Report card: Most transparent administration ever receives a C- in transparency

posted at 3:05 pm on March 19, 2012 by Tina Korbe

The day after President Barack Obama took office, he circulated a memo to his executive agencies that urged administration officials to “adopt a presumption in favor of disclosure.”

“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency,” Obama said at the time.

Since then, the administration has touted its various “open government initiatives,” its attempts to make an unprecedented amount of information about government happenings available to the public. The White House visitor log, lobbying reports, campaign finance filings — all are available to the public online.

But transparency is as much about what kind of information the government releases as about how much. If the public has no need of the information the administration releases but has great need for information the administration withholds, the government can’t claim to be “transparent.” This administration is opaque in precisely that way. While any data literate individual can synthesize the entries on a host of White House logs, congressional investigators are unable to get to the bottom of important cases like Fast and Furious. The administration frequently ignores Freedom of Information Act requests. They’ve used the Espionage Act of 1917 an unprecedented number of times to prosecute whistleblowers. (The Espionage Act was intended to be used to prosecute government officials who give sensitive information to foreign governments.)

It’s no wonder, then, that the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform sees a need for a hearing to investigate Obama’s three-year-old pledge to be the most transparent administration ever. That hearing will take place Wednesday.

It’s also no wonder that the same House Committee recently issued a report that gave the administration a grade of C- on transparency. That grade was actually probably generous, inflated by the good work of small agencies. Several major cabinet-level agencies received failing grades, and the Department of Justice received a D.

CNSNews.com reports that this isn’t the first time the Obama administration has been singled out for its hypocrisy on transparency:

The House report comes the same week the Justice Department sought to make a new category of documents exempt from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and a month after an open government group that is part of George Washington University issued a stinging report on the secretiveness of the Obama Justice Department.

In February, the National Security Archive, the GWU group made up of scholars and journalists advocating for transparency, announced the “Rosemary Award for Worst Open Government Performance in 2011” goes to the Justice Department under Attorney General Eric Holder. The “award” is named for Rosemary Wood, the secretary in the Nixon White House who helped obstruct the Watergate investigation.

It’s evident that the administration would rather bear the brunt of criticism for a lack of transparency than actually release the information investigators want and need. Consider this, for example:

“One set of logs produced by the DOJ is through its main FOIA office, the Office of Information policy (OIP). In five years, OIP received 1,843 FOIA requests. Of those 1,843 requests, only 253 received either full or partial grants of records,” the report continues. “There were 517 requests still pending, and 61 requests denied in full. The remaining requests were closed for numerous legal reasons, usually listed as ‘other’ in the logs.”

With an election on the horizon, expect to see the Obama administration remain as protective of information as ever. Again, they’d rather risk the appearance of hypocrisy than release any information that could jeopardize Obama’s reelection.


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Of course, he’ll still curve this grade up to a B+.

teke184 on March 19, 2012 at 3:07 PM

C minus????? Talk about grade inflation.

Bitter Clinger on March 19, 2012 at 3:08 PM

I would give the whole blooming bho and bunch a big fat ‘F’! But that is just me.
L

letget on March 19, 2012 at 3:09 PM

Just remember we’re quickly coming up on the One-year anniversary where President Downgrade admitted to knowing about the Walkergate scandal and promised to go after the perps on it.

I wonder how that is working out?

Chip on March 19, 2012 at 3:10 PM

I don’t understand why Bush is forcing Obama to behave this way.

Kataklysmic on March 19, 2012 at 3:10 PM

Hypocrites practicing hypocrisy. Amazing and shocking.

I can’t wait to wake up from this nightmare, but I fear no matter who wins it’ll be tantamount to rolling over in bed and having a fresh course of nightmares based on the crap candidates in play.

