Now for some real transparency

Barack Obama promised transparency: that bills would be posted for review by Americans; that negotiations over the health care bill would be broadcast on CSPAN. Politics would be changed forever and the old ways of Washington would be over. we all know by now those promises were all thrown under the bus. The Obama team has hidden much of what they have been up to over the last two years. They have been criticized from right and left; they could ignore criticism as long as Democratic allies held sway in Congress.

Now their allies are about to head home (or to K Street) and we might finally be on the verge of Republicans being able to provide the transparency candidate Obama promised.

From the non-partisan The Hill:


The Obama administration's transparency and accounting methods have been publicly lambasted on a range of issues over the last couple of months.

In a report issued last month, Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), suggested the administration was playing accounting games to make it look like the government was regaining more money from TARP than it actually was...

Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) quietly approved 30 waivers to companies that were considering dropping their healthcare coverage. The waivers enabled them to dodge a key mandate in the healthcare law President Obama signed earlier this year.

The decision, which was buried on HHS's website and not announced in a press release, was excoriated by both liberals and conservatives.

In September, White House Health Reform Director Nancy-Ann DeParle stated on the White House blog that the new healthcare law "will make healthcare more affordable for Americans."

But Richard Foster, Medicare's nonpartisan chief actuary, disputed that assertion. At the time, he said, "The amounts quoted in the White House blog are not meaningful..."

The administration has also stonewalled Congressional and media efforts regarding the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case and the role of officials at the Department of Justice in deep-sixing this case. Allegations of a cover-up have been made. Representative Frank Wolf has been focused on this issue.

The bad news for the Obama team? When he was in a minority he was only able to bring a bit of pressure on the Department of Justice. In the majority, he will become chairman of the committee that oversees the budget of the Department of Justice. I think he will have a bit more leverage to pry open the department and get the facts released.

Congressman Lamar Smith, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee and a critic of the Department of Justice, will also have a field day as he pushes for more disclosure regarding the Department's approach towards the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (the infamous ACORN) as well as the New Black Panther Party case.

There is a lot of cleaning up to do after the damage that Obama and his team have wrought. Also, there will be disclosures of waste and fraud in the giant stimulus program. Will there also be revelations of patronage and political favoritism-courtesy of our taxpayer dollars?

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis wrote that "sunlight is the best disinfectant."

Let the sunshine in.

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