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Transparency like you’ve never seen before October 30, 2009 at 04:31 PM EDT ..Today marks a major milestone in government transparency — and an important lesson in the unintended consequences of such vigorous disclosure. We previously announced that the White House in December of this year would — for the first time in history — begin posting all White House visitor records under the terms of our new voluntary disclosure policy. As part of that initiative, we also offered to look back at the records created before the announcement of the policy and answer specific requests for visitor records created earlier in the year.

Foolish us! We thought that post meant that the President was going to make Washington more transparent, but if you check the number of FOIA requests approved, the Obama administration is less transparent than the previous administration. And that’s only one standard. Remember those Health-care debates on C SPAN? Me neither!

Maybe that’s why its not surprising that President Obama has abolished the White House position dedicated to transparency. Even worse, he gave the responsibilities to the White House Counsel, the President’s personal lawyer. The guy who can claim both executive and attorney/client privilege, whose job is to keep things under wraps is going to be in charge of transparency in one of the least transparent and most thin-skinned administrations in recent history. Obama transferred “the transparency czar” Norm Eisen to the Czech Republic to serve as U.S. ambassador.

In August 2006 Bauer blogged, “disclosure is a mostly unquestioned virtue deserving to be questioned.” This is the man the White House has put in charge of making this the most open White House ever.

Bauer has served as the top lawyer for the Democratic National Committee, which is the most prolific fundraising entity in the country. Then-Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., the caricature of a cutthroat Chicago political fixer, hired Bauer to represent the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. In the White House, Bauer is tight with Emanuel, having defended Emanuel’s offer of a job to Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., whom Emanuel wanted out of the Senate race.

Bauer’s own words — gathered by the diligent folks at the Sunlight Foundation — show disdain for openness and far greater belief in the good intentions of those in power than of those trying to check the powerful. In December 2006, when the Federal Election Commission proposed more precise disclosure requirements for parties, Bauer took aim at the practice of muckraking enabled by such disclosure.

On his blog, Bauer derided the notion “that politicians and parties are pictured as forever trying to get away with something,” saying this was an idea for which “there is a market, its product cheaply manufactured and cheaply sold.” In other words — we keep too close an eye on our leaders.

This was the President who promised us transparency his latest move proves that this promise like so many others is just talk.

Read more at the Washington Examiner

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