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Liberal Watchdog Questions White House Gmail Use

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the it-cannot-be-it-must-not-be dept.

Democrats 283

MexiCali59 writes "Liberal watchdog CREW has joined Republican Congressman Darrell Issa in calling for an investigation into whether White House staffers regularly use private email accounts to communicate with lobbyists. The allegations, first reported last week by the New York Times, would likely constitute a violation of federal law as well as an ethics pledge created by Obama upon taking office last year."

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No Surprise... (4, Insightful)

milbournosphere (1273186) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748368)

I've learned to ignore the bulk of what the President pledges when it comes to administration transparency. That was a campaign promise that I don't feel he lived up to at all.

Re:No Surprise... (4, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748568)

You mean there are promises he has kept?
Government transparency? Ummm, no
If you like your health insurance, you can keep it? Umm, no
No lobbyists in the Obama Administration? Umm, no
Close Guantanomo within a year? Umm, no

Re:No Surprise... (2, Informative)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748598)

If you like your health insurance, you can keep it? Umm, no

This one is amusing, by the way. It is technically true. However if you change any single feature, ZING, you're under the new law. Good luck outlasting that medical price inflation for more than a few years...

Re:No Surprise... (3, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749142)

Interesting that both you and the gp apparently read that campaign promise as an employer. I always assumed he meant it for the employees, for which it is, generally, quite true.

Re:No Surprise... (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749304)

How would an employee keep the same health care if his employer did not?

You can answer generally if you must.

Re:No Surprise... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749270)

So? with the new law you can STILL KEEP YOUR CURRENT HEALTH CARE PLAN.

I suggest you read the damn thing.

Re:No Surprise... (3, Informative)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749366)

So?? So???

There's no triviality here. You could keep your old plan, yes, but the changes that the bill causes would make that a colossally stupid move. The implicit promise was that you could keep your FREEDOM to choose a plan you liked. This is decidedly not the case, because your current rate and benefits aren't going to keep you happy for very long. Again, due to the inflation we're inevitably about to see.

Re:No Surprise... (4, Funny)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748620)

I like my health insurance. They don't let doctors interfere in my patient-insurer relationship.

Re:No Surprise... (1)

milbournosphere (1273186) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748648)

You make a good point. I voted for him, and have been disappointed. Don't know if I'd vote for him again. If I did, it would be only as the lesser of two evils. For me, the first bad sign was when Guantanamo remained open after his deadline to close the prison. It's been mostly down hill from there. As always with politics, meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Re:No Surprise... (3, Insightful)

logjon (1411219) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748704)

I voted for him as the lesser of two evils the first time around.

Re:No Surprise... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32749044)

>
> I voted for him, and have been disappointed. Don't know if I'd vote for him again...
>

Once a fool. always a fool.

Re:No Surprise... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32749130)

For me, the first bad sign was when Guantanamo remained open after his deadline to close the prison.

Well, it's your fault! He wanted to close Guantanamo and move some of the prisoners to that empty house next door to your grandma.....but NOOOOOO! You can't have that, right?

I'm sick of Obama's so-called supporters bitching about him. He made no secret of his beliefs before the election so suck it up!

Re:No Surprise... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32748848)

"Politician makes big promises; lives up to none"

Film at 11. What were you expecting when an establishment politician was elected to continue the establishment on it's path? A national U-turn? Hah! Even if he were the best President ever (certainly not trying to say that) it would take 5 to 10 years before any real substantive change was in effect. You might as well expect him to stop puppies from dying, or to eliminate poverty.

Actually, yeah, he has. (5, Informative)

Karunamon (1845630) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748988)

No wharrgarbl like political wharrgarbl, amirite? Read this. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/ [politifact.com]

Re:Actually, yeah, he has. (1)

mrmtampa (231295) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749298)

Don't cloud the issue with facts.

Re:Actually, yeah, he has. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32749374)

No wharrgarbl like political wharrgarbl, amirite?

Read this.
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/ [politifact.com]

Their analysis of warrantless wiretapping makes it clear that they have a skewed perspective. They rate it as stalled when their analysis states that congress wants to pass new laws limiting the executives power to spy on Americans but the White House is fighting against them.

