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Obama Transparency Fail: White House will keep secret Big Pharma-ObamaCare meetings secret

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney

"The oil companies were allowed to craft energy policy with Dick Cheney in secret ... The industry got everything it wanted."

~Barack Obama, June 22, 2007

Remember Dick Cheney's secret energy task force, and all the nefarious influence Big Oil had over the Bush Administratation? Well, that was completely different, Obama would tell you, and far worse than Obama's secret meetings with the drug lobby, the doctor lobby, and the hospital lobby in crafting ObamaCare.

Liberal reporter Brian Beutler, who closely followed the entire debate over health-care in 2009 and 2010, has the story at TPM:

The White House has rejected a request from the House Energy and Commerce committee for information about "every meeting, briefing or telephone call" the administration had with non-governmental parties in the lead up to, and wake of, passage of the health care law.

If you don't recall, the White House had multiple meetings with the health-sector lobbies, and the biggest single-industry lobby in the country, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, had quite the say in the bill, and made out pretty well from the "reform."

Also, it's worth recalling the back story on the White House's "transparency" official rejecting this request: Bob Bauer. Here's what I wrote about Bauer:

Obama transferred "ethics czar" Norm Eisen to the Czech Republic to serve as U.S. ambassador. Some of Eisen's duties will be handed to Domestic Policy Council member Steven Croley, but most of them, it appears, will shift over to the already-full docket of White House Counsel Bob Bauer.

Bauer is renowned as a "lawyer's lawyer" and a legal expert. His resume, however, reads more "partisan advocate" than "good-government crusader." Bauer came to the White House from the law firm Perkins Coie, where he represented John Kerry in 2004 and Obama during his campaign....

On his blog, Bauer derided the notion "that politicians and parties are pictured as forever trying to get away with something," saying this was an idea for which "there is a market, its product cheaply manufactured and cheaply sold." In other words -- we keep too close an eye on our leaders.

In August 2006 Bauer blogged, "disclosure is a mostly unquestioned virtue deserving to be questioned."

Obama may not be living up to his promises of transparency, but at least Bauer is living up to his principles of opacity.

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