TRANSPARENCY: Benghazi Emails Directly Contradict White House Claims.
TRANSPARENCY: One hospital charges $8,000 — another, $38,000. “Consumers on Wednesday will finally get some answers about one of modern life’s most persistent mysteries: how much medical care actually costs. For the first time, the federal government will release the prices that hospitals charge for the 100 most common inpatient procedures. Until now, these charges have been closely held by facilities that see a competitive advantage in shielding their fees from competitors. What the numbers reveal is a health-care system with tremendous, seemingly random variation in the costs of services.”
You could do more for real cost control by requiring hospitals to publish fixed prices for most procedures than from any amount of bureaucratic fiddling — though such an approach would provide disappointingly few opportunities for graft.
TRANSPARENCY: Another lawsuit filed for EPA official’s private emails. “Yet another Environmental Protection Agency official used his private email account to conduct government business, according to a lawsuit from the watchdog that has recently exposed similar transparency violations at the agency. . . . Federal law and EPA policy bans conducting public work from from personal accounts, in order to facilitate government transparency. In February, another regional administrator resigned in the midst of an investigation into his use of a private account for government work. Before that, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson resigned as lawmakers investigated her use of a private email account under the alias ‘Richard Windsor.’”
TRANSPARENCY: Obscuring regulation: How the Obama administration violates its own executive order. “In Sunstein’s rendering, it appears that everyone is responsible for the shape and scope of environmental policy in this administration. Which means no one is accountable.”
Acting Administrator Robert Persiacepe circulated an agency-wide warning to Environmental Protection Agency employees yesterday about complying with the federal Freedom of Information Act.
Persiacepe’s memo was issued as EPA faces a growing controversy in the news media and federal courts sparked by revelations earlier this year that his predecessor used a fake email name to conduct official business. . . .
The EPA has been hit with a series of lawsuits seeking emails and instant messages and accusing the agency of hiding information from watchdog groups. The most recent lawsuit, filed last week by the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the American Traditions Institute, seeks to force the agency to disclose how evenly its transparency policies are applied to environmental groups and transparency watchdogs.
“It is clear from Bob Perciasepe’s memo that our IM lawsuit prompted discovery of more EPA violations of record-keeping and disclosure laws,” said Chris Horner, lead attorney in the EPA FOIA suit. ”His mention of IMs for the first time publicly indicates EPA is about to reveal whether it has been sloppy, deceitful, or possibly even criminal in its refusals to turn these records over to FOIA requesters and Congress.”
Horner said he suspects the EPA has been destroying IM chat records to avoid being forced to release them.
Sylvia Burwell, President Obama’s nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), told Congress that she’s “uncomfortable” with the idea of promising to publish the Obama administration’s regulatory agenda by the legally-deadline.
“Because I don’t know the facts behind what happened, that’s why I’m uncomfortable making a commitment, because I don’t know the facts behind the issue,” Burwell told Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, today during a Senate hearing.
Obama did not release a regulatory agenda in 2012 until December — “after the election, incidentally,” Portman observed — despite a law and a Bill Clinton executive order requiring that the White House release an agenda in the spring and fall of each year.
Portman wrote two letters about the issue to Obama last year, but never received a response.
They’re transparent, all right. You can see right through them.
TRANSPARENCY: Air Force Erases Drone Data.
TRANSPARENCY: Obama: ‘Clear out the press so we can take questions.’
TRANSPARENCY: McCain claims ‘massive cover-up’ on Benghazi.
TRANSPARENCY: EPA inspector general probing agency head’s use of private email account. “Flying somewhat below the media radar this week is the news that the Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general is looking into whether agency head Lisa Jackson used a private email account with the alias “Richard Windsor” for official business, thus circumventing federal transparency laws for official communications, including the Freedom of Information Act. . . . The EPA has acknowledged Jackson uses the Windsor account but downplayed its significance, arguing extra accounts are necessary to deal with the sheer volume of emails they receive.”
Yeah, but if there’s nothing to hide, why the fake name?
TRANSPARENCY: EPA inspector general audits agency’s use of secret email accounts. “The use of these [hidden] accounts could seriously impair records collection, preservation, and access, therefore compromising transparency and oversight.” I’m pretty sure that’s the point. . . .
TRANSPARENCY: Big Mo for putting C-SPAN cameras on ‘fiscal cliff’ talks. Plus, why doesn’t David Gregory want voters to know what’s going on?
A conservative Washington think tank will file suit Tuesday seeking to force Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to make public more than 7,300 internal emails circulated in recent months among senior executives in his department about a carbon tax proposal officials say taxpayers don’t need to know about.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute will file the suit in federal district court tomorrow because Treasury Department officials denied the non-profit organization’s request for a waiver of reproduction fees under the federal Freedom of Information Act.
Treasury officials also told CEI that the cost of photocopying the emails in order to make them public would not be worth the cost because doing so “would not significantly inform the public about the operations or activities of government.”
There would be no reproduction costs, however, because, according to CEI, the non-profit told Treasury it would accept an electronic version of the emails.
It’s almost like the Treasury was acting in bad faith.