Re:No Surprise... (0, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749252)

"Government transparency? Ummm, no"
Far more tranparent the when he got into office.

"No lobbyists in the Obama Administration? Umm, no "
I think you mean:
" It's time to require lobbyists to disclose each contact they make on behalf of a client with my administration or with Congress. It's time to put strict limits on the contributions that lobbyists give to candidates for federal office."

Which he has done.

"Close Guantanomo within a year? Umm, no"
He tried, the Republicans shut him down.

I have said this for every administration:
The President is not a King.

Re:No Surprise... (3, Informative)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749348)

"Close Guantanomo within a year? Umm, no"
He tried, the Republicans shut him down.

Anybody who claims that the President/Senate/House “tried” to do something but the Republicans “shut them down” is being downright dishonest.

With their huge majorities in both houses of Congress, the Democrats can do anything they damn well please if only they could get all their fellow Democrats onto the party bus. The moderate Democrats are the ones who shot it down.

Re:No Surprise... (3, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749360)

"Close Guantanomo within a year? Umm, no"
He tried, the Republicans shut him down.

Umm, thats a complete Executive Branch decision there so unless the Republicans somehow took control of the Presidency and then gave it back to Obama, that doesn't work.

'"There is a lot of inertia” against closing the prison, “and the administration is not putting a lot of energy behind their position that I can see,” said Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and supports the Illinois plan. He added that “the odds are that it will still be open” by the next presidential inauguration.

And Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who also supports shutting it, said the effort is “on life support and it’s unlikely to close any time soon.” He attributed the collapse to some fellow Republicans’ “demagoguery” and the administration’s poor planning and decision-making “paralysis.

But Mr. Levin portrayed the administration as unwilling to make a serious effort to exert its influence, contrasting its muted response to legislative hurdles to closing Guantánamo with “very vocal” threats to veto financing for a fighter jet engine it opposes.

Last year, for example, the administration stood aside as lawmakers restricted the transfer of detainees into the United States except for prosecution. And its response was silence several weeks ago, Mr. Levin said.”'

The leading Democrat on SASC won't put blame on the Republicans and puts blame squarely on the White House.

Suffer with Websense like the rest of us (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748376)

Hey liberal elite, suffer with Websense like the rest of us.

Reason:
  The Websense category "General Email" is filtered.

Just as interesting: Seeing the JournoList Archive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32748388)

While not as obviously of public interest as a Presidnet's secret communications, I hope Andew Breitbart suceeds in publishing the JournoList archives. [bigjournalism.com]

Everybody does it... (3, Insightful)

statusbar (314703) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748392)

I thought this was how every politician operated? Palin, The previous white house, etc, all used non-government assigned email addresses to avoid archiving and disclosure laws.

--jeffk++

Re:Everybody does it... (5, Insightful)

Meshach (578918) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748426)

I think the point is that Obama pledged to stop this from happening and it hasn't.

Re:Everybody does it... (2, Interesting)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748856)

And?

Here in Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper campaigned back in 2006 on a platform of "transparency and accountability." Since taking office, he has proceeded to dismantle numerous democratic checks and balances, closed down programs that facilitate public scrutiny, shut down media access to important information, and is now running the most secretive government in Canadian history.

Politicians lie. They say things to get elected and then do the exact opposite. It's what they do.

Re:Everybody does it... (4, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749178)

Which leaves me facing the next election to choose between the candidate who says he'll do things I care about, but won't, and the candidate who says he'll do things I hate, and will.

Sigh.

Re:Everybody does it... (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749394)

Then vote third party. Pick your ideology:

Pirate Party [pirate-party.us]
Libertarian Party [lp.org]
Green Party [gp.org]

Don't think of it as a wasted vote, think of it as a vote against the current system.

Re:Everybody does it... (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749224)

I think the point is that Obama pledged to stop this from happening and it hasn't.

If he was so dead set against it, why didn't he introduce a bill to outlaw it when he was a Senator? At least an Executive Order.

This is why we're so jaded about politics in America, we elect candidates who make campaign promises. Many of those promises are implementable with formal actions that will make them stick beyond their term in office, and they don't get it done.

