Jun 1, 2009 29 Comments ›› Erik Wong
In a May, 29, 2009 posting on the WhiteHouse.gov website by Norm Eisen, Special Counsel to [Alleged] President Obama for Ethics and Government Reform, it is disclosed that the public will be included in a restriction barring lobbyists from having oral communications with government officials about specific Recovery Act Projects. Instead, the public is limited to redressing their government through the written word.
“I am writing with an update on the Presidentâ€™s March 20, 2009 Memorandum on Ensuring Responsible Spending of Recovery Act Funds. Section 3 of the Memorandum…barred registered lobbyists from having oral communications with government officials about specific Recovery Act projects or applications and instead required those communications to be in writing…First, we will expand the restriction on oral communications to cover all persons, not just federally registered lobbyists…We concluded this was necessary under the unique circumstances of the stimulus program.”
The new restriction, although it does not transgress the rights of the American people to redress their government — the option of writing elected officials or visiting their offices in person to register a complaint or comment is still available to the public — severely limits public accessibility to elected officials on matters of governmental performance.