Republicans seeking to drive transparency criticism against Obama
August 1st, 2012
06:06 PM ET
2 years ago

Republicans seeking to drive transparency criticism against Obama

(CNN) – Republicans on Wednesday opened another line of attack against President Barack Obama and his White House, reviving doubts they have cast on the administration's transparency.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus alleged on a Wednesday conference call organized for reporters that the Obama Administration was "failing follow the law under the Presidential Records Act."

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Priebus and Rep. Cliff Stearns, a Republican who chairs the oversight subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, based their claims on a report published Tuesday by Stearns and other Republicans on his committee which juxtaposes news reports with White House statements on transparency. They charged the Obama Administration - including Obama's campaign manager, who was previously a top White House official - was skirting the records preservation law and creatively reneging on their own transparency pledges.

White House press secretary Jay Carney on Wednesday suggested there was little behind the Republicans' charge in the report and conference call that former top White House official Jim Messina "used his personal email account on several occasions to conduct official business," which the report characterized as a "potential failure to abide by the Presidential Records Act."

"Mr. Messina had a longstanding personal email account at which he got traffic," he told reporters traveling with the president. "In an effort to comply with all the regulations pertaining to emails, he would forward emails to his White House account, copy his White House account so that those emails would be part of the presidential record."

Priebus saw the emails differently, saying on a conference call the RNC organized for reporters that the "stunning revelations... show the Obama Administration has not only found loopholes in their own self-imposed transparency rules, they're also failing to follow the law under the Presidential Records Act."

President George W. Bush's administration was confronted with questions about emails sent by top White House officials on a private, unofficial domain.

Pressed by a reporter about whether similarities existed between his allegations and those regarding the Bush Administration, Priebus said, "look, I'm not here to relitigate any of those old fights that took place."

Perhaps one of the juciest bites cites a 2010 New York Times report that some lobbyists have met with White House officials "hundreds of times over the last 18 months with prominent K Street lobbyists" at a coffee shop nearby the White House "which is not subject to disclosure on the visitors' log that the White House releases as part of its pledge to be the 'most transparent presidential administration in history.' "

"They [the Obama administration] have been using the Caribou Coffee shop across the street from the White House as an executive branch annex to hold secretive meetings with lobbyists and political cronies," Priebus said on his conference call.

"So we have no way of knowing what insider deals they're cutting with lobbyists with taxpayer money," he charged.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Wednesday that he had no details to share "on this specific issue."

On the call, Stearns said, "I think it's obvious that the administration is really talking lofty rhetoric but the bottom line is they're concealing."


Filed under: 2012 • President Obama
soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. the Situation

    Nearly 3 more month Reince, you'll be out of a job as RNC Chairman when you and Mitts don't deliver the White House!

    August 1, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  2. Georgia Girl

    this guy is another TWIT of the Republican Party. He looks and sounds like a Sesame Street character. Go away!

    August 1, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  3. Auzzie

    Wait a minute! The party of Mitt "you people do not need to see my taxes" Romney is going to talk about transparency

    YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING!!! LOLOLOLOL

    August 1, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  4. Desmond, a Canadian

    I hate to say this but such a vast number of the people who who keep on trying to hurt Obama come across as TRANSPARENTLY unintelligent, dishonest, bigotted in one form or the other and plain downright stupid. And they are passionately so!

    August 1, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  5. the REAL TRUTH...

    OMG, the Repugs really are getting desperate aren't they. Secret coffee shop meeting's???? So cloak and dagger, unlike the the Dubya admin that simply outed an active CIA agent.

    August 1, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  6. richard

    Transparency?

    Willard! Release your tax returns!!!!

    August 1, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "Republicans seeking to drive transparency criticism against Obama"

    GOP/Teatrolls projection is the single best evidence that the issue in question is a really REALLY bad one for the GOP/Teatrolls/Mittens:

    MITTENS WON'T SHOW HIS TAX RETURNS.

    Mittens destroyed all records of his time as Governor of MA.

    Mittens destroyed all records of his management of the Utah Olympics.

    Mittens won't take positions on ANYTHING, such as naming the tax loopholes and deductions he claims he would close and get rid of as part of his grand tax plan.

    Mittens changes positions to suit what appears to be the most convenient and expedient position to take at any given time for any given audience in order to prevent anyone from pinning him down.