Re:Everybody does it... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32748446)

Yes, but this is "the most transparent administration in history". Different. Change. Remember? Or do past sins justify present?

Re:Everybody does it... (4, Insightful)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748872)

Yes, but this is "the most transparent administration in history"

Don't forget that being the best at transparency does not mean being good at something. It just means being less terrible than the other guy(s).

Re:Everybody does it... (5, Informative)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748480)

I thought this was how every politician operated? Palin, The previous white house, etc, all used non-government assigned email addresses to avoid archiving and disclosure laws.

--jeffk++

Wasn't Palin's email full of personal stuff and not full of emails from lobbyists and the like offering bribes?

There's nothing forbidding politicians and their staffers from having personal email accounts. However, it is illegal to use them for official, government business as is being alleged here.

Re:Everybody does it... (2, Insightful)

calderra (1034658) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748912)

But Palin and Co. were using their emails for business purposes (even if it was more day-to-day stuff, so far as the snoop caught).

Re:Everybody does it... (2, Informative)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749118)

But Palin and Co. were using their emails for business purposes (even if it was more day-to-day stuff, so far as the snoop caught).

I'm not saying your wrong here, but I just checked the images of the emails from way back when and the only thing I could see that even comes close to government business was a letter entitled something along the lines of "Draft Letter to Gov. Schwarzenegger / Container Tax", which may or may not have dealt with the business of running Alaska. It could have contained something along the lines of "Dear Arnold, as a citizen of Alaska, I find your container tax to be pure BS!" Who knows. Either way, that's hardly proof of any laws being broken.

Re:Everybody does it... (2, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749392)

Alaska was and is a bit more liberal with email rules in the Government.

I work for the Alaska government in a quasi-state agency and we've never even been issued an acceptable use policy document for the Internet.

Re:Everybody does it... (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748970)

Soliciting bribes is personal business, not official government business!

Re:Everybody does it... (2, Informative)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749288)

Wasn't Palin's email full of personal stuff and not full of emails from lobbyists and the like offering bribes?

It's illegal in all 50 states to conduct state business on a Yahoo account: [adn.com]

In response to similar but separate public records requests, McLeod and Henning this summer received four banker boxes of e-mail and telephone records for two Palin aides: Frank Bailey and Ivy Frye. Henning was operating on behalf of the Valley group Last Frontier Foundation, which lists property rights and public records as among its core issues on its Web site.

"I think that it's total hypocrisy from what she stood for at the beginning of her campaign," Henning said. "Because she campaigned on open government, and she knew that using a private e-mail account would take it and basically hide stuff that people couldn't see."

As far as McLeod can tell, all but one of the e-mails to the governor used her private e-mail address. The one time an aide e-mailed the governor's state account, he was reminded not to.

"Frank, This is not the Governor's personal e-mail account," an assistant to Palin wrote to Bailey in February.

"Whoops~!" Bailey responded in an e-mail.

The state public records law says these are public documents like any other official government business conducted via snail mail. They are subject to public review via FOI requests, but they're not being kept in any kind of public archive. Asking Palin to surrender and not delete all her relevant Yahoo correspondence on the honor system is pointless.

Todd Palin [adn.com] had an account used for some interesting state business as well.

Re:Everybody does it... (5, Informative)

PatHMV (701344) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748484)

Well, the other way to look at it is that they used private e-mail to avoid violating the law prohibiting use of public e-mail accounts for conducting political business. Most folks who work for the White House have, for example, 2 cell phones. One is paid for by the taxpayer and is used when conducting official government business. The other is paid for by the party or by a campaign committee and is used when conducting political business which the government employee, by law, must do in their "private" time and using private, not government, resources.

Since the law expressly allows federal employees at that level to remain involved with the political process, so long as they don't use public resources to do so, I don't see how they can function without having a separate e-mail account just as they have a separate cell phone. The only legal issue is whether they are using that separate e-mail account properly for political business, or whether they are improperly using it to conduct official government business, which would be a violation of the law for circumventing the archiving and disclosure laws.

And yes, I took the same position with the last President as I do with this one, even though I really don't care for the current President.