Wolfmoon on March 19, 2012 at 3:10 PM

Affirmative action could move that up to an A-.

derecho on March 19, 2012 at 3:10 PM

Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency

a touch stone refers to any physical or intellectual measure by which the validity or merit of a concept can be tested. It is similar to and acid or litmus test. Obviously, both transparency and the rule of law have not been upheld–hence the failing grades. These people are liars–instead of transparently revealing information regarding decisions, people involved, specific goals and objectives in Operation Fast & Furious, these people have lied, covered up, delayed and violated the law. Their words will convict them and eventually, a jury may do the same.

ted c on March 19, 2012 at 3:11 PM

btw, my producer whispered the “touchstone” info into my earpiece….from wikipedia, of course.

ted c on March 19, 2012 at 3:12 PM

I was wondering what’s wrong with HCOGR on the admin’s grade but I forgot there are Dims on that committee so when you figure in their A-pluses with the Repubs F-double-minuses, then you average to a C-minus.

stukinIL4now on March 19, 2012 at 3:12 PM

The rest of the media, spiking this story in 3…2…1.

This will be reported the same way all the rest of the polls that, shall I say were less than helpful for the syndicate, were reported…it won’t be.

Nothing to see here, go back to sleep America.

Meople on March 19, 2012 at 3:13 PM

In February, the National Security Archive, the GWU group made up of scholars and journalists advocating for transparency, announced the “Rosemary Award for Worst Open Government Performance in 2011” goes to the Justice Department under Attorney General Eric Holder. The “award” is named for Rosemary Wood, the secretary in the Nixon White House who helped obstruct the Watergate investigation.

Under Holder, it’s become the Department of Injustice

Bitter Clinger on March 19, 2012 at 3:14 PM

Over One year ago:

March 7, 2011
White House: No comment on ATF gun-walking controversy

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20040189-503544.html

CBS News chief White House correspondent Chip Reid: “Do you have any comment on the story and on these developments today?”

Carney: “I don’t. Obviously, as the president pointed out when he spoke here with President Calderon, we take the issue of the flow of guns south very seriously, as we do the issue of the flow of drugs north. And — but beyond that, I don’t have any comment.”

Reid: “Is he aware of this specific allegation…”

Carney: “I don’t know.”

Reid: “… that hundreds of guns went into Mexico with the knowledge of ATF?”

Carney: “I don’t know.”

March 23, 2011
Obama on “gunwalking”: Serious mistake may have been made
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31727_162-20046151-10391695.html?tag=cbsnewsMainColumnArea

“There may be a situation here which a serious mistake was made and if that’s the case then we’ll find out and well hold somebody accountable,” he added.

Chip on March 19, 2012 at 3:14 PM

he rest of the media, spiking this story in 3…2…1.

This will be reported the same way all the rest of the polls that, shall I say were less than helpful for the syndicate, were reported…it won’t be.

Nothing to see here, go back to sleep America.

Meople on March 19, 2012 at 3:13 PM

The media(d) will report any grade above an F as an improvement over Bush. Truthful or not.

Wolfmoon on March 19, 2012 at 3:15 PM

Wish they had graded me the whole time I went to High School and College. I could have been an A Student!…instead of a crappy C student! …..BS!

KOOLAID2 on March 19, 2012 at 3:15 PM

In five years, OIP received 1,843 FOIA requests. Of those 1,843 requests, only 253 received either full or partial grants of records,” the report continues. “There were 517 requests still pending, and 61 requests denied in full. The remaining requests were closed for numerous legal reasons, usually listed as ‘other’ in the logs.”

a 14% grant rate?

28% in limbo?

and a 3% GFY rate?

The remaining requests closed for “legal reasons” as “other”. Wha? What could “other” stand for coming from Holder’s DOJ?

ted c on March 19, 2012 at 3:16 PM

The only bigger thug than Holder is his boss.

Schadenfreude on March 19, 2012 at 3:17 PM

The Ministry of Information’s Department of Transparency determines the definition of transparency. Opaque is the new transparent. Those who don’t follow the new definitions will be detained and interrogated by the Information Retrieval Department.

simkeith on March 19, 2012 at 3:17 PM

What?! A C- and a D. Talk about a curve.

