Thomas Gallatin / June 28, 2022

The Non-Transparent Biden Administration

It keeps ignoring Freedom of Information Act requests because it doesn’t want its agenda exposed.

“His objective and his commitment is to bring transparency and truth back to government,” then-White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki declared on the day Joe Biden took office. The statement was an obvious dig at the departing Donald Trump and an underhanded effort to further the Democrats’ dubious talking point that the former president was an unprecedented liar. In a town that makes its living practicing the art of deceit, the claim was an eye-rolling doozy.

Of course, Biden’s base, which had so willingly bought the lies about Trump being a bigoted racist and a fascist to boot, ate it up like it was the gospel truth. However, like Biden’s call for unity during his inaugural speech, it was all talk and no action — a virtue signal designed to be mistaken as an actual act of virtue.

So, just how transparent has the “most transparent” administration in U.S. history been? The answer, unsurprisingly, is not very. Indeed, a more fitting adjective would be “opaque,” as the more Team Biden has been pushed for information into its agenda and inner workings, the more opaque the administration has become.

Just a few examples serve to underscore this reality. Following a trip taken by several members of Biden’s Cabinet last year to the United Nations Climate Change Conference, Protect the Public’s Trust (PPT) requested information as to “how much funding and how many resources were devoted to send staff overseas” in light of the pandemic, as well as “the telework agreement of the people who had gone overseas.” The question was, “Were they teleworking at home, but then flew to Scotland [to attend] an in-person conference?” Biden’s Department of Energy never responded, even after the PPT filed Freedom of Information Act (FIOA) requests.

The Biden administration does try to put on a good front, though. Attorney General Merrick Garland sent out a memo this past March directing agencies to “work constructively” with “the FIOA requester community to improve processing capacities, reduce backlogs, and make government more transparent, responsive, and accountable.” Garland even claimed that “transparency in government operations is a priority of this Administration and this Department.” Is it, though?

Another serious matter in which the Biden administration has been resistant to transparency has to do with his executive order from March 2021 wherein he directed agencies to “expand citizens’ opportunities to register to vote and to obtain information about, and participate in, the electoral process.” This order, as our own Douglas Andrews recently noted, was a “scheme to rig the 2022 midterms.”

What this “Get Out the Vote” actually looks like is hard to tell; the details have been effectively hidden by the Biden administration from public view. As The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway noted, “Dozens of members of Congress have repeatedly asked for details, to no avail.” Several FIOA requests have been filed, and still the administration is resistant, clearly seeking to hide how exactly it is going about seeking to influence/rig the midterm elections to favor Democrats. This type of partisan politics is supposed to be illegal, which likely explains why the Biden administration has been so opaque about what its members are doing.

The Biden administration likes to talk about being transparent while engaging in just the opposite, because standing on truth and sticking to principles that are designed to hold both political parties accountable do not help it further its political agenda.

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