Obama Officials Used Private Emails and Meetings to Evade Disclosure Laws During Obamacare Debate
AP report details fake email accounts from HHS, Medicare and Medicaid, and Labor depts.
During Obamacare debate, Jim Messina also used secret emails, and conducted secret meetings.
One email specifically says meetings are to keep people off of White House visitor logs
EPA official Lisa Jackson used fake email under “Richard Windsor” identity
Today’s morning bombshell in the continuing scandalpalooza came from the Associated Press’ Jack Gillum:
WASHINGTON (AP) – Some of President Barack Obama’s political appointees, including the Cabinet secretary for the Health and Human Services Department, are using secret government email accounts they say are necessary to prevent their inboxes from being overwhelmed with unwanted messages, according to a review by The Associated Press.
The scope of using the secret accounts across government remains a mystery: Most U.S. agencies have failed to turn over lists of political appointees’ email addresses, which the AP sought under the Freedom of Information Act more than three months ago. The Labor Department initially asked the AP to pay more than $1 million for its email addresses.
What the AP neglected to report is the past history that the administration had with secret emails and meetings that show a pattern of evasion of disclosure laws.
In May of 2012, Obama officials were investigated by a House committee for possibly violating disclosure laws by using private email accounts rather than the official email accounts. Republican Michael Burgess was quoted as saying that he had been demanding information about these evasions since 2009.
It was reported later in Politico, “the White House “has refused to verify” whether emails from White House staffers’ personal accounts were preserved.”
After Obamacare had passed without anyone reading it, we also learned that the Obama admin had orchestrated meetings outside the White House to further avoid disclosure via visitor records:
“Jim – coffee at Caribou Coffee – across the corner from the WH – would work at 11:30 a.m. on Friday…plus getting you through the new WH security rules these days almost takes an act of Congress almost (and you know how well that’s going these days),” Smith wrote. “[P]lus you’d appear on an official WH Visitor List which is maybe not want [sic] you want at this stage …”
This was just one indication of the hundreds of meetings held outside the reach of visitor logs:
White House officials’ practice of offering to meet with visitors somewhere other than the West Wing has been reported by multiple news organizations, including POLITICO and The New York Times, which in 2010 reported that hundreds of meetings had taken place at the Caribou location across the street from the White House suggested by Smith.
The hypocrisy of claiming to be the most transparent administration in history while using private emails and outside meetings was so great that it drove Democrat Representative Henry Waxman to criticize the White House.
Back to today’s AP story, the Labor Department tried to shoo away the FOIA request by demanding they foot a million dollar bill for providing the information!
The Labor Department initially asked the AP to pay just over $1.03 million when the AP asked for email addresses of political appointees there. It said it needed pull 2,236 computer backup tapes from its archives and pay 50 people to pore over old records.
Eventually the Labor Dept. said the million dollar ransom was an “accident.” Most of the agencies still have not complied with the request to avow the secret or private emails.
So will the lapdog press question the administration about this pattern of evasion across many agencies?
Don’t hold your breath, gringos.