Opaque Obama

, Sarah Carlsruh, Leave a comment

In a Memorandum to the heads of his executive departments and agencies, President Barack Obama said that his “Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government” and will “work together to ensure the public trust.” But at an October 26th Judicial Watch education panel, U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), argued that the Obama Administration’s decided failure to be open with the American people has caused them to begin to lose the public trust.

Congressman Issa, ranking member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, presented his views on “Oversight of the Obama Administration.” He cited a myriad of examples of big government corruption, but focused on the government’s failures in housing policy and its lack of transparency in government spending.

Issa labeled both government-sponsored enterprises (GSE) and Social Security as Ponzi schemes. The government encouraged an “unsustainable concept in home ownership” by giving GSE’s such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac trillions of dollars, protested Issa, adding that the government allowed for “loan after loan [to be] granted” to people who would almost certainly need to refinance in order to meet their financial obligations.

In a Committee on Oversight and Government Reform July 2009 Staff Status Report, the Committee blamed the 2008 global financial crisis in part on the government’s affordable housing policies. In the report, the committee claimed that government-backing of institutions like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac created affordable but “dangerous lending policies which encouraged lower down payments [and] looser underwriting standards.” At the panel, Congressman Issa said that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) made “homeownership available to those who would not otherwise qualify.”

Congressman Issa, a longstanding critic of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), explained how the Obama Administration has failed to be accountable and transparent. Rep. Issa accused ACORN of merging taxpayer dollars into political activities, and called ACORN “out of control relative to its obligations.” The problem, said Congressman Issa, is a dearth of the transparency promised earlier by the Obama Administration under the banner of open government. Rep. Issa then predicted that Congress “will significantly de-fund ACORN at a federal level”—Congress has de-funded ACORN only through the end of October— but, unfortunately, many organizations currently under the ACORN umbrella will change their name and pull the same stunts. An ACORN under any other name is still an ACORN.

Sarah Carlsruh is an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia.