What better way to celebrate (a) DHS being forced to explain why it stalled on FOIA requests, (b) the White House telling Congress to get bent on the War Powers Act, and (c) a media cycle dominated by Encyclopedia Trump and the case of the missing birth certificate than with an award for transparency and accountability — presented secretly?
Coming next week: A beach cookout in honor of fiscal responsibility, featuring a bonfire of thousand-dollar bills.
The secret presentation happened almost two weeks after the White House inexplicably postponed the ceremony, which was expected to be open to the press pool.
This time, Obama met quietly in the Oval Office with Gary Bass of OMB Watch, Tom Blanton of the National Security Archive, Danielle Brian of the Project on Government Oversight, Lucy Dalglish of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and Patrice McDermott of OpenTheGovernment.org, without disclosing the meeting on his public schedule or letting photographers or print reporters into the room.
“Our understanding going into the meeting was that it would have a pool photographer and a print reporter, and it turned out to be a private meeting,” Bass told POLITICO. “He was so on point, so on target in the conversation with us, it is baffling why he would not want that message to be more broadly heard by reporters and the public interest community and the public generally.”
One attendee at the presentation told Politico after the event that the award, much like The One’s Nobel, was “aspirational,” nudging him to stay on the path towards greater transparency. Then a bunch of guys from Biden’s staff grabbed him and shoved him into a storage room with instructions not to come out until they said so. No no, I kid. Or do I?
Here’s a fun clip from the day after his inauguration in 2009. “Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency,” he says, presumably before lighting a copy of the War Powers Act on fire and laughing.