In his successful bid for the White House, Barack Obama promised “throughout the campaign” (to borrow one of his expressions) to be a new kind of politician, more transparent than the then-incumbent. He would post each bill that lands on his desk online so that we the people would have “five days to look” at it before he signed it. And he assured us that he had “done more than any other candidate in this race to take on lobbyists“:
They have not funded my campaign, they will not run my White House, and they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I am president.
His campaign promises notwithstanding, he has not been more transparent than his predecessor nor has he excluded lobbyists from his Administration. Within days of taking office, he had already broken the promise to post bills online. By April 9, Jim Harper had found, “Of the eleven bills President Obama has signed, only six have been posted on Whitehouse.gov. None have been posted for a full five days after presentment from Congress.”
In her book, Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies, blogress Michelle Malkin shows that despite Obama’s pledge, lobbyists are running rampant in Obama’s White House, having “made seventeen exceptions ot his no-lobbyist rule” just in the first two weeks of his Administration. It’s not just lobbyists. Numerous other Administration officials have have failed to pay their taxes or worked closely with corrupt individuals and associations. It almost seems as if the only members of the President’s cabinet without ethics problems are Education Secretary Arne Duncan, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a Bush Administration holdover.
In short, the candidate who ran against Washington has staffed his White House with Washington insiders, with a cabinet made up mostly of longtime denizens of the nation’s capitol.
Any many of those note from Washington have political roots in the machine politics of Chicago, even his wife, whose father was a cog in the Daley machine. Mrs. Obama has learned from her father’s patron; her salary “nearly tripled” right after her husband was elected to the United States Senate in 2004, a cost the University of Chicago Medical Center might have better have been able to defray with a federal earmark he helped secure.
And like many who cut their teeth in Chicago politics, Michelle Obama had numerous shady associations as did her husband’s other Chicago cronies, including Valerie Jarrett and Rahm Emanuel. Both worked closely with since-mpeached Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, the latter elected in 2002 to Blagojevich’s House seat. Emanuel pocketed at least $100,000 for Freddie Mac stock he received when serving on the Board of that government-sponsored enterprise (GSE). While the GSE cooked its books during Emanuel’s tenure, the Admnistration’ transparency pledges notwithstanding, “White House officials,” Malkin reminds us “refused to fulfill the [Chicago Tribune‘s] request for public documents related [to] Emanuel’s tenure as a Freddie Mac director.” [Read more…]