a variety of other outside interest groups. The President’s many promises of transparency notwithstanding, neither the press nor the public were permitted to attend.

So, the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to Nancy-Ann DeParle, who until recently ran the White House Office for Health Reform, requesting records of those meetings including dates, names, minutes, transcripts, etc. The White House, however, refuses to produce them:

The White House has rejected a request from the House Energy and Commerce committee for information about ‘every meeting, briefing or telephone call’ the administration had with non-governmental parties in the lead up to, and wake of, passage of the health care law.

Why? Well, all that transparency stuff is just too much work:

To provide all possible information encompassed by your request…would constitute a vast and expensive undertaking … To the extent you are also seeking documents reflecting internal deliberations and communications, it also would implicate longstanding Executive Branch confidentiality interests.

Sound familiar? It should. This is more or less how the Bush White House responded to initial questions from Congress about Dick Cheney’s meetings with oil industry executives during the formulation of that administration’s energy policy. And that response was denounced by then Senator Obama:

When big oil companies are invited into the White House for secret energy meetings, it’s no wonder they end up with billions in tax breaks while Americans still struggle to fill up their gas tanks and heat their homes.

And it would seem that, when big unions are invited to the White House for secret health care meetings, they get ObamaCare waivers while most Americans struggle to pay their skyrocketing health care costs. But I guess the Energy and Commerce Committee will have to issue subpoenas to get the facts.

Oh, by the way, when Obama made the above-quoted statement, a gallon of gas was about a dollar cheaper than it is today.

Comments 4

  1. nyp wrote:

    The Democrats asked the Bush Administration to disclose the names of the participants in Dick Cheney’s Energy Task Force. (The same type of information that the White House provided to the Republicans this week about healthcare.) They did not demand, as the Republicans have demanded this year, every single document, email, phone call record, personal note created by any member of the Administration in the course of its deliberations and discussions with constituencies affected by a complicated policy process.

    Posted 08 Mar 2011 at 6:06 am
  2. Brian wrote:

    Hmmm. Wasn’t Obama going to run a transparent White House too? It would seem that was just another lie just like closing Gitmo.

    Posted 08 Mar 2011 at 7:02 pm
  3. Nyp wrote:

    In contrast to wwhis predecessor, every white house meeting with an outside party is publicly disclosed and posted on the Internet. That seems pretty transparent to me. Transparency doesn’t mean the executive branch has to surrender legitimate executive privileges or allow wing nut congressmen to smother the workingsnofmthe executive branch with a blizzard of frivolous document demands.

    Posted 09 Mar 2011 at 12:53 am
  4. Robert wrote:

    “wing nut congressmen” stay classy NYP.

    Calling people names with whom you disagree with doesn’t bode well for your overall statements or arguments it sounds very playground like.

    But it was supposed to be different:
    “My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government.” http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/TransparencyandOpenGovernment/

    Defending Obama by citing previous use of “executive privilege” doesn’t quite jive with creating “an unprecedented level of openness.”

    Posted 10 Mar 2011 at 12:22 am

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