Say What?? The Most Transparent Administration Ever?

July 3, 2012

Appearing on Sunday's CNN’s State of the Union, White House Chief of Staff and former OMB Director Jack Lew called the Obama administration the “most transparent ever.” Lew’s surprising declaration whitewashes the Obama administration’s stonewall on Solyndra, including his own starring role as the recipient of the committee’s first Solyndra subpoena. One day after taking office, on January 21, 2009, President Obama proclaimed, “transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.” All one has to do is look at the response to the committee’s Solyndra investigation to realize the Obama administration has failed to live up to the president’s lofty rhetoric.

Flashback to July 2011 - Committee Subpoenas Lew for Solyndra Docs:

Lew’s comments are particularly curious as he was at the center of the first subpoena issued in the Solyndra investigation in July of 2011.

The Obama OMB, which Jack Lew headed in 2011, failed to comply with committee requests for documents pertaining to the $535 million stimulus loan guarantee to Solyndra. Although OMB was responsible for reviewing and approving the Credit Subsidy Costs of all DOE loan guarantees, the agency stonewalled for nearly four months, forcing the committee to issue a subpoena to Lew in July of 2011.   

After missing deadlines for full document production, OMB eventually started to cooperate late last summer. It was those OMB documents that confirmed the Solyndra loan guarantee was rushed and that OMB and DOE experts were warning that Solyndra was “not ready for prime time,” that approval was “premature,” and the financial “model runs out of cash.”

Despite OMB’s eventual cooperation with the committee’s subpoena, the White House has been less than forthcoming in the Solyndra investigation. In November 2011, the committee was forced to issue subpoenas to Lew’s predecessor, then White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley and Executive Office of the Vice President Chief of Staff Bruce Reed, for all internal Solyndra-related communications.

Stonewalling until Congress is forced to issue subpoenas is hardly emblematic of an administration that claims it is “the most transparent ever.”