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Good government groups give Obama high grades on lobbying, transparency

By Dan Eggen
The White House gets high marks in a report issued Monday by four prominent good-government groups, who said anti-lobbying and ethics rules issued by President Obama have "begun the difficult process of changing the way business is done in Washington."

The glowing "report card" from Common Cause, Democracy 21, the League of Women Voters and U.S. PIRG highlights a series of policies enacted by the Obama administration over the last year aimed at increasing government transparency and limiting the influence of lobbyists and other interest groups. The steps have included a ban on lobbyist gifts; restrictions on the hiring of lobbyists; publication of White House visitor logs and other records; and a move to bar lobbyists from serving on advisory boards.

"The cumulative effect of the Administration's actions has been to adopt the strongest and most comprehensive lobbying, ethics and transparency rules and policies ever established by an Administration to govern its own activities," the groups say in their report. "The new rules and policies have begun the difficult process of changing the way business is done in Washington."

Obama has focused heavily on restricting lobbyists as a follow-up to his campaign pledge to limit the influence of favored industries and other special interests in Washington. The moves have angered many lobbyists and trade organizations, who argue that K Street is being demonized for political effect and that the actual impact of the restrictions has been minimal.

In their report card, the four advocacy groups gave Obama an "A" for restrictions on "revolving door" lobbying and for open-government policies, while handing out "B" grades for restrictions on stimulus funds, a ban on lobbyist gifts and preventing lobbyists from serving on advisory panels.

The findings were not all positive, however. The groups declined to give the administration a grade on ethical guidelines related to the financial bailout because the Treasury Department took most of last year to enact them. In addition, the groups criticized Obama for not pursuing reforms of the campaign-finance system and for failing to nominate appointees to the Federal Election Commission, which has issued a series of controversial decisions amid partisan infighting.

"The overriding issue that has to be addressed to change the way business is done in Washington is the corrupting role played by campaign money in influencing federal officeholders and government decisions," the groups wrote.

White House ethics counsel Norm Eisen highlighted the report on a blog posting Monday, writing that making "government more open and accountable" has been "a priority" for Obama.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 11, 2010; 12:58 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

Really... come on... this has to be a joke, right? As I have said before: Despite Obama's scandalously low degree of transparency, we can all see right through him. Forget about the emperor having no clothes – this Narcissist-In-Chief is wearing no SKIN.

Posted by: poplab | January 13, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

So... this is a joke, right?

Posted by: poplab | January 13, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

President Obama has done a lot of very good things that will not ever be believed or even mentioned by conservatives who only want to hear about the latest smear and the latest lie fired at the President's efforts to get the country out of the hands of lobbyists and back in the hands of honest and responsible government officials. Yes, your mouth may be agape because you have been getting your facts from the republicans who will never give President Obama credit for anything. He will get the credit though because he is working to do the right thing. It is hard going because republicans don't want good things to be the result. They work for corporations and do not want lobbyists limited from their power. Sadly many Democrats are in the corporate lobbyists pockets as well. Right is on President Obama's side. He is trying the provide a better health care program, to protect the environment, and he is working to put competent people in positions in the government to do good jobs for us. How pathetic that the republican lawmakers have decided they look best fighting every step that brings the country to a better future.

Posted by: equalon | January 13, 2010 12:54 AM | Report abuse

Surely this report card must be some sort of joke aimed at the mentally deprived!

Posted by: chickster | January 11, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

My mouth is agape! I am in shock! There goes any donation I might have been considering giving to these organizations!
With all of the lobbyists in Obama's administration, with all of the lobbyists he allowed to offer ideas for his new health plan, with all of the still unknown facts about this new health plan, with all of the dismissing of GOP ideas for the plan, with the taking of Phrma funds in lieu of forcing them to reduce their prices, where is the transparency?
Were we told of the gift of billions of our $s to the financial industries which they don't have to return?
Were we told of Michelle's million dollar payroll [plus benefits] for her 20+ assistants?
Were we told how much it cost for that "tent", full of chandeliers, for the
India celebration?
Were we told of the cost of those bribes to Congressmen who did not want to vote for this health plan but who changed their minds when they/their states became a bit richer?
Are we being told how many new taxes, & on what, will have to passed to pay for the montrous cost of the bill?
These organizations must have been overcome by that cloud of irresponsibility that hovers over Wahington. It seems that, if one dwells in Washington, he can not be trusted to do the right thing.