Re:Everybody does it... (1)

Cytotoxic (245301) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748624)

This is a pretty astute observation. It also points out the unrealistic ideals of the law - that you could possibly entirely disentangle the political from the high level government work. These people speak with lobbyists about specific legislative or regulatory actions as a part of their government job. They speak to the same lobbyist about political organizing activity as a part of their (entirely separate) political job. Maintaining the fiction of separate phone and email accounts for the (completely unrelated) conversations must be nigh impossible. I suppose everyone involved knows the rules and knows to keep their fund raising comments to Rahm off of the .gov email and vice-verse. Still, it's pretty silly. If they really want to maintain appearances, perhaps they should hand out actual hats that say "Political" and "Government" on them. That way they could literally change hats as they change job functions.

Re:Everybody does it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32748860)

Ok I can see how that works. A political dunce cap when you meet with members of the party and lobbyists and a government dunce cap when you are doing your job. I believe in the two party system: 1 party in the morning and another in the afternoon. Shoehornjob

Re:Everybody does it... (2, Insightful)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748646)

The only legal issue is whether they are using that separate e-mail account properly for political business, or whether they are improperly using it to conduct official government business, which would be a violation of the law for circumventing the archiving and disclosure laws.

You just used more words than the summary to sum up the summary. Why?

Re:Everybody does it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32749156)

I have only made this [letter] longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter.

Pacal

Proof (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32749062)

So does anyone have any actual proof of wrong doing or is this a fishing expedition ? Do we have leaked emails ? do we have recordings of these secret coffee shop conversations ?

Re:Everybody does it... (5, Insightful)

Cytotoxic (245301) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748488)

Good for CREW. Most of these partisan advocacy groups play team red / team blue and have to check the roster to decide where they stand on an issue. It is great to see one of them finally standing on principal and holding their own team to the same standard. It would be nice if every "issue advocacy" group would stick to its guns without regard to party affiliation.

Argumentum ad populum fallacy (4, Insightful)

Benfea (1365845) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748490)

Even if it is true that all politicians do this, that does not make this right. Archiving and disclosure laws are there for a reason.

Re:Argumentum ad populum fallacy (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32748618)

It is not true that all politicians this.

Do you not understand that those on the left, especially the radical left are by far more corrupt that the conservative?

You are a fool if you do not see this.

Re:Argumentum ad populum fallacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32748758)

Do you not understand that those on the left, especially the radical left are by far more corrupt that the conservative?

If this is true, why have all the most corrupt administrations in history been republican ?

Re:Argumentum ad populum fallacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32748810)

You are looking at the most corrupt administrations in (our) history.

Just ask Blago about it.

Re:Argumentum ad populum fallacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32748838)

You are looking at the most corrupt administrations in (our) history.

Just ask Blago about it.

You would choose Blago over Grant, Harding, Nixon, Reagan and Bush II ?

Re:Argumentum ad populum fallacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32748888)

You are looking at the most corrupt administrations in (our) history.

No, I'm not looking at the Bush administration at the moment, sorry.

Re:Argumentum ad populum fallacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32749184)

I will not keep wasting my time with this stupid AC post timeout system but I would ask you this, try and go beyond the blind, unfounded hatred for Bush for just the shortest amount of time and work this out with logic.

Learn and understand what the corrupt Chicago machine did in the sale of the vacant Obama seat, basically to the highest bidder that promised to hold the Democrat party line.

The power in the Senate is the voice of the people you understand, that is your voice! They sell it on the auction block among the elites, and what do they do with it?

Pass, despite the will of the people, legislation that will destroy the healthcare system of this nation - that is raise your rates and lower the standard of care for you and your family.

You do understand that there are like 6 or 7 Senate seats right now that are appointed (go do the research yourself if you question the number, I believe it is 7)? (Do you understand this? Remember hearing 'Selected not elected' anywhere?)

Don't take my word for it, go and learn these things for yourselves.

Then honestly go and find all these evil things you tell me that are there that Bush has done and find something worse.

Oh and to the dumb dumbs that modded the OP flamebait, isn't that cute.

C'mon geniuses, prove me wrong.

Re:Argumentum ad populum fallacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32748774)

I'd ask you to explain your position, but instead I think I'll just point out the fact that there is no "radical left" in American politics.

Re:Argumentum ad populum fallacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32748944)

What an absurd statement.

Those are the words of someone who knows very little about the political spectrum, not to mention our current society.

--- And to the other fool speaking of 'Grant, Harding, Nixon, Reagan and Bush II'.

Follow the money my friend, its all yours anyway.

The statist pisses away your money (and your childrens money) on corruption and graft all the while coaxing the gullible (thats you) to continue to blindly cite the mantra 'its Bushes fault'.

'It's Bushes fault', is there no end to this?

God gave you the power to reason, start using it!

Wake up you fools.

Presidential Records Act (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748586)

I thought this was how every politician operated? Palin, The previous white house, etc, all used non-government assigned email addresses to avoid archiving and disclosure laws.

Running a light because the guy in front of you did it too, doesn't make it legal.

Also, for the President and his staff (and the ex-president and his staff), the issue is more that they violated this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presidential_Records_Act [wikipedia.org]

Re:Presidential Records Act (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749232)

When Obama was in Congress, he pressed Bush for all the missing emails. When he took over the White House and the media asked if he was now going to hunt down and release all those emails he promised, he said to drop the issue.

Re:Everybody does it... (4, Insightful)

andy1307 (656570) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748674)

So we've gone from "Hope and Change" to "STFU, everybody does it"?

Re:Everybody does it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32748698)

No kidding. How far will these rabit chases go? How much wasted time and money? The Law cannot keep up with unscrupulous people and scrupulous people can't keep up with the law. Make everything as open and transparent as possible, then rely on the media and the people for regulation.

The purpose of law is to provide order and stability. Law that is overly reactionary and overly complicated undermines itself.

I wish our country still believed in the KISS principle. Complexity gives rise to instability.

Re:Everybody does it... (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749154)

I thought this was how every politician operated? Palin, The previous white house, etc, all used non-government assigned email addresses to avoid archiving and disclosure laws.

--jeffk++

The solution is simple. Vote for the one that doesn't use email [telegraph.co.uk] !

I am only kind of joking... heh...

GOBAMA! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32748396)

I knew things would change for the better when a black man was President! :')

Huh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32748412)

Amazing how opinions about e-mail oversight have changed over a few years [afterdowningstreet.org] . Have those two+ years of e-mail ever turned up?

define lobbyist... (1)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748420)

what if the staffers email friends or relatives or children of the lobbyists? are we to assume that anyone a lobbyist regularly comes in contact with is tainted, and unfit for a personal relationship with a politician's staff?

Re:define lobbyist... (1)

superdave80 (1226592) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748508)

Yes. When in doubt, err on the side of caution. An email from a government account will reach the recipient just as well as a gmail account emai.

Re:define lobbyist... (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749034)

all .gov addresses fall under my pornographic filter. Can't let my kids see shit like that!

Re:define lobbyist... (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748550)

It's not that contacting a lobbyist, or the child/relative/friend of a lobbyist is bad. It's that contacting a lobbyist and discussing action/inaction items with out the interaction being recorded, transparent, and reviewable is bad.

Heck, not all lobbyist are bad. I work full time, I barely have the chance to keep on top of local politics, let alone national and international issues. I don't have time to organize meetings with my representatives and administrators in the federal government. So I find other like minded individuals and we come up with enough cash to send a representative to Washington to make sure our views are known to the folks in power. That person is a lobbyist. Even if it's Grandpa Joe who is going because he is retired and has the time to wait around for some under secretary to get out of a meeting.

-Rick

Re:define lobbyist... (1)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748806)

It's not that contacting a lobbyist, or the child/relative/friend of a lobbyist is bad. It's that contacting a lobbyist and discussing action/inaction items with out the interaction being recorded, transparent, and reviewable is bad.

not being allowed to communicate privately is the same as not being allowed to have a personal relationship.

Re:define lobbyist... (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749248)

Frankly, I would consider it an acceptable hurdle to say that entry into public service means severing all personal ties to lobbyists.

