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.