Sunday, July 19

Obama's “transparency” is pretty opaque

President Obama has often talked of the importance of transparency and accountability in government and he has chalked up some landmark achievements in this area... Unfortunately, transparency and accountability go out the window when they conflict with the demands of organized labor and environmentalists, two special-interest groups that are key supporters and contributors to Obama's political campaigns.

At the U.S. Department of Labor, Hilda Solis, Obama's Secretary of Labor, is moving rapidly to rescind Bush administration reforms that greatly strengthened reporting requirements that enable union members to see, via annual LM-2 reports, how their leaders are spending membership dues. In a recent Federal Register notice, Solis agreed with the preposterous assertion of Big Labor leaders that there was no proof members would benefit by knowing this financial information, and that compiling the report was too costly and time-consuming.

Former Bush labor officials have also expressed concern over the Obama-Solis approach toward another union disclosure form, the LM-30, which requires shop stewards to report information needed to expose "no-show jobs" that funnel paychecks into union coffers instead of into an actual employee's bank account. Solis is reassuring the Big Labor bosses that she won't enforce the LM-30 reporting requirements.

Then there is the case of Alan Carlin, the EPA economist whose critical statistical analysis of a proposal for that agency to assume a leading role in regulating greenhouse gases was blatantly suppressed. Obama's EPA administrator Lisa Jackson and other senior EPA officials made it clear to Carlin that his study was not supportive of the Obama administration's policy agenda and so would be buried in the bowels of the bureaucracy. He was also instructed not to talk to the news media. Carlin is a 38-year EPA veteran and a respected economist. His study pointed out the many flaws in the data used to support the UN's case for human causes of global warming, notably with regard to the use of carbon-based fuels like oil and natural gas. Carlin was muzzled by representatives of the same president who repeatedly bashed Bush for allegedly "politicizing science."

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