Posted by: afed27 | January 11, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

My mouth is agape! I am in shock! There goes any donation I might have been considering giving to these organizations!
With all of the lobbyists in Obama's administration, with all of the lobbyists he allowed to offer ideas for his new health plan, with all of the still unknown facts about this new health plan, with all of the dismissing of GOP ideas for the plan, with the taking of Phrma funds in lieu of forcing them to reduce their prices, where is the transparency?
Were we told of the gift of billions of our $s to the financial industries which they don't have to return?
Were we told of Michelle's million dollar payroll [plus benefits] for her 20+ assistants?
Were we told how much it cost for that "tent", full of chandeliers, for the
India celebration?
Were we told of the cost of those bribes to Congressmen who did not want to vote for this health plan but who changed their minds when they/their states became a bit richer?
Are we being told how many new taxes, & on what, will have to passed to pay for the montrous cost of the bill?
These organizations must have been overcome by that cloud of irresponsibility that hovers over Wahington. It seems that, if one dwells in Washington, he can not be trusted to do the right thing.

Posted by: afed27 | January 11, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

I have spent a lifetime in politics, and have long held both Common Cause and the League of Women Voters in contempt--the only thing about them which matters is media's incessant support for them by printing their pr statements. Democracy 21 and PIRG are doubtless no better.

I would lump them with, lets say, PR releases on ethics and government by the Association of Community Organizers and ACORN.

Posted by: rphillips1 | January 11, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

What are Common Cause, Democracy 21, the League of Women Voters and U.S. PIRG smoking? Even these leftist groups should recognize the White House itself is filled with former lobbyists. And there's no transparency in the closed meetings reconciling the health care bills.

Posted by: Trucker49 | January 11, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Nancy Pelosi showed more candor than these groups in assessing Obama's commitment to transparency and keeping his word.

Posted by: CincinnatiRIck | January 11, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/01082010/watch.html


Watch that and see just how far our pol's(both sides) are in bed with the lobbiest

Posted by: scon101 | January 11, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Talk about nonsense!!!!!!!!!!! Transparency?? Good Govenment???
GAGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: jjdski | January 11, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who has nerve to give Obama a good grade on his Presidential abilities in 2009 is on the verge of being brainwashed.

No transparency, no jobs, unemployment numbers just keep rising, our bailout monies misused (what's that you said about transparency) wait a few months and discover the true raw facts about Obama, AIG, the unions, ACORN and the list just keeps growing. Mr. Obama has yet to show one positive move for his Nation. He has thrown us to the curb and there's no way of stating that in a nice manner.

We have a rat in the icebox and before 2010 is over, we will discover just how much of our cheese has been stolen.

Posted by: annie21 | January 11, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

"Good Government Group" is an oxymoron. Perhaps they would like to be transparent with the amount of stimulus money they have received? To give this Administration a A for transparentcy is down right disgraceful and dishonest!!

Posted by: Sylvia28 | January 11, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

CSPAN how would the idiots that comment here know anything about CSPAN. Can you tune a tinfoil hat to receive CSPAN?

Posted by: vwallen@bellatlantic.net | January 11, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Obama has given China the right to take our land! Obama has supported the muslim theory "Iserael people should die"! Obama has embraced more government and less freedom! Obama has done less for the american people than HITLER did for the germans, so Hitler must be better than Obama?

Posted by: budngiz | January 11, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

EVERY and I repeat EVERY president we have had has done some good things. These 4 super liberal groups want to hold Obama up and cheer him. Let me remind everyone of other world leaders that did good...HITLER, LENNON, MARX, MUSOLINA, CASTRO, not to mention others like BIN LADEN, HAMAS and many in africa who use genicide (to this very day) that do good for the people who follow them. DOING SOME GOOD DOES NOT MAKE A GREAT LEADER! Obama is a communist, muslim supporter, and incompetant. Thank goodness he will not get reelected!

