Seeing through promises of transparency

Remember the idea of “Sunlight before Signing?” That was Presidential candidate Obama’s promise to… now, wait, how did that go again? You can read for yourself:

“Too often bills are rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them. As president, Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days.”

President Obama has signed a land conservation bill into law – the third piece of non-emergency legislation he has enacted without a five-day comment period. And it’s probably a good thing he did – as the Heritage Foundation notes, the bill contains some extreme provisions. A lengthy public comment period might tarnish proponents’ image of the bill as a simple land protection act.

Similarly, during confirmation hearings for her nomination as Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius indicated possible fast tracks for health care reform. Without a doubt, this measure (which can’t help but be controversial no matter what it says) will also be deemed “emergency legislation” when it gets to the President’s desk.

It all makes the pre-election calls for transparency look like transparent attempts at positioning. When President Obama picks up his pen, it apparently goes where the sunlight don’t shine.

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