Another one bites the dust. Yes, it’s time for President Obama to “explaniate” and “re-interpretate” the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights to the Obamanation. As this Designated Conservative read the official White House blog posting below, I could almost hear the President saying: “It’s necessary in this period of national emergency to take bold action against the forces who would oppose me and what I know to be best for you.…”
Another update from Norm Eisen, special counsel to the president for ethics and government reform, in the spirit of transparency as always:
I am writing with an update on the President’s March 20, 2009 Memorandum on Ensuring Responsible Spending of Recovery Act Funds. Section 3 of the Memorandum required all oral communications between federally registered lobbyists and government officials concerning Recovery Act policy to be disclosed on the Internet; barred registered lobbyists from having oral communications with government officials about specific Recovery Act projects or applications and instead required those communications to be in writing; and also required those written communications to be posted on the Internet. That Memorandum instructed the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to review the initial 60 days of implementation of the stimulus lobbying restrictions, to evaluate the data, and to recommend modifications.
Following OMB’s review, the Administration has decided to make a number of changes to the rules that we think make them even tougher on special interests and more focused on merits-based decision making.
First, we will expand the restriction on oral communications to cover all persons, not just federally registered lobbyists. For the first time, we will reach contacts not only by registered lobbyists but also by unregistered ones, as well as anyone else exerting influence on the process (this means you and me and anyone else who wishes to petition the government on issues associated with the “stimulus package.”). We concluded this was necessary under the unique circumstances (i.e. largest pork-laden spending bill in our country’s history) of the stimulus program.
Second, we will focus the restriction on oral communications to target the scenario where concerns about merit-based decision-making are greatest –after competitive grant applications are submitted and before awards are made. Once such applications are on file, the competition should be strictly on the merits. To that end, comments (unless initiated by an agency official) must be in writing and will be posted on the Internet for every American to see (i.e. speaking to your senator on this topic may violate Obamalaw).
Third, we will continue to require immediate internet disclosure of all other communications with registered lobbyists. If registered lobbyists have conversations or meetings before an application is filed, a form must be completed and posted to each agency’s website documenting the contact.
OMB will be consulting with agencies, outside experts and others about these principles and will publish detailed guidance, but we wanted to update interested parties on the outcome of the initial review. We consulted very broadly both within and outside of government (including as reflected in previous posts on the White House blog) and we are grateful to all those who participated in the process (funny, nobody called the Dersignated Conservative to “consult.”).
From Doug Ross @ Journal:
“As close to a dictatorship as we have ever been.” Mark Levin made that statement on Thursday evening. Was he overstating things? Consider the following steps taken by the Obama administration and then judge for yourself:
Silencing Dissent: The SEIU, Organizing for America and ACORN have coordinated a campaign that pillories broadcast networks who are considering airing ads that oppose Obama’s socialized medicine agenda. Consider this message, painting any dissent against single-payer, socialized medicine as “swiftboating”.
As Sweetness & Light observes, “just in case there was ever any doubt as to who is calling the tune here, these groups are [all] using the exact language that was dictated to them by the Obama administration.”
The key passage is the reference to expanding regulation from registered lobbyists to “anyone else exerting influence on the process. We concluded this was necessary under the unique circumstances of the stimulus program.” This is the Camel’s nose under the tent, being poked because of special circumstances. Let government restrict political expression – i.e. lobbying of government officials regarding policy – in one small, supposedly specialized area and not long after the specialized area starts expanding. Eventually, all political expression regarding all policy will become subject to government regulation.
The restrictions are also ambiguous enough that a lobbyist or other petitioner won’t be sure how to fully comply. So if someone runs afoul of White House officials, a phone call to a news outlet or a friendly prosecutor can punish the offender. Ambiguous rules plus capricious application equals negative rule of law.
Decades of expansion of the federal government and federal agencies by the Democrats and complicit pork barrel Republicans has created a bloated bureaucracy that has been easily manipulated and put to use by the Obama Administration. These folks in the White House are using extra-constitutional processes, executive orders, and manipulation of administrative rule-making authority to turn the federal government into a usurper of our natural rights as U.S. citizens.