Posted by: budngiz | January 11, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Herr Gibbs and the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda have been working overtime again.

Posted by: jpost1 | January 11, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

A little lesson on Government:
Health Care Debates are taking place in CONGRESS, and thus President Obama does not control what is on C-Span or not. Anyone who thinks any Democratic or even Republican President controls Congress is simply confused.
Of course there have been 100's of hours of the Health Care Debate on C-Span as promised, not all of it, but its simply impossible to put the detailed writting of the bill on TV, its too boring even for C-Span, and takes place in too many offices around the capital.
The argument that there has not been enough debate on health care, when the Debate has been going on for 100 years is the most dishonest political argument in all of Human History.

Posted by: Muddy_Buddy_2000 | January 11, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Dan, how can you write an article on transparency without mentioning the C-SPAN issue, ignoring the elephant in the room. Poor poor journalism. You get an "F".

Posted by: rkeller2 | January 11, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

What are these "groups" smoking?

Laughable report...from groups who have little credibility...in line with the Presidents credibility!

Posted by: NeoConVeteran | January 11, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

At a time when nothing in Washington is transparent, its time to trot out 4 liberal groups to tout the administration's transparency.

The only transparent thing here is that liberal groups are trying to prop up a sagging Obama, whose administration is anything but transparent.

Posted by: ed3rd | January 11, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

I would give Obama an A+ for transparency since we can see right through him.

Posted by: gfafblifr | January 11, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

What I don't understand is how someone can be commended for being a public hypocrite as much as president Obama. Saying specifically that health care debates will be on c-span, setting impossible to reach goals for gitmo, and renewing the patriot act he voted against, the list goes on. Giving someone a nobel prize for being an idealist, and touting transparency as he closes doors on debate just shows how far some people can be from reality.

Posted by: timm841 | January 11, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Good Government Groups must have one eye open and the other in a wink.

Campaign promises not kept are not lies but good government?? No lobbiests allowed in BO's administration???

Hiring the lobbiests into the Admin Team is a unique way of keeping them out.

Posted by: PRRWRITER | January 11, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Ummm the reason it looks like he cut down on lobbiest is because he cut out the middlemen(lobbiest) and just hired the sharks who employed them as cabinet members and czars

Posted by: scon101 | January 11, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

You can't get much more transparent than to fly jets with taxpayers money dumping toxins on their heads while they watch. Atrocities attacking all life daily and no mention of it. Sorry at the summit IT was mentioned as "the science of it."

Posted by: wildernesslight | January 11, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Barack Obama and these four foreign groups; Common Cause, Democracy 21, the League of Women Voters and U.S. PIRG highlights a series of policies enacted by the Obama administration over the last year, are as bogus as his presidency.

Collectively, Obama and his bimbo agencies are charlatans and should be run out of Washington, DC on a rail.

Posted by: prossers7 | January 11, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Obama's Transparency in non-existent.
Says one thing and does another
He speaks and says nothing
His ego over rides common sense
He has a politcal agenda and that is to
financial destroy the American economy.


Posted by: akeegan2 | January 11, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

One has to admit there's no comparison with the Bush admin opaque & paternalistic policy making. Remember how it took years to just find out who was invited to write energy policy! Sections were even copied directly from lobbyist position papers, and input from environmental groups was collected only for window dressing after the policy was written.

Posted by: Denswei | January 11, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

These four groups must be running out of resourses. By having these articles, they will get all of the MORONIC groups that donate to give to these poor souls. This PIECE OF SHXT AND ALL OF HIS "USELESS HACKS", PELOSI,REID,BIDEN, are the most NON-TRANSPARENT LOSERS EVER IN D.C. ALSO THE LARGEST GROUP OF "HACK" DIGENTERATES HIDING EVERYTHING THE VOTE ON. THEY SUCK. DO THESE MORONS KNOW WHAT THE WORD TRANSPARENT MEANS?

