Sunday, January 25, 2009

Even Executive Orders Can Be Ruined by Politics...

seal of president.jpg

Have you ever read an executive order? I haven't until just today. They have their own section on the White House's website.

Obama issued two executive orders on his first full day as president. He didn't issue any on the 20th. Apparently the parties kept him busy.

The first one was on Presidential Records. Apparently they're all public now and can't be un-public-ed. It took a lot of words to say that and frankly, once I started reading it, my head began to hurt. Apparently I can't handle political doublespeak.

The second order was an ethics pledge that new appointees must take. It lists a pile of things that appointees can't do. It seems designed to keep current and former appointees from using their current and former appointments for personal gain. It sounds really good until you read section three. The text appears below.

Sec. 3. Waiver.

(a) The Director of the Office of Management and Budget, or his or her designee, in consultation with the Counsel to the President or his or her designee, may grant to any current or former appointee a written waiver of any restrictions contained in the pledge signed by such appointee if, and to the extent that, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, or his or her designee, certifies in writing (i) that the literal application of the restriction is inconsistent with the purposes of the restriction, or (ii) that it is in the public interest to grant the waiver. A waiver shall take effect when the certification is signed by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget or his or her designee.

(b) The public interest shall include, but not be limited to, exigent circumstances relating to national security or to the economy. De minimis contact with an executive agency shall be cause for a waiver of the restrictions contained in paragraph 3 of the pledge.

Read it carefully. This is loophole that you could fly a zeppelin through.

Politics can take the best intentioned idea and completely render it irrelevant. Q.E.D.

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