Restricting Criticism: White House Makes Another Move

Language that send a chill up your spine. The following concerns a White House blog: Update on Recovery Act Lobby Rules: New Limits on Special Interest Influence. Attempting to silence all criticism of the Porkulus Bill, the White House is not the slightest intimidated about putting the plan right on the White House blog. This is the kind of language that should send a chill up your spine.

White House

This from Mark Tapscott at the Washington Times who writes: “This is the Camel’s nose under the tent, being poked…”

Check out this passage from a post on the White House blog by Norm Eisen, Special Counsel to the President on Ethics and Government Reform (emphasis added): [red text Maggie’s Notebook]

“First, we will expand the restriction on oral communications to cover all persons, not just federally registered lobbyists. For the first time, we will reach contacts not only by registered lobbyists but also by unregistered ones, as well as anyone else exerting influence on the process. We concluded this was necessary under the unique circumstances of the stimulus program.

“Second, we will focus the restriction on oral communications to target the scenario where concerns about merit-based decision-making are greatest –after competitive grant applications are submitted and before awards are made. Once such applications are on file, the competition should be strictly on the merits. To that end, comments (unless initiated by an agency official) must be in writing and will be posted on the Internet for every American to see.

“Third, we will continue to require immediate internet disclosure of all other communications with registered lobbyists. If registered lobbyists have conversations or meetings before an application is filed, a form must be completed and posted to each agency’s website documenting the contact.”

The key passage is the reference to expanding regulation from registered lobbyists to “anyone else exerting influence on the process. We concluded this was necessary under the unique circumstances of the stimulus program.”

Please read the entire post at Mark Tapscott for links and commentary. H/T to Hot Air, also with great commentary.

Then visit ShopFloor who notes that the same restrictions being put into place “do not apply to people like corporate executives or officials.” […and the officials are ???] and asks these questions:

What exactly is “the merits?” How do we determine what these merits are? Apparently not through oral communication, i.e., “Oh, hi, Bill. That’s a good project.” No phone calls, either.

Everyday we hear about the next White House move. With each move, we lose a bit of our independence. Restricting criticism???

fas⋅cism

Noun – A governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.

Photo credit: Michael Eklund-Grayum