Another Obama promise goes down in smoke.
I wrote an article about members of Team Obama meeting lobbyists at a coffee shop, which is directly across the street from the White House. Holding these secret meetings with lobbyists off White House grounds is a way the “most transparent administrations in history” believes they can duck disclosure laws. The New York Times reported this back in June of 2010.
Now we have another story about Team Obama secretly meeting with lobbyists. This time it is being reported by Politico:
Caught between their boss’ anti-lobbyist rhetoric and the reality of governing, President Barack Obama’s aides often steer meetings with lobbyists to a complex just off the White House grounds — and several of the lobbyists involved say they believe the choice of venue is no accident.
“They’re doing it on the side. It’s better than nothing,” said immigration reform lobbyist Tamar Jacoby, who has attended meetings at the nearby Jackson Place complex and believes the undisclosed gatherings are better than none.
The White House scoffs at the notion of an ulterior motive for scheduling meetings in what are, after all, meeting rooms. But at least four lobbyists who’ve been to the conference rooms just off Lafayette Square tell POLITICO they had the distinct impression they were being shunted off to Jackson Place — and off the books — so their visits wouldn’t later be made public.
Obama’s administration has touted its release of White House visitors logs as a breakthrough in transparency, as the first White House team to reveal the comings and goings around the West Wing and the Old Executive Office Building.
The Jackson Place townhouses are a different story.
There are no records of meetings at the row houses just off Lafayette Square that house the White House Conference Center and the Council on Environmental Quality, home to two of the busiest meeting spaces. The White House can’t say who attended meetings there, or how often. The Secret Service doesn’t log in visitors or require a background check the way it does at the main gates of the White House.
Not only is Team Obama meeting with lobbyist, Team Obama is full of lobbyists.
But remember, Michelle Obama wants you to believe Obama has kept all his promises.