This is my shocked face:
POLITICO – House Republicans are accusing the Obama White House — and the president’s reelection campaign manager Jim Messina — of purposefully skirting disclosure rules and negating the administration’s often-repeated claim to be “the most transparent administration in history.”
A House Energy and Commerce Committee report out Tuesday is stocked with emails sent from private addresses and meetings scheduled away from the building to avoid official record. Among these are several sent to a pharmaceutical industry lobbyist by Messina, then President Barack Obama’s then-deputy White House chief of staff, making promises about language for the health care reforms despite the resistance of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the measure.
“I will roll [P]elosi to get the 4 billion,” Messina wrote Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) lobbyist Jeffrey Forbes from his personal account just days before the Affordable Care Act cleared Congress in March 2010. “As you may have heard I am literally rolling over the house. But there just isn’t 8-10 billion.”
The note related to the official business regarding an agreement reached by the Senate Finance Committee and PhRMA on the president’s health care law. Pelosi’s office referred to previous statements in which she declined to address the deal between the administration and PhRMA.
Other emails released on Tuesday show Jeff Smith, a senior adviser to the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, offering to meet with Jim Kirkland, an executive from the GPS industry, off the White House grounds. LightSquared clashed with the GPS industry for years as it tried to get approval to use frequencies near those used by GPS. Republicans have alleged that contracts for LightSquared, which was backed by several major Democratic donors, had received preferential treatment from the White House.
“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 …”
Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), the chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, said in a statement accompanying the report that he isn’t alleging illegal activity — just that the administration’s actions has fallen far short of its transparency promises.
“What we have learned from our many investigations is that, time and again, the Obama administration’s actions have failed to match the president’s lofty rhetoric on transparency,” Stearns said.