Wednesday, April 20, 2011

On Transparency and Waivers

Politico reported this morning that the Administration is weighing a draft executive order that would require government contractors to disclose their contributions to political groups. (As most unions don’t directly contract with the government, they would conveniently be exempted from this requirement, as would liberal organizations like ACORN and Planned Parenthood that receive government grants.)  The timing of this article is intriguing, as it comes one day after press reports noted that House Republicans have contacted outside industry groups asking them for details of their contacts with the White House regarding the health care law – because the White House itself rejected multiple requests from Congress to disclose documents, claiming such disclosure would require a “vast and expensive” undertaking.  So in sum: The Administration SUPPORTS requiring corporations (but not unions) to disclose their political contributions, but OPPOSES disclosing its own backroom dealings with unions and other special interest allies to get Obamacare passed.  Got that?

Separately, the Associated Press reported yesterday on another round of temporary Obamacare waivers granted by the Administration – this one to seniors in Medicare Advantage.  The multi-billion dollar “reprieve” granted by the Administration “could head off service cuts that would have been a [political] headache for Obama and Democrats in next year’s elections.”  (On a related note, doesn’t it appear slightly contradictory that the Administration is calling for a supposedly apolitical “panel of experts” to enforce caps on Medicare spending, while simultaneously increasing spending on Medicare Advantage to avoid political headaches during the 2012 campaign?)

Many may view both the latest round of waivers for seniors, and the Administration’s continued refusal to disclose information regarding its dealings with special interest groups, as a mere continuation of the backroom deals that epitomized Democrats’ unpopular 2700-page health care law.