    And...the most transparent thing involved here: the glass house from which the GOPers/Teatrolls are throwing these stones.

    August 1, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  8. Thomas

    Pressed by a reporter about whether similarities existed between his allegations and those regarding the Bush Administration, Priebus said, "look, I'm not here to relitigate any of those old fights that took place."

    Priebus , do as We say , Not as we do !
    Where did the RNC find this sleaze Ball ?

    August 1, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  9. ron

    Seriously?! Fire that RNC guy immediately, please? He's going around talking about transparency with willard romney as the eventual nominee?? LOL Be quiet Reince! You're all washed up....

    August 1, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  10. NotFooledByDistractions

    Really? The republicans are going to complain about transparency while they're running a candidate with no paper trail? Seriously?

    August 1, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  11. Myviewis

    Seriously, did anybody really buy into this Transparency promise, rule by Obama in 2008? We knew it was just a sales pitch, gimmick to appease those voters that were so upset about a million things spinning in their heads and Obama like a good salesman, public relations guy that he is told them what they wanted to hear. Transparency was just to appease the crowds, can't really think the Obama administration was going to stick to it.

    August 1, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  12. Andrew

    Uh your candidate won't even release his taxes.... Another losing argument from the GOP.

    August 1, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  13. bert

    really. . Romney won't release more than a year of Tax returns, yet the Hypocrites are still trying to claim "lack of Transparency" in the current Administration?

    pathetic.

    (almost as pathetic as the sheep who will fall for this crap!)

    August 1, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  14. ktucan1

    Hello Mr. Pot my name is Kettle. Nice to see you again...

    August 1, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  15. HenryB

    Here we go again with the Republicans. Grasping at anything they can and nothing sticking.

    August 1, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  16. wizkid

    I'm starting to think the Republicans have no coherent strategy here. They keep grasping at straws. First 'you didn't build that' and now this.

    Doesn't compare favorably with the Chicago pros who seem to know exactly what their strategy is.

    August 1, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  17. Toby McDooogan

    Obama will promise one thing and anything to win and make you look like fools for believing him. It's OK if he fooled you once but it's your fault if you let him fool you twice!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 1, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  18. Angel

    Transparency should start at the top with Romney showing his tax returns. Rumor has it that he didn't pay income taxes for at least ten years. Show the tax returns and end the controversy!

    August 1, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  19. Cj

    Obama = Chicago Politics

    8.2 % unemployment

    August 1, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  20. Woman In California

    Pressed by a reporter about whether similarities existed between his allegations and those regarding the Bush Administration, Priebus said, "look, I'm not here to relitigate any of those old fights that took place."

    The polls must be right this time (favoring Obama) because it sounds like desperation is coming from Rinse and his pals and the American people can see right through this.

    Now where are Willard's tax returns and long form birth certificate Rinse?

    August 1, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  21. Jon

    Why is this any suprise. Transparency to Obama applied to everyone but his adminstration. One meeting in the Caribou COffee shop is a violation of the law. I am glad someone is investigating this ... the problem is that Obama will cite Executive Priv. to keep himself from being busted for being the least transparent president in over 20 years

    August 1, 2012 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  22. Larry L

    Why would anybody trust the witch-hunting, "birther", special-prosecuting, swift-boating Republicans with information? Their candidate won't even release his tax returns – hiding unethical and illegal behavior from the voters!

    August 1, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  23. Hussein Obama Public Enemy #1

    Hussein did it to himself. Get it right Bias CNN.

    August 1, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  24. Hey, Mittens got anymore of those 100K jobs at Bain for doing nothing? 'Call Me, Maybe?'

    Not a good approach when "Mitt the Twit" only shows one year of tax returns and that one year was 2 years before he prepared to run for the highest office in the land.

    We want to see the returns for the Bain years, so I would hold any criticism about "not being transparent" until we get a "clear view" of Mitt the Twit's 99-02 tax returns.

    Until then, just keep bobbin' and weavin' while we keep playin' "Whack a Mitt"!

    August 1, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  25. Tyrone

    We all must unite behind KING TABBY NACKLE BISHOP Romney as he has promised us majic underwear for all & a Galaxy of our own too. We pray that Rubes converts back so that we shall have lds/ lds 1- 2 punch. Thanks & screw all the workin men & woman & especially the elderly.

    August 1, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
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