Bmore on March 19, 2012 at 3:17 PM

on the plus side, newspapers are folding at a record rate so the lack of information will continue unabated…

DanMan on March 19, 2012 at 3:17 PM

The remaining requests closed for “legal reasons” as “other”. Wha? What could “other” stand for coming from Holder’s DOJ?

5th Amendment, perhaps?

teke184 on March 19, 2012 at 3:18 PM

Their corruption is pretty transparent – but the details, not so much.

Shay on March 19, 2012 at 3:18 PM

It’s also no wonder that the same House Committee recently issued a report that gave the administration a grade of C- on transparency.

Meh. That’s before the grading curve, after the curve, it’s a good solid B+.

rukiddingme on March 19, 2012 at 3:18 PM

KOOLAID2 on March 19, 2012 at 3:15 PM

Now I hear they’re just going to do away with grades all together. After all, grades make some students feel bad. They’re just going to start handing out highschool diplomas just for trying to show up every day for class.

Meople on March 19, 2012 at 3:18 PM

Obama doesn’t give a shi’ite as there is neither a Nobel Prize or a campaign donation in it for himself.

However, he’s holding out for an Oscar as best actor in a transparent administration.

Roy Rogers on March 19, 2012 at 3:19 PM

Surprise! The O’Turdbama administration is about as transparent as a big stinking turd.

Pork-Chop on March 19, 2012 at 3:19 PM

Of course, he’ll still curve this grade up to a B+.

teke184 on March 19, 2012 at 3:07 PM

Oops, didn’t see your comment before submitting mine….

rukiddingme on March 19, 2012 at 3:20 PM

Hmmm, I need to blame Bush for this one, but not finding any sort of way to tie him in, can someone help ?

Ragnar Danneskold on March 19, 2012 at 3:20 PM

Meh.

When Bill Clinton took office in 1993 he promised “the most ethical administration in the history of the republic.”

We all know what a Lie that was, too.

Del Dolemonte on March 19, 2012 at 3:20 PM

his only negative is really that he has too many positives…

mittens on March 19, 2012 at 3:21 PM

“The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama Presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their President. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Barack Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America.

Blaming the Prince of Fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their President.” –Author Unknown

“It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.” –Thomas Sowell

 

Are we catching on yet?

SD Tom on March 19, 2012 at 3:21 PM

Wait until Axelrod gets ahold of these grades.
A+ all around.

Jabberwock on March 19, 2012 at 3:21 PM

The reasons this won’t get any play:

1. It’s a Republican report about a Dem president
2. It has a bizarre grading system, giving “F” grades to agencies that provided all info requested, but did so on paper or by pdf rather than the format preferred by Issa.
3. The media is in the tank for Dems.

AngusMc on March 19, 2012 at 3:22 PM

Now I hear they’re just going to do away with grades all together. After all, grades make some students feel bad. They’re just going to start handing out highschool diplomas just for trying to show up every day for class.

Meople on March 19, 2012 at 3:18 PM

But that wouldn’t be fair to those who don’t show up every day. We gotta be fair, you know.

Bitter Clinger on March 19, 2012 at 3:23 PM

The old man and the C.

rogerb on March 19, 2012 at 3:26 PM

Based on the Laffer Laugher Curve no doubt.

Left Coast Right Mind on March 19, 2012 at 3:29 PM

But that wouldn’t be fair to those who don’t show up every day. We gotta be fair, you know.

Bitter Clinger on March 19, 2012 at 3:23 PM

Yep, I have you covered there, those that can’t bother themselves to attend will receive their diplomas ONLY via trusty USPS. See that exclusive deal was worked out as part of the stimulus fine print with the Postal Service Public Employees Union.

Meople on March 19, 2012 at 3:29 PM

This is a nothingburger

/liberalstoopid4life

NoFanofLibs on March 19, 2012 at 3:33 PM

Funny, the only thing that I found was how marvelous that Obama happens to be…..
/David Guggenheim/

ted c on March 19, 2012 at 3:35 PM

Apparently the reality is much worse than imagining the worst.

Ukiah on March 19, 2012 at 3:37 PM

Transparenc.

hillsoftx on March 19, 2012 at 3:37 PM

I would give the whole blooming bho and bunch a big fat ‘F’! But that is just me.
L

letget on March 19, 2012 at 3:09 PM

F being for FUBAR.

arnold ziffel on March 19, 2012 at 3:40 PM

Ukiah on March 19, 2012 at 3:37 PM

I like Ukiah—Willits not so much.

arnold ziffel on March 19, 2012 at 3:41 PM

C- is clearly the Affirmative Action grade.

Karmi on March 19, 2012 at 3:48 PM

The old man and the C.

rogerb on March 19, 2012 at 3:26 PM

I see what you did there. LOL
;-)

pambi on March 19, 2012 at 4:00 PM

Yet another confirmation that everything Obama and his administration say and promulgate are lies. They are at war with us.

GaltBlvnAtty on March 19, 2012 at 4:01 PM

How in the world did they find enough idiots to come up with a C- grade? Must have took a long hard search. Anything higher then a F- is a total joke.

savage24 on March 19, 2012 at 4:02 PM

Report card: Most transparent administration ever receives a C- in transparency

DOJ receives a D.

________________________________________________________

Dude, you’ve got some serious grade inflation going on…

Resist We Much on March 19, 2012 at 4:29 PM

And who died to grant these numb skulls professorship position to assess grade

0bamaderangementsyndrom on March 19, 2012 at 4:44 PM

And who died to grant these numb skulls professorship position to assess grade

0bamaderangementsyndrom on March 19, 2012 at 4:44 PM

If you had enough brain cells to actually read the report itself,the Committee in fact handed out “A” grades to O’bama’s Department of Education as well as to his Department of Energy and the Department of Labor. The Department of Transportation also got an A grade, and the Department of the Treasury, which includes the IRA, received an A-. So did the EPA.

Several non-Cabinet level Agencies also got A grades. Including USAID and the FCC.

As for you?

F-

Del Dolemonte on March 19, 2012 at 5:15 PM

I’ll give this anti-american communist regime an A+ for their clear war on prosperity, liberty, and opportunity.

tom daschle concerned on March 19, 2012 at 5:44 PM

In 2002, John Podesta, along with many others, called to the release of all documentation in regard to UFOs.
Ten years later, and we still know no more.

J_Crater on March 19, 2012 at 5:49 PM

“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency,” Obama said at the time.

Hahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!! Gasp! Wheeze! Snort! Barry is a born comedian.

GarandFan on March 19, 2012 at 5:52 PM

An issue closely associated with Open Government initiatives is classified national security files concerning UFOs. The Clinton White House failed in a vigorous effort to gain access to and release such files according to FOIA documents gained by Canadian UFO Researcher, Grant Cameron. On October 22, 2002, Podesta [part of the Obama transition team] made a statement at the National Press Club concerning the legality of UFO information that has not been released to the public on national security grounds:

I think it’s time to open the books on questions that have remained in the dark on the question of government investigations of UFOs. It’s time to find out what the truth really is that’s out there. We ought to do it because it’s right, we ought to do it because the American people, quite frankly, can handle the truth and we ought to do it because it’s the law.

President Obama has made no formal policy statement concerning UFOs or extraterrestrial life. The closest he has come is during the Presidential election where he jokingly responded to a reporter’s question about what he would do if he learned that government had covered up the existence of extraterrestrial life.

J_Crater on March 19, 2012 at 5:54 PM

Really in the little minds of MSN they get an A+, their hiding the information that ‘We The People’ should know, but letting us in on the BS we could care less about.

angrymike on March 19, 2012 at 6:58 PM

SD tom@3:21
I sure hope so, but have little faith in the population as a hole.

angrymike on March 19, 2012 at 7:02 PM