Administration representatives abstain from key privacy vote before federal panel

DALLAS, TX — Citing the need to protect the privacy of Internet users, Americans for Tax Reform today blasted Vice President Al Gore and the White House for directing Administration representatives to abstain on a critical privacy vote at the final meeting of the Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce.
At the meeting, Administration representatives abstained from the only vote taken on a resolution offered to ensure that taxpayers are protected from snooping government bureaucrats and tax collectors.  The measure passed with 12 votes in favor, none opposed, 5 abstentions (including one Administration representative), and the 2 other Administration representatives not present in the room.
At a news conference held after the meeting adjourned, Administration representatives claimed they were not present when the vote was taken.  That claim was false, as Joe Guttentag, representing Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers, was present and voted to abstain.
Worse, Administration representatives refused to change their votes toward the end of the meeting, when the panel allowed Governor Gary Locke, Governor Mike Leavitt, and Mayor Ron Kirk to change their votes from "abstain" to "yes."  All three Gore representatives were present at that time, but held fast to their decision to not endorse the privacy recommendations.
The Clinton-Gore representatives\’ refusal to support the privacy recommendations dovetails with their strategy throughout the entire meeting to delay and obstruct the Commission from completing its work by denying the majority the two-thirds vote needed to formally term their proposals as "findings" or "recommendations."