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. W.G.

    These were pledges not laws . Unlike Romney , who thinks paying taxes are not laws they´re pledges .

    August 1, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  2. TAK

    Howsabout some transparency from your presumptive presidential candidate?

    Where are Mitt Romney's taxes for the last few years? Common Priebus, do something concrete for a change and get Romney to be a bit more transparent himself. Maybe that story about how he hasn't paid ANY taxes for TEN YEARS is true after all.

    August 1, 2012 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  3. Dr Matrix

    These politcal bottom feeders forget that who ever is in charge changes periodically. The last R admistration was very secrective and the Senate threated the nuclear option to end an occasional fillibuster. Now they have forgotten and want to change the rules. At some point they will be in control again. What will they do then, once Pandora's box is opened you can't close it. These people are too stupid and short sighted to have this much responsibility and authority.

    August 1, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  4. george of the jungle

    repos are blindly trying to find some charge that will stick. Unfortunatly this president has not been doing deals behind closed doors. He is open about his taxes unlike their candidate. If they want to talk transparancy then they have no farther to look then milk toast mitt the twitt. Forward 2012

    August 1, 2012 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  5. Georgie

    Uuuhhmmm, ...GOP! Really!, ...Is that all you got? Well!, ...Guess I'm going to HAVE to vote for President Obama!

    August 1, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  6. What a Joke!

    Transparency being used by the Republican Party is a complete Joke – what hypocrites! If they believe in Transparency then list the Donors to your Super PACS, Mitt's Taxes, his overseas bank accounts, why he had the 2002 Olympic Records DESTROYED, even the Chair has been less than honest!

    August 1, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  7. Jerry

    Republicans, PLEASE don't fault Mr. Obama on transparency and/or truth. HE simply DOES NOT KNOW their meaning.

    Oh well...

    August 1, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  8. Randy, San Francisco

    How about Romney releasing 12 years of tax returns first?

    August 1, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  9. Gorbashov - Long Beach, Ca.

    LOL

    Being lectured on transperancy by this Retug is like being lectured by Republicans about deficit spending......ZERO CREDIBILTY!

    Hey transperent Republicans when do we see old Mittens transperent tax records?

    Sorry pot, not kettle here!

    August 1, 2012 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  10. Mr. Moderate

    Interesting line given that their candidate has seemingly destroyed or refused to reveal pretty much his entire past.

    August 1, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  11. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Does Prince Reebus realize that Mittens refuses to release 10 years of taxes, shredded all Salt Lake financial records from the $1.2 billion tax payer, erased all MA records during his governorship, sent his money overseas? Mittens has more dirty secrets than the CIA. KMA Mittens.

    August 1, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  12. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Hey RNC, and Mittens, release your foreign campaign donors names and organizations.

    August 1, 2012 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  13. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Republicans are Nixonian when it comes to transparency. KMA Mittens

    August 1, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  14. MalcolmX

    The RNC should have stuck with Micheal Steele.

    August 1, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  15. anthony76

    Not before we see Romney's Taxes....
    and his Olympic records...
    and his MA computer records...

    and while we're at it, how about Cheney's inside dealings with no-bid Halliburton after he shocked and awed Iraq and Afghanistan...
    as well as all of GW Bush's Executive Privilege records...

    Glass house, fellas... glass house.

    August 1, 2012 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  16. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Given the past Republican administrations, the RNC chair can't really talk. There is much that the George W. Bush administration hid because of Cheney. Now one president has been great with transpanancy. This point is moot because no one will be.

    August 1, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  17. dave

    Hay there mr. big shot republican when is mittens going to release his taxes because when he is asked he reminds me of old Tricky Dick Nixson who liked covering up things and we all know how that worked out for him don't we?

    August 1, 2012 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  18. U.S. Citizen

    Probably some validity to this. But, Romney would be worse.

    August 1, 2012 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  19. Vote for Scumbag

    transparency on Romney tax returns?
    never mind you guys are into principled slogans.
    who cares about reality and facts?

    August 1, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  20. Josh

    Lack of transparency is a good argument, just not from the GOP. This is classic the pot calling the kettle black. I don't believe Obama has been transparent on a lot of things, but the GOP is going to try and call attention to that while fielding Romney, who flips so much that it's hard to really know where he stands on things. I'm sure there were probably a lot of "secret" things going on under Bush as well. Oh well, maybe it'll at least help drive people to the conclusion we need better than either Obama or Romney.

    August 2, 2012 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  21. Marry

    …coming from the GOP, where the candidate does not want to show his tax papers…

    August 2, 2012 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  22. lies from obama (and mabye his father)

    Whether or not all these charges are true or not, the Obama white house has not been the most transperent in the history of the US, as they claim to be.

    August 2, 2012 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  23. Dave in Arizona

    Considering the common man doesn't seem to look very far past the headlines, this is a bad move for Romney, who's already under attack for not releasing his tax information. Trying to attack Obama on the issue of transparency while under attack himself for the same thing.... it will just look petty, uninventive, and won't catch much attention.

    August 2, 2012 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  24. President Obama ...

    Started with jobs dropping falln off a cliff, in the red, but was able to stop the bleeding! He turned the car around. Forward!!!!!!

    August 2, 2012 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  25. amf140

    Obama is a master at Chicago politics. What else could we expect from him and his cronies?

    August 2, 2012 03:04 am at 3:04 am |
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