A federal judge ordered the Obama Administration to release a government-wide directive on foreign aid that was signed by the president in 2010.
As many people are aware, President Obama often circumvents Congress and public scrutiny with an extensive use of executive orders and reliance on executive privilege to keep documents and policy directives secret.
One such document was the Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development, a report that was shared far beyond the president’s circle of advisers. The Department of Justice has maintained that the document is protected by executive privilege, even though the information in it is not classified and it was directed at agencies, not specific personnel.
On Tuesday, the “most transparent” Administration was told by District Court Judge Ellen Huvelle that the directive was not properly within the bounds of “presidential communications privilege.”
Ruling on a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the Center for Effective Government, Huvelle said there is “no evidence that the [directive] was intended to be, or has been treated as, a confidential presidential communication” and that “its substance was widely discussed by the president in the media.”
Huvelle also lectured the Administration on its expansive use of secret orders to run the government.
“The government appears to adopt the cavalier attitude that the President should be permitted to convey orders throughout the Executive Branch without public oversight … to engage in what is in effect governance by ‘secret law,’” Huvelle wrote.
The Obama Administration will now be required to make the directive public. It’s unknown why this document was treated as “eyes only” in the first place, since the White House even has a fact sheet about it on its website here.
This is just one instance where the Administration has tried to operate like some sort of shadow conspiracy rather than a representative republican government.
Congress needs to stop sitting on its thumb and investigate the operations of this Administration. The list of scandals and abuses is already so long that it’s hard to know where to begin. There’s no sense in waiting any longer to drag the Administration into the light of day.