Thursday, February 24, 2011

Obama's Secret Back Door for Lobbyist Deals He Doesn't Want You to Know About

Hiding from the transparency he promised as a candidate, lobbyists are doing business as usual, but in secret!

Remember this?

During the State of the Union address Obama derided the “parade of lobbyists [that] has rigged the tax code to benefit particular companies and industries.” And, because the public deserves to know when its elected officials are talking to lobbyists, he called on “Congress to do what the White House has already done — put that information online.”
The Obama White House did put it's visitor logs online beginning in 2009 and we learned that among the many dubious left wing guests, the man who visited most often that year was big labor's SEIU President Andy Stern.

But what we didn't know is that the Obama gang were hiding their connections to other special interest groups by meeting in a location across the street from the White House. From the Politico which broke the story:

Caught between their boss’ anti-lobbyist rhetoric and the reality of governing, President Barack Obama’s aides often steer meetings with lobbyists to a complex just off the White House grounds — and several of the lobbyists involved say they believe the choice of venue is no accident.

It allows the Obama administration to keep these lobbyist meetings shielded from public view — and out of Secret Service logs kept on visitors to the White House and later released to the public.
...
The White House says the additional meeting space is used when the White House is filled or when there’s no time to clear participants through the security screening. And to be sure, a few lobbyists contacted by POLITICO said they didn’t see any hidden motive for the White House staff’s decision to hold a meeting there.

“The White House conference facilities are just that: facilities for large meetings. They are also an option when rooms inside the complex don’t have the capacity for a given meeting or are booked,” said White House spokesman Reid Cherlin.

But that’s not how it feels to some of the lobbyists who’ve been there.

They say the White House is generally happy to meet with them and their clients once or twice but get leery when an issue requires multiple visits. These lobbyists say it is then that phone calls or meetings seem to be pushed outside the White House gates.

“Without question, I think that there’s a lot of concern about being seen meeting with the same lobbyists or particular lobbyists over and over again,” said one business lobbyist, who has been to Jackson Place meetings.
...
But lobbyists are particularly stung by what they see as a double standard, with Obama bashing their profession as part of what’s wrong with Washington while his staff routinely sits down with lobbyists to discuss key issues.

“When they need us, they call us. When they don’t, we’re evil,” said another lobbyist who has been to Jackson Place meetings.
Union Lobbyist Gets Daily White House Access

Obama almost never meets privately with members of his cabinet or Republicans in Congress. But his staff certainly seems to find the time for special interest groups like big labor. Here's Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO bragging about his access:




Trumka: "I am at the White House two or three times a week...I have conversations with someone at the White House everyday...EVERYDAY!


And you wonder why Obama doesn't listen to the voices of average Americans who voted last number in a landslide election for real change in the way Washington works? It's because Obama doesn't have time to even consider their views with all those union and other lobbyists knocking on the door and finding it wide open to THEIR concerns!

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