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. Jim Hahn

    Transparency? Mitt transparent? Let's see those tax returns! Put up or shut up.

    August 1, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  2. Logic N LA

    May we please see all of the Congress's email correspondence and that of thier staff to see if there has ever been a personal email? when we see that, then there is an issue.
    the GOP really has nothing to run on- this proves it.

    August 1, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  3. Bob

    5 million emails missing from the BUSH WH. Blackberrys used extensively to hide the communications....

    But the poor little Repugs have to try to find SOMETHING to smear President Obama with.

    August 1, 2012 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  4. Darryl

    This guy Reince Priebus ? I've been watching him for about 6 months now. There was something I didn't like about him just looking at him for some reason. He looks to me like a sneeky person, someones who's not honest. Low and be hold lol..lol...here he is acuseing the Presidents people of doing something illeagal. You know the old saying ? People who say bad things about other people, Chances are they ARE in fact the ones doing the BAD stuff ! Who knows ? They way the Republican Party have behaved, acted, voiced under-toned racist comments, lie and so on an so forth,.....You have to wonder,......who's the people really doing the crime here ?

    August 1, 2012 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  5. Sandy

    LOL. Poor, desperate republicans. They always accuse someone of doing exactly what they are doing to try to deflect away from what they are doing. Romney has a HUGE transparency problem, taxes, destroyed computer files while governor and with the olympics, and won't be specific on any of his plans for the country. This is too funny!

    August 1, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  6. RB

    This will just make the calls louder for Mitt to release more tax returns. But, since it appears he didn't pay anything in 2009, he will never release them. But, the more that Republicans stay on transparency, the louder it will be screamed to also apply to Mitt.

    August 1, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  7. Pander Bear

    "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.""

    So which energy executives did Dick Cheney meet with again? Oh, that's right, the Republicans claimed Executive privilege. How about those politically motivated firings at the Justice Department? Presidential privilege again huh?

    Good idea Priebus. Ya Tool.

    August 1, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  8. n

    Priebus the twit, reminds me of a Miny Mitt The Twit. A bunch of cry babies the republicans are turning out to be.

    August 1, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  9. me

    I say we boycott Obama and his staff! the only transparency in this administration is how much of a failure they are... America doesnt need anymore empty promises, crooks, or useless people running the white house...The number 1 thing this country needs is someone with both brains and common sense, it doesnt take a degree to see how we are being run straight to the ground...i no longer trust my government to make the right choices and thats sad...

    August 1, 2012 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  10. 2020

    GOP has the nerve to talk about transparency? haha, what a joke.

    ask Priebus and Cliff Stearns how transparent they are. These guys have no shame.

    How did they do when Bush/Cheney lied about mass destruction against and invaded without authority.

    They lied to the world.

    August 1, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  11. DarthKtar

    That's rich coming from the GOP – how about you tell your candidate for president to be more transparent and release his tax returns?!?!?

    August 1, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  12. Me IN HOUSTON

    the headline should read
    "Republicans are throwing it against the wall to see what sticks"

    August 1, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  13. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Yeah... This will work out well. 'Cause Mittens isn't secretive... Show us your taxes, Mitt!! Or didn't you pay any?

    August 1, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  14. Bill in Florida

    Romney campaign strategy:

    1) Run from his own record (moderate governor who passed RomenyCare; Bain);

    2) Attack Obama with 50 different lines of attack and hope that one or two stick;

    3) Keep those tax records hidden;

    4) Pray to his Mormon god that something happens to Obama.

    August 1, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  15. American Voter

    Mr. Romney, be the bigger man and show the voters your tax returns for the past 10 years. I'm sure you have nothing to hide...or do you?

    August 1, 2012 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  16. Tyrone

    Hey Mitt its the Press & they wanna ask questions that arent pre Tabby nackle Censererd. Run Team Tabby Nackle, RUN!!!!!!!!

    August 1, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  17. RWB1956

    Gee, another witch hunt. Throw it against the wall and see what will stick. Where are the jobs you Republicans promised in 2010. And don't say Harry Reid shot all your proposals down. You haven't done anything to help the American people. And no, it is not President Obama's fault.

    August 1, 2012 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  18. Ken_In_Atl

    It's laughable that the party of the nominee who refuses to release more than 2 years of tax-returns is complaining about TRANSPARENCY!!!!

    August 1, 2012 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  19. s kel

    Its not republicans it a extream, hateful hard right facist segment ( tea party) that is destroying a democratic two party in this country.

    August 1, 2012 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  20. B.

    The Republicans are grasping at straws now and at the same time Repressing the vote, Destroying Women's health care options, stopping any legislation from moving forward,attempting to turn back the clock on the Affordable Care Act..

    This is the most backward, repressive,racist,extremist Republican party to present itself to the American people yet, and it will fail the test of common sense and intelligence by the American people voting this Fall !

    August 1, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  21. Martha in CF

    If Mr Priebus thinks that this administration can fix in 4 years what was screwed up in the prior 8 years–think again. We were almost in a depression. The last one took much longer than 4 years to get righted. The redumblicans are not for the poor or middle class. Plus WWIII is being postured..........

    August 1, 2012 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  22. will never vote Republician again

    They are RIDICULOUS!

    August 1, 2012 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  23. CBR

    Another waste of time and taxpayer money. Stop investigating and start legislating. That would be something new and different. Just think, Congressman working together to pass legislation and get the country moving forward. Dream on!

    August 1, 2012 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  24. Liz the First

    This from the party whose nominee won't release any more tax returns and wants so much of his life and business to be off limits to questions. do these people even know what 'hypocrisy' means?

    August 1, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  25. steven harnack

    So if they are in a public restaurant they can hardly be "in secret" can they? It's a far cry from the Bush, or should I say Cheney, administrations failure to even admit who it was that was holding meetings IN the White House but of course Riebus doesn't want to "fight those old battles". Just more of the blatent hypocrisy that we expect from Republicans.

    August 1, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
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