Obama apologists have recently been trotted out en masse to absurdly portray the Obama presidency as an entirely scandal-free citadel of piety. It is, they assure us, the political equivalent of the Vestal Virgins who guard the sacred flame. As Obama, himself, has insisted, there is not a “scintilla of scandal” to be seen.
If only it were so. In fact, however, both in scope and scan, the Obama reign is arguably the most scandal-ridden presidency in American history. Conjure up the corrupt Grant administration and one thinks of solely of Credit Mobilier. That was the scandal in which a group of businessmen impoverished their own company after reaping massive amounts of federal subsidies from government officials. Sounds like Solyndra?
Conjure up the Harding administration and one thinks singly of the Teapot Dome Scandal, where politically privileged special interests received government largesse while other, more deserving applicants, were, quite simply, ripped off. Would Obama ever do such a thing? Just ask the GM creditors who were denied bankruptcy deficiency claims while the Obama administration orchestrated a multi-billion-dollar payoff to its political cronies at the UAW.
Then, of course, there is Watergate. That’s the scandal where Richard Nixon allegedly thought about using the IRS to go after his political enemies in order to help assure his re-election. Excise the word “allegedly,” and – according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration – that is a pluperfect description of the Obama administration’s targeting of conservative opponents of his policies leading up to the 2012 presidential election.
So, at this point, one might say that Obama is tied head-to-head with the other most scandalous presidents in American history. But, not by a long shot. Each of those presidents had one major scandal – none of which cost a single, solitary life. With Obama, one hardly knows where to start. Nor when it will ever stop. And Obama’s body count includes four patriotic Americans murdered in Benghazi, scores more forced to watch their lives ebb away while Obama’s Veterans Administration callously refused them desperately needed medical treatments, and hundreds of Mexicans (and at least one American border agent) slaughtered as a result of Obama’s Fast and Furious gun-running scandal. Watergate didn’t have body bags.
Judicial Watch knows well the egregiously scandalous nature of the Obama presidency, because we have been more than instrumental in exposing many of the scandals – including those in Benghazi and at the IRS. And we have been stonewalled hundreds of times by a deceptive, dissimilating Obama administration willing to violate the federal transparency law as it desperately tries to cover the tracks of this president’s and his appointee’s scurrilous behavior.
So, is the Obama administration, as its factotums like to claim, “scandal free”? Or is it, indeed, the most scandalous presidency in U.S. history, dwarfing the ham-fisted misdeeds of even his most notorious predecessors? As erstwhile presidential candidate Al Smith used to say, “Let’s look at the record!” (or, at least of the top five Obama scandals):
- The Benghazi terrorist attack – We have already touched on this deadly scandal, in which four Americans were slaughtered while the Obama administrated focused on coming up with a transparently false cover story about an “offensive video,” rather than protecting their lives, or seeking justice for their deaths. Thanks to Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits, we now know that (1) White House commuications operatives manufactured the video cover story from whole cloth, and (2) the Obama gang (Hillary Clinton included) knew from the get-go it was a planned terrorist attack tied to al-Qaeda.
- The IRS targeting of conservative nonprofits – When this story broke in May 2013, the Obama administration, including Obama himself, was quick to blame “two lower-level employees in Cincinnati.” Subsequent investigations by Judicial Watch revealed that the Obama IRS witch hunt was orchestrated in its entirety from the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., in collaboration with Democratic officials. And the scandal we uncovered included a plan by the Obama DOJ to work with the IRS to prosecute and jail citizen opponents of Obama.
- The Operation Fast and Furious gun-running operation – Eric Holder was found in contempt of Congress, and President Obama made a remarkable assertion of executive privilege in order to protect his attorney general from prosecution and to thwart Congress’ efforts to ferret out the truth about his deadly scandal. Rather than enforce the contempt charge, the Obama Justice Department ignored it. Only after Judicial Watch secured key court victories separately against the Justice Department did Congress, after two years of getting nowhere, get many of the documents it had been seeking. The Fast and Furious guns are being used in crimes to this day.
- Obamacare – Again, where does one start – and when does it stop? According the Free Beacon, Obama lied to the American people with his promise, “If you like your health insurance, you can keep it,” a total of 36 times between 2008 and 2013. To make matters even worse, last year Judicial Watch obtained 94 eye-popping pages of documents from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services revealing that top Obama administration officials knew of, but concealed, security breaches within Obamacare’s website in the months leading up to the catastrophic rollout in order to protect Obama’s political interests rather than public safety.
- Executive order abuse – Using these unilateral executive actions to thwart laws against illegal immigration, enact a mortgage relief program, revamp the student loan debt program, strengthen the Federal Drug Administration’s power to ration prescription drugs, wreak regulatory havoc through the EPA, undo bipartisan welfare-reform law, and impose Common Core, Obama has acted more as despot than as a president.
Outrageous as they are, those “Top Five” Obama scandals are only the proverbial tip of the catastrophic iceberg that, if allowed to continue unchecked, threatens to sink the Ship of State. With the abetment and abatement of a sycophantic mainstream media President Obama has turned willfully scandalous behavior into a cottage industry. Hillary Clinton’s stealing and supposedly destroying government records, while turning her Secretary of State office into a cash machine for her personal and political coffers is corruption both petty and massive. You can see how the scandals of past presidencies, serious though some may have been, pale in comparison to the depth and breadth of the Obama’s corruption.
Tom Fitton is president of Judicial Watch, author of the NY Times best-seller The Corruption Chronicles and executive producer of the documentary District of Corruption.