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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Obama Breaks Campaign Pledge

The Cato Institute notes that President Obama seems to be slipping in one of the key promises he made on the campaign trail- full disclosure of the Federal government’s actions in regards to legislation, so we never have a fiasco like the 1,100-page PATRIOT Act being passed in a manner of hours.

On the campaign trail, President Obama promised to post bills online for five days before signing them.

Last week, President Obama signed three new bills into law. None of them received the promised “Sunlight Before Signing” treatment – at least, not as far as our research reveals. (The White House has yet to establish a uniform place on its Web site where the public can look for bills that the President has received from Congress.)

According to the official list of legislation, President Obama has had a five-day waiting period on only two out of fourteen bills to come across his desk. Of course, that’s including things like “P.L. 111-7, A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 2105 East Cook Street in Springfield, Illinois, as the “Colonel John H. Wilson, Jr. Post Office Building”.

But given that, this should be a pretty simple thing for him to do. Sorry, Mr. President, but just because your eons better than the last guy doesn’t give you free reign to ignore your promises. I’m looking for “Good”, not “Good enough”.


  1. Moo Means Hello

    this was still being worked on.

    “I direct the Chief Technology Officer, in coordination with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Administrator of General Services, to coordinate the development by appropriate executive departments and agencies, within 120 days, of recommendations for an Open Government Directive, to be issued by the Director of OMB, that instructs executive departments and agencies to take specific actions implementing the principles set forth in this memorandum. The independent agencies should comply with the Open Government Directive.”

  2. vcalzone

    Aren’t a TON of times I agree with CATO, but this is one of them. I want this done, I want this in place, I want transparency. This was easily one of the most important issues for me during the campaign, and it’s one of the easiest ones to push through on, because it doesn’t require Congress or a political battle.

    As Obama rightly said regarding torture, posting the bills and posting the meetings and posting the nitty-gritty spending details is hard, and it makes it harder to get stuff done. But it’s what is the right thing to do, and that’s what can make American democracy for the people once again.

  3. HappyinVT

    but I’ve never quite understood why this is even coming from the White House (or why Obama campaigned on it coming from the White House).  Bills rightly are already posted on the web by Congress.  It should be Congress who has a spot to post the final bill in it’s final form once it is passed by both houses.

    Finally, isn’t it a little late to put the spotlight on the bill once it’s been passed by Congress?  The sunlight needs to come a bit sooner than when it’s about to be signed by the president.

    Having said all that, since he campaigned on it, the dude needs to follow through.  Can’t be that difficult.

  4. creamer

    It’s been one hundred days. Two wars, finacial tsunami, health care, budget, international relations.

    He’s has not said he changed his mind about transparency, its just not done yet.

  5. apocryphaleffigy

    the frustration of campaign promises broken and while I’d like to see them all implemented as well, I won’t be terrribly surprised when they aren’t.

    I supported Obama and I continue to do so, but I also understood that he is a politician and I won’t hold that against him. Obama appealed to my loftiest ideals, but by and large these weren’t realistically attainable and I knew that.

    I have agreed with the majority of his decisions thus far so not getting it all is acceptable to me. It’s more than just ‘well, he’s better than the last guy’ it’s that he is an exceptional person guiding this country with its best interests in mind. He is doing difficult work in difficult times, balancing a host of competing opinions and interests and he’s required to do so within a predefined framework. An exceptional man indeed but in the end merely a man.

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