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Posts in "Transparency"
July 24, 2014
House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa is offering to allow top White House political adviser David Simas to testify via deposition instead of in a congressional hearing.
With Issa planning a vote Friday to reject the administration’s claim of absolute immunity from congressional subpoena for Simas if he again fails to show up to honor the subpoena, Issa’s latest offer loosely tracks previous subpoena fights between House Democrats and the George W. Bush administration.
“The Committee would be willing to postpone tomorrow’s proceeding if the White House makes the same commitments to cooperate as the Bush Administration did previously,” Issa said in a letter Thursday to White House Counsel W. Neil Eggleston.
In addition to the deposition, the White House must also commit to releasing internal documents Issa has sought about the creation of the political strategy office Simas has headed since January, and to answering subsequent questions in writing, Issa wrote. Issa said his offer must be accepted Thursday.
Issa’s letter came after Eggleston wrote him earlier Thursday, complaining that Issa had failed to make any specific allegation of wrongdoing, reasserting the White House’s claim of immunity and offering to cooperate further on providing information about the office — but not Simas.
Eggleston also noted that previous investigative efforts did not require enforcement of subpoenas of the president’s top advisers to testify at a public hearing.
That triggered Issa’s latest offer.
July 22, 2014
President Barack Obama met secretly with former President Bill Clinton in the Oval Office May 1 — a meeting revealed to the public months later by a photo released by Pete Souza, the official White House photographer.
The meeting wasn’t put on the president’s public schedule, and the White House hasn’t issued a readout.
It was actually the second secret meeting Obama had with a Clinton in May. Later that month, Obama had a secret lunch with Hillary Clinton, as revealed by a Tweet from People magazine.
At the time, then-White House Press Secretary Jay Carney defended Obama’s ability to keep the public in the dark about his meetings with prominent people.
This reporter had been the pool reporter on duty and lodged a protest with Carney about the lack of transparency.
I’ve asked the White House to comment on why the public was not told of this meeting prior to the release of Souza’s picture, which appears to have been on July 11. That’s when Souza tweeted out photos for May and reporters noticed the picture.
I’ve also asked what Clinton and Obama discussed.
May 30, 2014
Outgoing White House Press Secretary Jay Carney defended President Barack Obama’s right to meet secretly with people of his choosing, blaming the lack of transparency about a lunch with Hillary Rodham Clinton Thursday in part on timing.
Just after the president announced Carney is stepping down from his post, Carney told reporters he understood the interest in the lunch, but declined to detail the internal deliberations on why it was kept off of the public schedule. His only admission was the lunch was put together late.
As I noted in Thursday’s post on Obama’s secret lunch with Hillary Clinton, the White House included a similar lunch with Clinton on the public schedule in 2013.