February 3rd, 2010
03:56 PM ET
11 years ago

CNN Fact Check: President Obama's transparency 'report card'

(CNN) - During Tuesday's town hall event in New Hampshire, President Barack Obama was asked to grade his administration's transparency. He declined to give himself a grade, but cited a new report that says his administration is "the most transparent administration that we have seen in a very, very long time, perhaps in the modern era."

The report - titled "A Report Card on the Obama Administration's Executive Branch Lobbying, Ethics and Transparency Reforms in 2009" - was released on January 11. It characterizes the Obama administration's reform efforts as "the strongest and most comprehensive lobbying, ethics, and transparency rules and policies ever established by an administration to govern its own activities."

This report stands in stark contrast to recent criticism the president has received for falling short on a promise to televise all health care negotiations on C-SPAN.

Get the facts and the bottom line after the jump.

Fact Check: Who are the groups behind President Obama's transparency "report card"?

–Four groups are behind the report. They are Common Cause, Democracy 21, League of Women Voters, and U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group).

- Common Cause is a self-described nonpartisan, non-profit advocacy organization that was founded "as a vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest."

Its 2009 report "Campaign Finance Reform: A New Era" calls for greater campaign transparency and an end to the dominant role of large campaign donors in the election process. On Sunday it announced a partnership with the left-leaning political action group MoveOn in fighting the recent Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission.

- Former Common Cause President Fred Wertheimer founded Democracy 21 in 1997 and serves as its current president and CEO. The group aims to "eliminate the undue influence of big money in American politics" through campaign finance reform and other political reform measures.

On Tuesday Wertheimer testified before the Senate Rules Committee and called on Congress to "move swiftly to enact legislation to mitigate the enormous damage done" by the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision.

- Celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, the League of Women Voters has a long reputation for being a nonpartisan political advocacy group with interests ranging from global climate control to getting representation in Congress for the District of Columbia.

The organization sponsored the presidential debates from 1976 to 1984 but pulled out in 1988, citing "self-serving" efforts by the Dukakis and Bush camps, which they accused of "manipulations" during the debate process.

- The U.S. Public Interest Research Group is a non-profit focusing on a number of issues, most notably health care reform, elections and government reform, and financial security. They released a report in August 2009 on proposed health care reforms that applauded the public option, saying it would "expand consumer choice" and "help bring down costs by forcing private insurers to be more competitive."

Bottom Line: With the exception of the League of Women Voters, which has a long reputation for being particularly nonpartisan, the other three groups appear to be strong advocates of progressive issues such as campaign finance reform and a public health care option.

Filed under: Fact Check • President Obama
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Fooled Again

    Audit The Fed !!

    That's the transparency we really want.......

    February 3, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  2. An 8 year old ELEPHANT dung heap, does not transform into compost in just 1 year!

    Of course it is the most transparent!

    There are websites for tracking expenditures of stimulus money and many others allowing "sunshine" into the working of the Federal government.

    Even mistakes are admitted to and addressed, in the past these would have shoved under the rug.

    February 3, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  3. Josiah

    CNN you're a joke with these Fact Checks – 9 years late and 2.3 trillion dollars short – where were you during Cheney Bush – oh that's right, cowering under a rock!

    February 3, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    He is the worst president in USA history. His grade is -D-, no more.

    February 3, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |