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Why Does the Obama Administration Want to Know Your Political Beliefs Before They Give You a Job? September 22, 2011

Posted by seeineye in : Politics , add a comment


While you were watching the political meltdowns…

Say you work hard and take a risk to start a business providing a good or service. The business is going fairly well and you decide to apply to get a federal government contract, because you can provide the result on time and on budget. 

You’re totally qualified and the best person for the job. But, there’s a catch: In the past two years, you’ve given money to an organization that the current administration doesn’t like. You’re never told why, but you don’t get the contract. Was the decision based on merit? Or your donations? 

You’ll probably never know. And what’s more, you probably won’t take the chance again and will stop donating to groups you worry aren’t going to sit well with the current group of government contract decision-makers (to name two opposing groups: National Right to Life or Planned Parenthood).

You’re probably thinking this could not happen in America, right? Wrong.

Here’s what’s happening: The administration is planning to have President Obama sign what’s called an executive order, which is a policy tool that’s used when you don’t need – or don’t want to ask for – congressional approval. 

Presidents have done this for decades, but rarely is an administration so brazen as to use it for purely political reasons. In this case, people will undoubtedly be discouraged from donating to a cause or political organization that they care about if it isn’t in line with the current administration, because getting the contract is much more important to their livelihoods.

And here’s the kicker: the EO would reach back two years. Anyone else think that’s terribly convenient?

First hearing this, I thought, “Surely this can’t be true!” Someone in the government must agree with me, because they leaked the draft document to Congress and the media. 

Now some members, including a bipartisan list of members of Congress, Sens. Collins and McCaskill, and Reps. Issa and Hoyer, are trying to put the brakes on the issuance of the EO.

Some defenders of the EO have said that it’s no big deal because this kind of information is already collected and it would never be used against an application. If the EO isn’t a big deal, why is it even necessary? Why don’t we just agree the EO is unnecessary and therefore won’t be issued? And if they can’t factor this information into their contracting decisions, why ask for it in the first place?

How could they do this? I mean, this IS still America, isn’t it? Where you get to express yourself freely, without worry of your beliefs impacting the way you try to make a living? 

Shouldn’t we guarantee that the best possible person be selected for the job, in the interest of the taxpayers funding this work? Even beyond the contracting and procurement processes, disclosure of this sort could lead to targeted retaliation and harassment. Contracts should be awarded on whether the company or individual is qualified, and if they can deliver — it shouldn’t matter what organization anyone supports – period.

The administration is about to put its heavy thumb on the scale that determines who gets federal contracts – and who doesn’t – based on organizations the applicant and the company’s officers have given money to in the past, even in their personal capacity. Is everybody cool with this? No way, but that’s not stopping them. 

Folks, it’s time to pay attention before hardworking people are forced to choose between causes they believe in, and putting dinner on the table.

Source by Dana Perino

Obama WH to withhold some Kagan documents? June 4, 2010

Posted by seeineye in : Politics , add a comment

by Ed Morrissey

The old paradigm: Supreme Court nominees being “extra forthcoming” when it comes to disclosures “in the absence of any judicial record” on the nominee’s part.

The new paradigm: Executive privilege, baby!

Jonathan Strong reports for The Daily Caller that the White House may block some Clinton-era memos from Elena Kagan, and others might get dumped on the Senate Judiciary Committee the day before the confirmation hearings start:

In a carefully worded letter to top Judiciary Committee Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Obama administration says it might withhold some of the memos Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan wrote when she served in the Clinton White House.

The letter says Obama “does not intend” to assert executive privilege to block the release of the documents but neither does it foreclose the possibility. It says Obama is consulting with a representative of President Clinton to determine which documents to block.

“President Obama does not intend to assert executive privilege over any of the documents requested by the [Judiciary] Committee,” the June 1 letter from White House counsel Bob Bauer says. “Of course, President Clinton also has an interest in these records, and his representative is reviewing them now.”

That has piqued Sen. Jeff Sessions’ curiosity.  Why has the White House put Bill Clinton in the loop at all?  He’s no longer the executive; the decision on executive privilege lies solely with the current President. In fact, as Strong notes, Obama’s own executive order from last year made that explicitly clear.  Does the Obama administration intend to allow George W. Bush the same latitude in future cases, say, on reviews of war policy?

It’s not the only part of the explanation that has the ranking Republican scratching his head, either:

Bauer’s letter says there are two reasons: First, the documents might be requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by the general public and, second, to prevent “classified national security information or personal privacy information” from being released, just like in the cases of the nominations of Justices John Roberts and Sonia Sotomayor.

Republicans say the first rationale – regarding FOIA requests — is bizarre because, as the letter says, the Judiciary Committee’s request is privileged, unlike a FOIA request. In other words, while Clinton can block the release of documents requested under FOIA, he can’t block documents requested by the committee, so the relevance of FOIA is a mystery.

Bauer’s letter says Clinton’s review of the documents “will not prevent the Archives from producing these documents to the Committee in advance of June 28” – the day of Kagan’s first hearing before the Judiciary Committee.

Republicans say that Bauer’s language means Obama could release hundreds of thousands of pages of documents as late as June 27, the day before the hearing but still “in advance” of it.

If the White House executes some massive document dump on June 27th, there will be no time to review Kagan’s work in the Clinton administration before the confirmation hearing starts.  That’s not the act of an administration that supports transparency and professional review.  It’s the act of an administration that thinks it has something to hide.