Yet More Obama Secrecy: Won’t Release Info On Visits From Health-Care Execs

|
July 22, 2009 6:06 a.m.

And the beat goes on….

Here’s the latest example of the Obama White House mimicking its predecessor’s reflexive preference for secrecy over openness: the administration has turned down a request from a good-government group to release the names of the health-industry execs who have gone to the White House to discuss health-care reform, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington had sent a letter to the Secret Service asking for the names of the 18 industry execs. But in response, the Secret Service said it considered the names to be presidential records, and therefore not subject to public disclosure laws. That was the argument used by the Bush administration to justify not releasing the names of the oil industry execs who were part of Dick Cheney’s Energy Task Force in 2001. CREW now says it will file suit.

This isn’t a new position for the Obama White House. Last month, in response to another request from CREW, it refused to release information on visitors from the coal and energy industries, citing the same argument over presidential records. CREW is now suing for those records too. The White House also turned down a request from MSNBC.com for a list of all White House visitors since President Obama took office.

CREW seems to already have information on some of the health-care industry chieftains. In its letter to the White House, reports the LAT, it asked about visits by Billy Tauzin, the president of PhrRMA, Karen Ignagni, the president of the top health insurance trade group, William Weldon, the CEO of Johnson & Johnso, and J. James Rohack, the AMA president, among others.

Newsletters
Get TPM in your inbox, twice weekly.
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

When President Obama took office, he promised a new era of openness and transparency. But on many secrecy issues, his administration has not significantly differed from President Bush’s.

Latest Muckraker
Comments are now Members-Only

Non-members are still able to read comments, but will no longer be able to participate. To join the conversation, sign up now and get:

30% Off Annual Prime Membership

TPM strives to build as inclusive a community as financially possible. We offer FREE memberships to those experiencing financial hardship and FREE memberships for students.

View all options
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: