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  • 'A White House Free of Scandal'? Not So Much

    Bloomberg columnist Jonathan Alter really missed the mark last week with a commentary singing the praises of “The Obama Miracle, a White House Free of Scandal”, as the headline stated. Alter’s limited discussion of a couple of the scandals that have plagued the administration comes up short, while a laundry list of dishonest and ethically questionable policies escape mention.

    Obama, Alter declares, “has one asset that hasn’t received much attention: He’s honest.”

    Alter begins his piece with a reference to defunct solar company Solyndra. He insists the administration’s handling of the company’s federal loan “was dumb, but so far not criminal or even unethical.” The reality is not so cut-and-dry. Elements of the administration’s policy toward Solyndra have certainly been unethical, and potentially illegal.

    Former Energy Department adviser Steve Spinner, who bundled half a million dollars for the Obama campaign, signed an agreement saying he would not “not participate in any discussion regarding any [DOE loan] application” involving his wife’s law firm, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. That firm represented Solyndra in its work with DOE, but Spinner reneged on his pledge: he actively pushed DOE officials to approve the Solyndra loan, according to department emails released during the investigation.

    The jury is still out on whether DOE broke the law in restructuring Solyndra’s loan. House Republicans certainly believe it did. The restructuring agreement “violated the plain letter of the law,” according to Reps. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Cliff Stearns (R-FL), who chair the House Energy and Commerce Committee and its investigative subpanel. Certainly, the legal gymnastics used to bolster the case for the restructuring agreement are without precedent in the loan program’s history.

    As bad as Solyndra is, it may not even be the most explosive scandal to rock this administration. Operation Fast and Furious somehow escaped mention in Alter’s column. The botched ATF operation allowed roughly 2,000 firearms to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. Fast and Furious guns have been recovered at the murder scenes of U.S. border patrol agent Brian Terry and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata. Seventeen lawmakers have called for Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation.

    As for the administration’s supposed honesty, one need look no further back than last week to find instances of highly misleading – some would say dishonest – political rhetoric coming from the president and his team.

    “We don’t accept any money from special-interest groups or Washington lobbyists,” proclaimed the Obama campaign last week. That’s strictly true, noted the Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney, “unless you count the owners and CEOs of lobbying firms, corporate vice presidents for government relations, or managing directors for public policy.”

    Carney has taken on Alter directly on this point. In January, the two appeared together on MSNBC. “There is zero evidence” of corruption in the Obama White House, Alter insisted. He challenged panelists to disprove him, so Carney did:

    Lobbyists pervade this administration, but so too do Obama donors. As the Center for Public Integrity documented, roughly 200 major Obama bundlers – including Steve Spinner – have landed plush administration jobs, large stimulus contracts, and other favorable treatment from the administration.

    There has been no shortage of scandal in this administration – from the seemingly political decision to fire AmeriCorps’s inspector general to the attempts to get Joe Sestak out of the Pennsylvania Senate race by offering him a position in the administration to the Interior Department’s dishonesty regarding scientific studies on the Gulf drilling moratorium.

    The president’s rhetoric about openness is routinely undermined by his assaults on government transparency and crackdowns on reporters and media outlets perceived as insufficiently friendly. Obama’s calls for civility in discourse are routinely followed by the demonization of his political opponents.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to 'A White House Free of Scandal'? Not So Much

    1. Bobbie says:

      boy, that one guy just sat there so dumbfounded!! I don't know about this corruption ever before seen in the government of America but I will say for the first time in my life I fear for my and my family's freedoms, liberties and personal rights. I fear taking a risk or "chance" has become a "dangerous challenge" through overreach and abuse of government control, if the "chance" that once was, still is.

    2. Jeanne Stotler says:

      Evidently he hasn't read "culture of Corrution" or "Gangster Goverment" both tell about an administration out of control. there are other books as well written by Hannity, Mark Levin, Ann coulter, Laura Ingram and others all tell of a Pres. who thinks he is the Messiah and often shuns advice given him.

    3. Dan Noxon says:

      Jonathan Alter's next piece will be "The Sun Actually Rises In The West".

    4. Carol Bee says:

      Obama is honest!?! Give me a break, he wouldn't know how to tell the truth if it hit him in the face. He has been lying to the public his entire career.

    5. FedUpMan says:

      For a president to go around and ignore the constitution and his oath of office to support and defend it as much as this man has done HONESTY is NOT a word I would use. Don't forget the CZARS he has appointed. He doesn't like the 'NO" vote from congress he turns his departments to do via regulation what congress said NO to. Think "regs on farm dust", how you are supposed to plow your field without ant dust is a mystery to me but don't worry the feds will always be there to regulate people who work to death. We do not even know how many CZARS there are "officially". I would call this man a "rogue" Prez that will do almost anything to win.

    6. jsnh says:

      Okay, it seems clearer to me that we are fighting a battle with both hands tied behind our backs. How is it possible that no progress is made to get some real transparency? So many allegations and nothing seems to be done to investigate a single allegation from Solyndra to Fast and Furious, etc., etc.

      It is becoming clearer to me that the only way to get our country back is to vote for Newt Gingrich in 2012 and forget about those pundits who say that Newt has too much baggage for him to be a serious contender. Why are we overlooking others who had transgressions but not Newt? Go on his website, Newt.org, and read his 21st
      Century Contract with America. Read his book, “A Nation Like No Other: Why American Exceptionalism Matters”. I I have read both, and agree along with many people, that Newt is the smartest person running for President. He is eager to have 3 hour long debates with President Obama who Newt says can even use his teleprompter during the debates. I would love to watch this.
      I say, “Forget about Newt’s baggage and give him a chance for at least four years”. We cannot afford to wait any longer for a conservative Messiah to save the greatest country on earth. Why do you think so many people come here illegally? Give Newt a chance, what do we have to lose at this point? I can’t and won’t give up, I am giving Newt a chance to keep us from becoming like Greece. Those who are on Occupy Wallstreet should go to Greece if that is the kind of country they want.

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