10.28.2011 1

Obama no sunshine

By Rick Manning — In early 2009, when “hope and change” expressed an ideal rather than a ridiculed symbol of policy failure, the White House issued a memorandum on the importance of openness in government through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) stating,

“The Freedom of Information Act should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails. The Government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears. Nondisclosure should never be based on an effort to protect the personal interests of Government officials at the expense of those they are supposed to serve. In responding to requests under the FOIA, executive branch agencies (agencies) should act promptly and in a spirit of cooperation, recognizing that such agencies are servants of the public.”

Fast forward three long years later, and Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder finds himself beleaguered by attempts by media and public interest groups to produce documents surrounding his ill-fated attempt to create a national outcry for additional gun control measures by supplying the Mexican drug cartels with firearms.  Not only did Fast and Furious fail, but the guns that were provided by the Justice Department were used to kill two federal agents by the drug criminals.

Now, in an apparent response to this career threatening scandal, Obama and the beleaguered Holder are having second thoughts about all this naïve openness.

A newly proposed change to the Freedom of Information Act released out of the Justice Department would allow federal agencies to tell

A proposed revision to Freedom of Information Act rules would allow federal agencies to lie to citizens and reporters seeking certain records, telling them the records don’t exist.

The Justice Department has proposed the change as part of a large revision of FOIA rules for federal agencies.  Under the rule, government agencies which deny a request for documents, are directed to “respond to the request as if the excluded records did not exist,” rather than citing the legal exemption for the denial.

In a nutshell, the new Obama Administration FOIA policy is to lie to the requestor by pretending that documents which exist, don’t.

So much for that whole hope-y, change-y thing.

The multiple embarrassments that Obama has endured from the release of documents and even the White House visitors logs have resulted in official Administration meetings occurring at the Caribou Coffee shop across the street from the White House rather than revealing the meetings.

Well before the ill-fated and disastrous Fast and Furious debacle, Americans for Limited Government FOIA’s unveiled Obama’s Homeland Security sources for the first foray into attacking red state America through a “right wing threat assessment.”

ALG FOIA’s revealed that the source of the entire assessment was the far left Southern Poverty Law Center, which has made a living out of making scary proclamations steeped in a 1950s view of race relations in America.

The embarrassing sourcing of Obama’s red state scare campaign played at least a role in the Administration’s backing away from the findings.

Now, with the newly proposed FOIA rules, Obama can just answer any embarrassing questions with the ultimate lie by saying, “nothing to see here, move along, nothing to see here.”

As we hit the 2012 presidential campaign, the Obama may have to change his introduction song from U2’s “City of Blinding Lights” to Bill Withers “Ain’t no sunshine”.

Rick Manning is the Director of Communications for Americans for Limited Government. You can follow Rick on Twitter at @RManning957.

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