Waxman joins critics of White House transparency on personal e-mails

posted at 2:01 pm on August 3, 2012 by Mary Katharine Ham

Rep. Henry Waxman became the first Democrat to criticize the White House for its lack of transparency Thursday in the wake of a House committee report that revealed high-ranking officials conducting meetings outside the White House and on personal e-mail accounts to avoid disclosure. It’s a violation of Obama’s campaign promises, House Republicans said, and may be a violation of the Presidential Records Act, which requires all such correspondence be preserved.

Waxman, who criticized the Bush administration for the same thing during an investigation of the attorney general firings, lightly grazed the administration with this statement:

“The Presidential Records Act was enacted to ensure that White House records are preserved for history and are owned by the American people,” Waxman said. “Everyone who is covered by the law should follow it, regardless of which party controls the White House.”

The Hill reports, “[m]any Democrats and interest groups that had been critical of the Bush administration’s transparency were unwilling to comment.” Waxman is mentioned in the e-mails as a player in the seedy wrangling over PhRMA’s final deal in Obamacare, which may be why he felt impelled to comment.

This is not the first time the White House’s e-mails on PhRMA have revealed its duplicity or the first time officials have been caught avoiding the White House in favor of Caribou coffee shop to avoid the White House visitor logs. But this new batch reinforces that White House officials made specific plans to meet off-site to avoid disclosure and sometimes used personal e-mails to do so. The White House claims e-mails from personal addresses were copied or forwarded to White House e-mail addresses for preservation.

But that contradicts White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s assertion, at a June 2011 briefing:

Q Thanks, Jay. Two topics, but I’d like to stay with Google to start with. What is the U.S. government’s policy towards personnel having private Gmail accounts?

MR. CARNEY: Well, the U.S. government policy — certainly, the administration policy that is effective here is that we — all of our work is conducted on work email accounts; that’s part of the Presidential Records Act. So the issue in terms of, as I mentioned, our work accounts, we have no evidence to suggest that any of those accounts were accessed or compromised.

E-mails released in the House Energy and Commerce Committee report Tuesday shed light on machinations of the White House in the dispute between connected wireless company Lightsquared and the GPS community over possible interference concerns. Jeff Smith of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and Jim Kirkland, Vice President and General Counsel of Trimble Navigation had this exchange:

“Jim – coffee at Caribou Coffee – across the corner from the WH – would work at 11:30 a.m. on Friday…plus getting you through the new WH security rules these days almost takes an act of Congress almost (and you know how well that’s going these days) plus you’d appear on an official WH Visitor List which is maybe not want [sic] you want at this stage …”

Smith instructed Trimble to contact him on his personal e-mail account: “On this or any other related subject or policy matter, please continue to communicate with me only on my personal email,” he wrote.

Jim Messina, former White House deputy chief of staff and now Obama campaign director, used his personal e-mail account on several occasions to make the White House’s backroom deal with PhRMA on Obamacare. How hopenchangey: (pdf)

Five days prior to passage of the PPACA, Messina used his personal email to discuss the White House’s ongoing strategy to obtain the necessary appropriations to fund the deal. He wrote to PhRMA lobbyist Jeffrey Forbes:

“I will roll pelosi to get the 4 billion…As you may have heard I am literally rolling over the house. But there just isn’t 8-10 billion for something they said 2-3 for last night.”

And, there was much rejoicing:

Messina summed up the effectiveness of PhRMA’s lobbying efforts when he wrote to PhRMA lobbyists Bryant Hall, five days prior to passage of the PPACA, using his personal email, “I hope you appreciate when the wh stepped in and said ‘this is fair. let’s get this done.’ Let’s all join hands and pray on cbo!”

And:

Messina also used his personal email account to discuss White House support for the deal. For example, on June 24, 2009, Forbes wrote to Messina’s personal account to ask that the White House publicly confirm its backing of the deal. Referencing an upcoming meeting of White House Office of Health Reform (OHR) Director Nancy-Ann DeParle, Forbes wrote, “we need to make sure she owns this deal tomorrow, any hesitancy would be bad…she is speaking to a totally friendly audience so it wont be a sell job, they just need to see ownership— make any sense?” Messina responded on his personal email account, “Yep.”

On July 8, 2009, after being informed of a reporter’s inquiry into whether the White House would be bound by its deal with PhRMA, Forbes contacted Messina on his personal account and asked, “any way you can shut this down?” Messina replied from his personal account,”Yes, send the reporter to me[.]” Later, Messina promised from his personal email: “We are issuing ‘it’s our deal.’ [s]tatement.”

The source for the reporter’s story? Rep. Henry Waxman, whose assertion was promptly rebuffed by the White House.

The RNC hit Obama with this web ad:


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That mole rat Waxman must be feeling some pressure at home now that he’s in a competitive district for the first time in his entire career.

teke184 on August 3, 2012 at 2:03 PM

When you’ve lost pig nose. . .

RedNewEnglander on August 3, 2012 at 2:07 PM

Rat Boy begging for an extra nibble of cheese … squeak, squeak …

Pork-Chop on August 3, 2012 at 2:08 PM

Waxman should remember what happened to Trotsky, Kamenev and Zinoviev.

