Dec 27, 2009

President Obama wins praise for his commitment to ethics

Rightwing Obama haters love to use the catch phrase Obama’s corrupt “Chicago-Style Politics,” but ethics watchdog groups are saying he is a breath of fresh air compared to the last eight years.

According to Washington newspaper “The Hill,” “President Barack Obama scores well among ethics watchdog groups in his first year in office, though they’d still like to see more from the president.”

The paper went on to say, “Obama has wielded the power of the White House to craft an executive order that limited lobbyist hires in his administration, push federal agencies to share more of their data with the public and begin releasing visitor records for the executive complex on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”

After eight years of perhaps the most secretive administration in history, and one that dealt in the politics of personal destruction against anyone who opposed them in the slightest way, Obama is a welcome change.

“After the last eight years, it is refreshing to see a president, through his rhetoric and action, who understands the way that the system works is a problem. That just a great place to start with,” said Meredith McGehee, policy director for the Campaign Legal Center.”

Obama has been criticized for appointing czars, for some unknown reason, but ethics groups praise it.

“Obama wins the most applause for putting senior aides in place whose primary job is better ethics and transparency in the federal government. The appointees include Norm Eisen, Obama’s Harvard Law School classmate and the administration’s ethics czar who is stationed in the White House Counsel’s office; Beth Noveck, the deputy chief technology officer who is leading the Open Government Initiative; and Vivek Kundra, the chief information officer.”

We all remember the Republican K-Street scandals. Lobbyists for the energy industry and other industries were soon running the departments they were once lobbying. Republicans were turned out of power in 2006 and lost control of both the U.S. House and Senate because of their culture of corruption, from the likes of Mark Foley, Jack Abramoff and Bob Ney. Obama has put a stop to that.

“(Norm) Eisen was the author of the tough executive order, signed by Obama on his first full day in office, designed to slow the revolving door between government and K Street. That order also bans ex-Obama administration officials from lobbying their former colleagues. The president has repeatedly targeted K Street, limiting contacts between lobbyists and administration officials on stimulus projects and issuing agency guidance banning lobbyists from serving on advisory boards. That has led to consternation among lobbyists who have pushed back against the measures.”

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