Posted by: otisplumber | January 11, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

So we have four groups that are taking tax dollars to say what a great guy the empty suit is and you hope that the American people will buy that, no way you morons. Everything about obama and company is corrupt and folks are waking up, so be alert dummies. This whole scam is going to burn up, and that you can count on. thank you.

Posted by: wfcoyote | January 11, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, I don't agree with you declaring Obama's administration has been transparent. If anything it has been closed and surprising how they get things done. They are bribing (pork)and rushing legislation before the elected officials are allowed to view or read what they are voting on. You call that transparent. Obama is a total disgrace to Americans and must resign

Posted by: davidkw | January 11, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Transparency - no lobbying? Where is this happening?

Posted by: pdg668 | January 11, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Seriously? Your kidding right? Never in my 52 years have I seen a more lobbyist sucking back room dealing bunch of anti-American thugs.

Oh wait a minute the glowing "report card" from Common Cause, Democracy 21, the League of Women Voters and U.S. PIRG. All far left in the tank Obamatrons. Never mind.

Shame on you WAPO but...I guess that's what a state run media does...

Posted by: Straightline | January 11, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I thought this was a joke but see that it is serious. How stupid are we that this kind of nonsense can actually make it into print?

Posted by: vitaglubet | January 11, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Are you nuts? Obama gets an A for transparency when he's holding exclusive one party meetings sans CSPAN on the healthcare bill. He has had a string of lobbyist visitors to the WH. The SEIU lobbyist doesn't count, what a joke. Finally, please disclose where these four agencies get their funding. I'm willing to bet all four get a majority from Liberal sources. This crap will not raise Obama's poll numbers.

Posted by: davispope | January 11, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

It couldn't have been better said then if it was written by the TASS News Agency! Bravo Post.

Posted by: jgmcgor | January 11, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

How can these groups give the Obama administration good grades on transparency when Healthcare reform abill creation is happening behind closed doors? It is the largest government program since Medicare,and Obama promised NUMEROUS times that it would be on C SPAN during the campaign.

Oh, yeah. They are all biased toward the liberal end of the spectrum and that level of transparency suits them just fine.

Posted by: BrerFox | January 11, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I always assumed that the “commitment to transparency” promised during the campaign would not only include transparency in the administrative rule making function of the Executive Branch but also the law writing of the Legislative Branch. Somehow, the closed door offers of special favors for votes seems to violate at least the spirit of transparency that was promised during the campaign. If legislators, in effect, are publically taking bribes for votes, imagine what they are doing behind closed doors.

Posted by: bart5 | January 11, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

lobbying, transparency? you're kidding, right?

Posted by: njtou | January 11, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

But when will Team Obama restore the rule of law -- and stop covering up for Bush-Cheney era crimes against the American people?

NO GOV'T OFFICIALS HAVE STEPPED FORWARD TO DENY REPORTED SILENT MICROWAVE TORTURE AND IMPAIRMENT OF U.S. CITIZENS.

***

U.S. GOV'T USES CBS NEWS TO COVER UP MICROWAVE CELL TOWER TORTURE OF 'TARGETED' AMERICANS?

• Steve Kroft "60 Minutes" report on "electronic fence" along Mexican border reveals U.S. Homeland Security "department-wide reassessment of the entire program."

• Does the "entire program" also include the nationwide network Homeland Security cellular "torture towers" already operational in virtually every community in America...

...being used to physically attack and physiologically and neurologically impair unconstitutionally "targeted" American citizens -- as first reported at links below?

• A government-wide cover up that makes Watergate look like just another black bag job?

Poynter.org (Groups -- Reporting): "U.S. Gov't uses CBS..."; "U.S. Silently Tortures Americans with Cell Tower Microwaves"
http://nowpublic.com/world/u-s-silently-tortures-americans-cell-tower-microwaves
http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america OR NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | January 11, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

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