The following was originally posted at www.fiscalaccountability.org.
As you will know from reading our blog, we have been somewhat skeptical regarding President Obama’s lofty transparency promises.
When it comes to "stimulus" transparency, Recovery.gov certainly fails to live up to these promises, and so far seems to offer more spin than useful information. But supposedly that’s still coming. Don’t hold your breath though. Already it looks like the private sector is beating the Administration to the punch, and Earl Devaney, Chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, is trying to scale back expectations.
But there’s another area where taxpayers have every reason to be concerned, if not upset: Remember the promise that all non-emergency legislation would be posted online for five days before President Obama would sign it into law? Keeping that promise hasn’t worked out so well either, as our friends at the Cato Institute point out today. In fact, as Jim Harper writes, it’s a "Promise that Keeps on Breaking."
Faced with some early criticism, the Administration announced that this policy will be implemented in full soon.
But the question is, how soon is soon? As Harper points out:
He has now signed 11 bills into law and gone, at best, 1 for 11 on his five-day posting promise.
More recently, the New York Times reported that Obama Senior Adviser David Axelrod had pointed out that the president remained committed to the promise but that they’ve actually been a little preoccupied.
I may not be a web expert, but since I am maintaining this website, I know that it doesn’t take much to post a link to a piece of legislation online, so that’s a pretty lame excuse.
Starting to live up to this promise should be pretty easy to do, and would be good policy, since the added public scrutiny (albeit after a bill has already gone through Congress) may well serve as a deterrent for Congress not to engage in some of the last-minute bill changes that usually spell bad news for taxpayers.
This may be cynical, but maybe there are a few more bills the President wants to see through without such added scrutiny before he finally lives up to his promise…