Re:define lobbyist... (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748616)

That is easy, for the Obama Administration a lobbyist is someone who tries to convince Congressmen to pass laws that Obama opposes or to oppose legislation that Obama supports. Everyone else is a public spirited individual.

Re:define lobbyist... (4, Informative)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748896)

Nah, you have to register as a federal lobbyist, the Lobbying Disclosure Act and Honest Leadership and Open Government Act cover this. There isn't any vague area here.

Once you get into a public trust position you are expected to keep your contact with certain people, like lobbyists and contractors, strictly professional. If you have a personal relationship with someone you have to work with in this capacity it will be a problem and you will be expected to break it off or quit your position. There are rules outlining everything from gifts to phone calls. There isn't any room to maneuver here with the "yeah but what about the grandmom that gave us $100" defense. This isn't about her. This is about your "friend" over at Big Oil telling you to keep cameras off the beach in Pensacola because it might look bad, etc. A legit need for oversight.

Re:define lobbyist... (1)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749092)

i'm just asking if the children or relatives of the registered lobbyists are also to be held to the same restrictions as registered lobbyists. if i'm big oil and all of my lobbyist communication to government is carried out through the teenage children on both sides... what is the point of the bill? are lobbyists and government officials not expected to be allowed private communication with their children? it's like a chicken-wire fence border with mexico... ineffective waste of resources.

You know what's sad? (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748430)

Things like this don't even surprise me anymore, because I've come to expect them from our government.

and the Bush administration was yelled at for same (3, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748440)

The allegations, first reported last week by the New York Times, would likely constitute a violation of federal law as well as an ethics pledge created by Obama upon taking office last year.

....aaaaaand the Obama administration has ZERO excuse for this, given that the Bush Administration and WH staffers were caught doing exactly the same thing [wikipedia.org] (well, not exactly- in the Bush case, they were discussing firing US DA's for political advantage, and discussing CIA leaks...the list of illegal activity goes on and on.)

Aside from ignorance not being defense, Obama-ites were obviously not ignorant about it after the last administration were caught doing it!

Oh, and if you think this only happens in the White House, guess again. Mayor Thomas Menino in Boston had a lackey named Michael J. Kineavy who had his fingers in everything and was deleting emails before the City Hall backup server would get to them. And the City didn't have an email archiving system. And the city tried to claim that it'd cost a bazillion dollars to try and recover from the tapes they did have! More: http://www.google.com/search?q=menino+email [google.com]

Re:and the Bush administration was yelled at for s (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748478)

THIS!

And, to add, Obama ran into this PRECISE issue when he wanted to use his personal Blackberry after he was elected.

He damn well knows better, and we can prove it.

I think the penalties should be double for willful disobedience, especially from the POTUS.

security (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748920)

And, to add, Obama ran into this PRECISE issue when he wanted to use his personal Blackberry after he was elected.

To be fair, I *think* one of the issues was that the device wasn't secure enough. I believe he got a secure PDA for guvmin't stuff, and still uses his personal blackberry for personal stuff?

It's not illegal for him to use personal email to tell his daughters to do their homework. And it's not illegal for him to email the Attorney General some smack talk about a soccer team in the world cup using personal email. It's illegal for him to use personal email to conduct any business that is government related.

Re:security (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749300)

I don't know, would that homework be for a public school?

Re:and the Bush administration was yelled at for s (1)

jd.schmidt (919212) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749294)

Well, I can't say for sure what "Obama-ites" are ignorant of, but apparently liberals are aware of the possible ethics issues. In fact I think that was kind of the point to the article in the first place.

As mentioned before, two email account are pretty much mandated by law. The only question is if there is circumvention of disclosure laws.

That said, wouldn't it be fair to judge on.

1. The results of the investigation - i.e. did anything even happen!
2. What was the extent? Was it purposeful?
3. How well the administration cooperates, according to neutral investigators.
4. Who was doing it- i.e. was it pervasive and/or at the top?
5. And finally, how the administration handles what is found out?

This is a request for an investigation, not a guilty verdict. Someone, somewhere in the Whitehouse may be doing something wrong (frankly, someone somewhere probably always is). Scale and top level involvement matter.

