If there were a “Hall of Fame” for broken campaign promises, here’s one that would get in on the first ballot: “I promise if you elect me I will conduct my affairs ethically, transparently and truthfully.”
Flanked by Greek columns in 2008, then-president-in-waiting Barack Obama issued a number of lofty promises, not the least of which was his commitment to making transparency and the rule of law the “touchstones” of his presidency. This appeal to the voters who sought reform was quickly cast aside during Obama’s first term. Mandate or not, you can be sure that ethics and transparency will continue to take a back seat in Obama’s second term.
Over the last four years, we have witnessed the greatest expansion of government in modern political history and, consequently, an explosion in government scandals and abuses of power.
Here’s a partial summary of President Obama’s corruption lowlights:
Secrecy: From day one in Barack Obama’s presidency, we have seen nothing but secrecy and stonewalling. It began with the Secret Service’s White House visitor logs, many of which remain to this day under lock and key. The Obama administration made the shocking claim in court that these logs were not subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and that they would release some logs at their own discretion. Judicial Watch disagreed publicly and in court, prompting the White House to try to “persuade” us to abandon our pursuit of these records. We went another way. Judicial Watch has filed 950 FOIA requests and more than 90 lawsuits against the Obama administration on issues ranging from Obamacare to the continued funding of the criminal ACORN network; from tracking Wall Street bailout money to the unconstitutional use of czars; from White House visitor logs to the Obama administration’s attacks on the integrity of our nation’s elections. Our battles continue in court.
Bailouts: What happens when the government transforms itself into a “sugar daddy” for failing corporations? Corrupt backroom deals that reward campaign bundlers with government funds at the expense of the American taxpayer (see Solyndra). Judicial Watch has led the charge to force the release of government records detailing these bailouts – which are continuing and now include an American bailout of all of Europe.
Unconstitutional Czars: Barack Obama has circumvented the U.S. Constitution by installing into office radical leftist “czars” who exercise control of government activity with no congressional vetting or much oversight. As Judicial Watch made clear in a comprehensive czar investigation, a number of these czars have been linked to scandals, thefts and kickbacks, conflicts of interest, and radical leftist political ideologies and policies. No wonder the president has ignored the Senate’s “advice and consent” role in key presidential “czar” appointments.
Amnesty for Illegal Aliens: President Obama could not force amnesty through Congress, so he simply decided to implement his amnesty scheme through executive fiat. It began with a secret policy within the Immigration and Customs Enforcement to order the “selective deportation” of illegal aliens, allegedly with no criminal records. Judicial Watch, however, uncovered records proving that dangerous illegal immigrant criminals were given a free pass, as well. When the press got hold of the story, the president boldly and publicly imposed blanket amnesty for illegal aliens under the age of 30.
Election Fraud: The Obama campaign, with a huge “assist” from the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ), launched an all-out attack on the integrity of our elections. This campaign included abusing federal election laws to register a “Food Stamp Army” to help gather more votes for the president. It includes attacking states that try to impose election integrity measures, such as voter ID laws. It includes partnering with scandal-ridden organizations with election fraud records such as ACORN and Project Vote. It includes “legalizing” illegal aliens and disenfranchising military voters.
Fast and Furious: Operation Fast and Furious is a DOJ/Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) “gun-running” operation in which guns were sold to Mexican drug cartels in hopes that they would end up at crime scenes. Well, they did, including the crime scene of murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry – and countless other people in Mexico. The DOJ has stonewalled the release of records, leading to an unprecedented “contempt of Congress” charge against Attorney General Eric Holder. To protect Holder from prosecution, Obama has asserted an executive privilege claim over the disputed records. The terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, may have pushed Fast and Furious off the radar temporarily, but Judicial Watch is committed to getting to the truth in this critical matter.
Benghazigate: A scandal. There’s really no other way to put it, given what we now know about the murders of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other individuals in Benghazi, Libya, on the anniversary of 9/11. The evidence suggests the Obama White House lied to the press and the American people, blaming the murders in Benghazi on protests allegedly inspired by an anti-Muslim Internet video. The Obama administration knew, or should have known, that the murder of these Americans was a well-planned terrorist attack, yet advanced a false narrative to help protect Obama’s reelection prospects. Moreover, it appears that the Obama administration failed to adequately secure the American consulate in Benghazi in preparation for the 9/11 anniversary and rejected multiple request for security. And, according to CIA emails obtained by the press, someone inside the Obama administration (it remains unclear who) told the U.S. military to “stand down” instead of providing aid to the Americans under attack. With the assistance of a compliant press, the Obama administration hunkered down, refusing to answer questions until after the election. The election is now over, but the cover-up continues. The new Petraeus scandal is but another aspect of Benghazigate.
The election settled who will be our next president but it didn’t settle any of the many Obama scandals. Some in Congress, including many Republicans, will want to move on for political reasons, but Judicial Watch will continue to be your independent watchdog in Washington.
We will also seek to hold Obama to account on new scandals that will surely emerge now that the president is no longer bound by the prospect of re-election. Remember when President Obama told a Russian official that he will be able to provide greater “flexibility” after re-election? We’re about to see how broadly the president defines this term on a wide range of matters.
And if you don’t believe me, just see the words of one Obama aide, who bragged to The Washington Post that bypassing our U.S. Constitution, Congress, and the will of the American people is going to be the “new normal” in a second Obama term.
[Obama] also plans to be more aggressive in taking actions that do not require congressional approval, as he has done during the past year with an initiative that the White House has branded “We Can’t Wait.” Among them have been programs to hire veterans, assist homeowners in refinancing their mortgages and give waivers to states seeking to boost education standards.
“He does think that’s going to be the new normal,” another White House aide said.
Reuters put it this way: “Obama – now unfettered by not having to face voters again – is in position to pursue an ambitious agenda that could leave his mark on government for a generation or longer…”
So look for government agencies to use regulations to push their radical leftist agenda when they cannot get Congress to act in their interest. One sure bet, for example, is that the Obama administration will seek to silence conservative voices by regulating talk radio and the Internet. This was once an important Obama administration priority that has been on the back burner. Expect to the president to turn up the heat in an effort to preserve his radical policies for generations to come.
Our federal government, under President Obama, is off the rails and out of control. You cannot count on the political parties to right our ship of state; they’re sinking it! Independent watchdogs, a vibrant media, and citizen activism can provide the reform leadership necessary in this corrupt age.
The good news is that Judicial Watch is uniquely positioned to do the hard work of confronting the abuse and corruption of Obama’s Washington. I know many of you are disappointed in the outcome of the election. But I want you to know that JW is committed to policing our government and to protecting our constitutional system no matter who is in office. We are absolutely up to the task. Will you join us?
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton is author of the NY Times best seller “The Corruption Chronicles” and executive producer of the documentary “District of Corruption.”