May all Communists find this kind of Utopia. I wish it on them.

OhEssYouCowboys on August 3, 2012 at 2:08 PM

“Everyone who is covered by the law should follow it, regardless of which party controls the White House.”

do you hear the laughter emanating from the White House?

ted c on August 3, 2012 at 2:11 PM

That mole rat Waxman must be feeling some pressure at home now that he’s in a competitive district for the first time in his entire career.

first thing I thought of too

DanMan on August 3, 2012 at 2:11 PM

Nostrilitis… blind squirrel… nut.

petefrt on August 3, 2012 at 2:12 PM

… I know it’s mean…but that is the male version of DWS as far as physical attributes is concerned …and I don’t think there is a female version of lorien here to hit it!…except maybe the trolls

KOOLAID2 on August 3, 2012 at 2:15 PM

Nostildermus! Calling Nostrildermus!

Your spot in the woodshed is now ready!

Calling Nostrildermus!

gonnjos on August 3, 2012 at 2:16 PM

Ahh yes, the perfect Match:

Henry Waxman’s face. and Nancy Pelosi’s azz.

ToddPA on August 3, 2012 at 2:16 PM

Jeez, if Zerobama has lost Waxman, he’s lost, PERIOD.

HBowmanMD on August 3, 2012 at 2:18 PM

Ahh yes, the perfect Match:

Henry Waxman’s face. and Nancy Pelosi’s azz.

How do we tell the difference? If Rat Henry is sweatin’, maybe he’ll be thrown out on his nose.

rpjkw11 on August 3, 2012 at 2:24 PM

Anyone else uncomfortable with White House folks discussing the Nation’s business in an open public place like the Caribou? I wonder how many times that place has been swept for eavesdropping devices by our enemies? I’d venture a large bet, exactly NONE. If we had an MSM with any guts, they would be all over this issue like flies on Harry Reid’s mouthings.

Webrider on August 3, 2012 at 2:26 PM

Rat, sinking ship, etc.

This is now the time to hammer Waxman and ask why his blindness has suddenly cleared up nearly four years into Obama’s term.

Make him eat it. He and the Pelosi creature have been screaming about “transparency”; point out that for four years, they’ve been doing the exact opposite.

northdallasthirty on August 3, 2012 at 2:26 PM

After Waxman spoke he took to his wings and flew around the chambers, scree’ing and catching mosquitoes.

Bishop on August 3, 2012 at 2:27 PM

Make some nice campaign ads. Mitt,… you watching all this?

a capella on August 3, 2012 at 2:30 PM

‘Nostrildamus’ is truly repulsive. Kinda like ol’ Jugears.
“Most transparent ever”. . . . . BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

USN Corpseman on August 3, 2012 at 2:31 PM

That mole rat Waxman must be feeling some pressure at home now that he’s in a competitive district for the first time in his entire career.

teke184 on August 3, 2012 at 2:03 PM

Nailed it.

Jim-Rose on August 3, 2012 at 2:33 PM

After Waxman spoke he took to his wings and flew around the chambers, scree’ing and catching mosquitoes.

Bishop on August 3, 2012 at 2:27 PM

Two good deeds in one day? Will wonders never cease…

Fallon on August 3, 2012 at 2:34 PM

When NOSTRILDAMUS SPEAKS! — people listen.

FlatFoot on August 3, 2012 at 2:34 PM

“Everyone who is covered by the law should follow it, regardless of which party controls the White House.”

Wait, wait, wait. Who said that? Really?!

iurockhead on August 3, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Walkback from Waxman in 10 … 9 …. 8 ….

natasha333 on August 3, 2012 at 2:37 PM

Why isnt this ad on tv

cmsinaz on August 3, 2012 at 2:42 PM

Himmler switched sides?

Dunedainn on August 3, 2012 at 2:48 PM

“Everyone who is covered by the law should follow it, regardless of which party controls the White House.”

Wait, wait, wait. Who said that? Really?!

iurockhead on August 3, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Looks like someone is doing some early legwork for a Republican administration. Huh. Polls be damned, Waxman has given up on ole Barry getting a second term.

Fallon on August 3, 2012 at 2:57 PM

These SOB’s must be IMPEACHED.

It is a felony to use a personal email account. PERIOD.

There is no excuse.

I remember talk before Obama was elected that he would have to give up his blackberry. Well he never did.

There is no President more deserving Impeachment.

Steveangell on August 3, 2012 at 3:07 PM

I remember talk before Obama was elected that he would have to give up his blackberry. Well he never did.

What does he do on his blackberry? And don’t tell me work email.

They’re crap at just about everything aside from email.

Maybe he uses it to read transmissions from Vladamir and Jeremiah.

CorporatePiggy on August 3, 2012 at 3:14 PM

/ looks up machination

/ keeps reading

Fish on August 3, 2012 at 3:18 PM

Himmler switched sides?

Dunedainn on August 3, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Interestingly enough, at the close of WWII, with the outcome inevitable, Himmler tried unsuccessfully to make a deal with the Western powers, specifically Eisenhower, to save his own butt and maybe gain support to hold off the Soviets.