Who's taking care of ordinary folk's business? (3, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748442)

With all these lobbyists in Washington, I have always wondered who takes care of the ordinary citizen's interests in that city.

I guess the better question would be:

Who is lobbying on behalf of Joe Six Pack and family in Washington? Is there any?

Re:Who's taking care of ordinary folk's business? (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748526)

We need a Joe Dirt Lobby. :p

Re:Who's taking care of ordinary folk's business? (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748554)

Sarah, is that you?

Re:Who's taking care of ordinary folk's business? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32748612)

Nobody. Lobbying used to be illegal and used to be called bribery.

Re:Who's taking care of ordinary folk's business? (2, Insightful)

archer, the (887288) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748770)

I always thought that was the job of the Senators and Representatives. I suspect they sometimes forget this, though.

Re:Who's taking care of ordinary folk's business? (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748778)

Well what is the ordinary citizen?

What is their education, what do they do for a living, what services do they need, what don't they need...

You say who is fighting for the ordinary citizen's like it is a simple statement. If you are too tough on corporations they cannot operate and move out and kill the economy, if you are too lax they will take over. Every choice has a tradeoff. Lobbyists work for a big slue of sectors including many non-corprate groups, and other groups that you may call the Good Guys...

Hey if I worked for a Oil company I just may like the Oil Lobby as it is defending work for me as the average joe... But if you don't then they may be the enemy.

Unfortunately without lobbyists I see politicians swerving to whatever the general population thinks at the time, and then money and resources are put in and by the time it gets going it is dropped as their values change overnight...

Re:Who's taking care of ordinary folk's business? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32749100)

Unfortunately without lobbyists I see politicians swerving to whatever the general population thinks at the time, and then money and resources are put in and by the time it gets going it is dropped as their values change overnight...

Isn't that what they already do? I've always held that even non-corrupt government would look corrupt with lobbyists around. I mean, if you're listening to the "public", who are you going to hear more of? A couple of Jane and Joe Sixpacks calling in once, or hundreds of people on the payroll of lobbyists calling in dozens of times? To this mythical non-corrupts government official, the lobbyists are the public.

Re:Who's taking care of ordinary folk's business? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32748958)

Is there any?

Not since 25 October, 2002. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Who's taking care of ordinary folk's business? (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749018)

Yes, there are quite a few lobbyists who represent organizations that are made up of Joe Six Packs and/or their families. Who do you think is in the Sierra Club? Or the NRA? or MADD? These are all organizations that at least started out representing a coalition of common ordinary citizens (you can argue about whether they still do or not, but even if you question whether these organizations still represent the ordinary citizen, there are other organizations that do).
That is why doing "campaign finance reform" is troubling, how do you prevent corporate lobbying without preventing ordinary citizens from banding together and sending a representative to Washington to keep track of their particular interests?

Re:Who's taking care of ordinary folk's business? (3, Insightful)

limaxray (1292094) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749180)

There are a lot actually, starting with the ACLU and the NRA. The People do lobby congress to great success - they just do it as groups in order to pool resources.

The problem of course is not the lobbying (it is a constitutionally protected right after all), it's the politicians who care more about getting a steak dinner, a Rolex, and a blow job than doing what's best for their constituents and their country.

dfdfds (0, Troll)

abeysomone (1845654) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748456)

fdfdfdfdf Support for Technology [supportfortechnology.com]

Pledge? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32748520)

I can't think of a single pledge the current administration has seen through.

I don't know much about the health care debate, but I suspect that what you got what quite a bit different than was advertised.

Re:Pledge? (3, Insightful)

ericdano (113424) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748772)

I think the funniest and saddest thing is that Video FOX news likes to air of Nancy Pelosi saying to her people that she'd love to share what is in the bill but they need to pass it first.

That is exactly the problem in Government right now. These HUGE bills that no one knows what they contain.

I say we vote them ALL out and start over.

Re:Pledge? (1)

calderra (1034658) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748978)

Er, the texts of bills are always available online though, and you can read them, in fact I often do. Not that I'm opposing the rabble rabble vote them out thing.

