In his press conference with Vladmir Putin today, President Bush said, “I live in a transparent country. I live in a country where decisions made by government are wide open and people are able to call people to me to account, which many out here do on a regular basis.”
Here are a couple of examples that shed a little light on Mr. Bush’s characterization of how he runs his government.
RICHARD FOSTER: Foster was the government’s top expert on Medicare costs. Five months before Congress was to vote on the White House’s prescription drug bill, Foster discovered the controversial legislation would cost much more than the White House was promising. The administration, desperate to pass the bill, threatened to fire him if he exposed the truth to lawmakers on the Hill and forced him to bury the true estimate.
CHENEY’S ENERGY TASK FORCE: Vice President Dick Cheney held back-room, clandestine meetings with energy corporate executives (like Enron’s Ken Lay) to develop his energy policy recommendations. The result was, no surprise, a policy filled with handouts to powerful energy corporations. After blocking multiple requests for details about these meetings, two separate federal court rulings calling on Cheney to disclose the records. He refused, stalled and dodged, taking the matter all the way to the administration-friendly Supreme Court. The American public remains in the dark about what really happened at those secret meetings.
This is just the tip of the Bush White House iceberg. Now’s your chance — leave your examples of President Bush’s “open government” in the comment section. (Need help? Check out the study Rep. Henry Waxman put out about the current White House’s obsession with secrecy.)