The allies, of course, said NO to the whole idea, but you can see just how loyal he was to his leader and party when everything was lost.

Not a bad parallel with Waxman, though….. :)

TKindred on August 3, 2012 at 3:27 PM

Ok ok…

When the he!! is ANYONE gonna put a stop to this…this most corrupt administration eh?

Every fricking day it’s somthing!

Is there not ONE person with any fricking balls to actually do somthing?

I wish I wasn’t such an ordinary person, cuz G-D it, I damn sure would be doing SOMTHING about every single thing that is coming out every damn day…

I am so pissed off it isn’t funny, he!! I don’t even want to come here to read this any more…

This country is so screwed, we are getting screwed…

Who cares? Who really cares?

DOES ANYONE FRICKING LISTEN ANY MORE!!!!

Makes me want to scream I am so frustrated with hearing about ‘this and that’ from every angle, for crying out loud…

DO SOMTHING ALREADY!

My head is about to explode…!!

Rant off.

Have a great day everyone…

God help America…

Gonna have a beer and cool off now.

Scrumpy on August 3, 2012 at 3:28 PM

..do you suppose that he’s mowed his nose hair? I mean, maybe some oxygen is finally reaching his brain through those twin Holland-tunnel nostrils.

The War Planner on August 3, 2012 at 3:40 PM

Speaking of another Obama-connected sleaze, has the Cass Sunstein departure garnered any HotAir posts?
http://floppingaces.net/2012/08/03/obamas-regulatory-czar-to-resign-leaving-us-with-1000s-of-new-regulations-to-strangle-business-owners-with/

onlineanalyst on August 3, 2012 at 4:07 PM

Jeebus. I wonder how many foreign spies with hacking skills frequent the Caribou Cafe?

RebeccaH on August 3, 2012 at 4:14 PM

It seems like it was just yesterday that the left had their panties in a wad because Sara Palin was using Yahoo! mail to conduct official state business.

And didn’t somebody get in trouble for hacking into her account?

JoeHanson on August 3, 2012 at 4:41 PM

That mole rat Waxman must be feeling some pressure at home now that he’s in a competitive district for the first time in his entire career.

teke184 on August 3, 2012 at 2:03 PM

I guess Waxman is not looking for or expecting Obama to fundraise for him or endorse him.

KenInIL on August 3, 2012 at 4:45 PM

Scrumpy
You said it Better then I could have, and my idea ain’t no tar and feathers…………

angrymike on August 3, 2012 at 6:56 PM

Oh look mommy! It’s a piggy wearing glasses!

oinkoinkoinkoink!

Wolfmoon on August 3, 2012 at 8:40 PM

Does anyone else suddenly flash back to the Twilight Zone episode, ‘Eye of the Beholder’ when the see Waxman and his ugly, upturned pig nostrils?

Just curious.

Jack Deth on August 4, 2012 at 2:35 AM

After Waxman spoke he took to his wings and flew around the chambers, scree’ing and catching mosquitoes.

Bishop on August 3, 2012 at 2:27 PM

I laughed over this so hard I teared up.

Is that wrong?

lol

legendtwo on August 4, 2012 at 11:19 AM

I think in order to be a liberal and wield any real power one must physically resemble a gargoyle, or at minimum one of O’l McDonald’s farm animals.

legendtwo on August 4, 2012 at 11:24 AM

Background: U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Committee, Majority Staff (dtd: July 31, 2012) link from article How hopenchangey:

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and msnbc.com both filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for White House visitor records and were denied.

CREW sought records of visits to the White House by health care3 and coal company4 executives and lobbyists in order to determine their degree of influence on health care and energy legislative proposals

Obama’s administration had numerous meeting with representatives from the AMA, PhRMA, etc. with HHS, OMB, OHR and National Economic Committee leaders prior to the passage of PPACA and during the January to September time period. Also, the White House EOP, FCC, Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) met with the LightSquared people during the LightSquared/GPS interference dispute. A LightSquared subsidiary got a $267 million dollar Department of Agriculture loan.

Under the terms of the FOIA settlement, the White House agreed to produce all requested records. In turn, CREW agreed to dismiss all pending litigation. The terms of that settlement are much more favorable to the White House than what is required under FOIA. The settlement agreement does not cover visitor records generated between January 20, 2009 and September 15, 2009. Isn’t this the time period that the FOIA requested? How nice.

Now no one outside of Obama’s select insider group knows anything about these meeting which led to massive loans, misguided approvals, and the passing of PPACA that will affect millions of Americans for decades.

But, come on. Not all Obama administration work is opaque. Why there’s… Oh yeah. Remember that thing… I know… Well what about the main stream media. They’re transparent and truthful. Listen to them and they’ll tell you how transparent his administration is. I only wish they could provide an example once in a while.

Have you ever known someone who was mugged, robbed and the mugger told them that it was for their own good? Go look in a mirror if you are a U.S. citizen. You’ll see one.

HHW on August 4, 2012 at 4:58 PM