Re:Pledge? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749086)

Too bad there isn't a party of "government that works." For people who don't care if we have single payer healthcare or not, as long as there is a reasonable plan to make healthcare better. A party that doesn't think printing/borrowing money forever is a viable way to run the government. Forget the ideology, let's just make it work.

Re:Pledge? (2, Insightful)

iLoveLamp (1676532) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749358)

Many of us would love to vote them all out and start over. Sadly, those who would get voted in would be of the same breed as it takes a lot of money. That money tends to come from the lobbyists. Vote for a Teabagger, get an extreme right wing asshole who no doubt cater to the corporate lobby. Vote for a Green Party member, get an extreme left wing asshole who will no doubt cater to the corporate lobby. What we need is a corporation to lobby for the people. I wish there were money to be made in that.

in other news. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32748524)

Pigs still can't fly, and hell is roasting away.

Re:in other news. (1)

Ackmo (700165) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748800)

What are you talking about? What was one of the first things that occurred when Obama took office? Swine flu.

Do no evil, that's what lobbyists are for. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32748608)

Subpoena time.

In other late-breaking news... (2, Funny)

GlennC (96879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748656)

...the Sun was seen rising in the East.

...bears use the woods as their own personal toilet.

...Pope declares "I am a Catholic."

I give up (4, Informative)

ericdano (113424) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748744)

This administration has been terrible. All this promise, and then failure. And now there is news that the voter intimidation case got dropped for political reasons? I mean, there the guy is, holding a baton.....seriously, WTF.

Using Gmail should not be allowed. Government officials need to have ALL their activities OPENED to us, the people, unless it is personal stuff. This stuff is NOT personal, it is skirting the law. I don't care if PREVIOUS administrations did it or not. I don't care. Obama promised to do things DIFFERENTLY and I see nothing but business as usual if not more of an orgy type atmosphere there since they have a hold on both houses as well right now.

Re:I give up (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748932)

Bribes and backroom deals are personal stuff.

Re:I give up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32748942)

This administration has been terrible. All this promise, and then failure. And now there is news that the voter intimidation case got dropped for political reasons? I mean, there the guy is, holding a baton.....seriously, WTF.

Now there is news? What do you mean now? That is like last year's non-news for all the lack of attention it received.

I'd also note that if you're the sort that believed in all of the "promise" in the first place, then you'd also be the sort that would not make a peep about sweeping that voter intimidation thingy under the rug since it was committed by a "disadvantaged" person.

Not surprised, and not in a cynical way (2, Informative)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748842)

To me this is just another example of how much people will try to cling to old ways of doing things and subvert rules that prevent it.

According to the NYTimes article referenced in TFA that kicked off this whole discussion, indicates that the administration has a policy of posting all White House visits and pressures staff to minimize contact with lobbyists. In response, rather than obey the spirit of those directives, the staff instead meets with lobbyists off the record.

This is a story older than government, going back to whenever a parent first told their kids not to do something or earlier: someone makes a rule, people impacted by that rule try to find a loophole, the rule is revised, repeat. Government is an inherently iterative process.

That being said, if doing an investigation speeds up this iteration of the feedback loop, I'm all for it.

Hello to the new boss, same as the old boss... (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749024)

Wow, Obama yet again doing the same thing as the guy who came before him. The only difference is that for some reason people might care about it this time.

Obama is Soooo lucky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32749104)

It's a good thing for Obama that Republicans would look like complete and utter hypocrites if they criticised him over this. Ah, who am I kidding. That's not going to stop them.

From TFA (1)

calderra (1034658) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749122)

"As part of a settlement with CREW over missing Bush administration e-mails, the White House assured the watchdog that its system prevents employees from accessing personal e-mail accounts." So what the White House actually promised was to try and put up a firewall, and people are jumping the firewall. It also promised that, if anyone made a FOIA-style request about goings-on that should have been on the record, that it would respond quickly and without being a douche about it. So, if there was a breach that they tried to prevent, it's now up to them to respond appropriately, and we're still inside a reasonable time to service this request, right? Sounds like normal business for any company, so long as the people responsible for oversight weren't among the offenders.
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