TRANSPARENCY: Reason writers on who they’re voting for. Mostly Gary Johnson among those who are voting at all, but most think Obama would be worse than Romney. The “Liberaltarianism” and “Obamatarianism” bubbles of 2008 seem to have quite thoroughly burst.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Transparency: “Prospective students who are considering colleges in Virginia can now use a Web tool to see how much money newly minted graduates of individual academic programs earn, with data that is broken out by college and major.”
TRANSPARENCY: Liberal Group With Ties to Unions Ends Donor Disclosure.
TRANSPARENCY: Democratic Convention won’t release donors’ names?
TRANSPARENCY: White House TSA petition goes dark as it nears the finish line, disappears when the lights come back on. “A White House petition about the TSA’s screening procedures was 90 percent of the way to completion when Wired ran a story giving it a final push. The White House’s petition site went down for unannounced maintenance, and when it came back up, the petition had ‘expired’ — though the Electronic Privacy Information Center says it still had time left on the clock.”
TRANSPARENCY: W.H. declines to address off-site meetings. “Carney dodged questions about White House officials arranging official meetings at a coffee shop near the White House to avoid having names of who he was meeting with show up on official White House visitor logs.”
TRANSPARENCY: “Lost amid the hilarity of watching Senator Dianne Feinstein do a Cory Booker impersonation by denying she meant what she said about White House leaks was another, and perhaps more significant, retraction. The Department of Justice had to file a motion admitting that the CIA had found numerous documents that should have been released in a Freedom of Information Act request from Judicial Watch about White House interaction with filmmakers producing a movie about the killing of Osama bin Laden. . . . Well … oopsie! This relates directly to the issue around which Feinstein danced yesterday, which is the intentional leaking of national-security information to burnish the reputation of Barack Obama.”
TRANSPARENCY: Worst TB Outbreak in 20 Years Kept Secret.
UPDATE: Chuck Simmins emails:
While I did write a piece on this at Examiner, I don’t feel a lot of outrage over the secrecy issue. Public health officials do it all the time. They can read the media, too, and remember the Alar scare, the anthrax scare, the smallpox scare, the SARS scare, the bird flu scare… I think they’re entirely justified in believing that the story might not be covered in a fair and balanced manner.
The criticism of the closing of the TB hospital is total BS. It was one of four remaining in the entire US. Medicine has advanced enough that we no longer need to ship TB patients off to a sanitarium. Closing it and saving the money was a good call.
The CDC report should have created a little more reaction than it did. Florida clearly dropped the ball at the state level. Duval County is whining about budget cuts but they have funds for childhood obesity programs, youth risk behavior surveys and other, less deadly, conditions. I suspect that the public health folks of Duval County have forgotten that job one in PH has always been disease control and prevention. Malaria and yellow fever, and smallpox, in the US disappeared because of that and TB ought to have a similar priority.
Yes, the public health people seem more interested in trendy causes and social control than in disease eradication these days.
TRANSPARENCY: Auto Retirees Finally Get Bailout Docs.
It’s a rare day in the nation’s capital when news comes that somebody has received 62,000 documents concerning one of the federal government’s most expensive and controversial programs of the past decade.
But that’s what happened today as the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association (DSRA) announced that it received the “first tranche” of documents from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) concerning the government’s conduct in the termination of the former auto parts company’s pension plan.
More at the link.
TRANSPARENCY: The State Of Open Records Laws: Access Denied.
You wouldn’t think you’d have to go to the state of Tennessee to get factual information about operations at the federal Y-12 nuclear weapons plant, but that’s the situation — especially as regards the environmental activities.
Info is always tough to come by at Y-12, in part because of high security and classification issues, but that’s multiplied in an election year. Or so it seems.
Earlier this year I asked the Y-12 public affairs folks about the operation of Lake Reality, which was constructied in the 1980s to help stem pollutant releases into East Fork Poplar Creek, and I got stony silence in return. There was apparently a complete lockdown on information because Energy Secretary Steven Chu misspoke during a Senate hearing. Nobody would say a word.
Well, it is an election year.
TRANSPARENCY: FCC Approves New Rule on Political TV Advertising.
The Federal Communications Commission approved new regulations Friday requiring broadcasters to publish political advertising data online, a move that could shed light on who is trying to influence elections amid unprecedented campaign spending.
Television stations already are required to track purchases of political advertising and make the information publicly available, but posting it on the Web will make it easier to access. Only stations affiliated with ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox in the top 50 media markets will be required to post data on new ad buys this year, with smaller stations expected to follow in 2014.
I’d like to see the New York Times’ advertising figures, too. Since they supported this rule, perhaps they’ll provide them. . . .
TRANSPARENCY: Broadcasters Scramble To Hide Political-Ad Data. “With the Federal Communications Commission set to vote Friday on whether to require broadcasters to post political ad data online, the industry has been scrambling to water down the proposed rule.” Transparency for thee, but not for me!
LEGAL EDUCATION UPDATE: Now That’s Transparency: ‘Most Honest Law School’ Admits a Graduate Is Employed as a ‘Sheep Farmer.’ Plus depressing news on Michigan job placement generally.
TRANSPARENCY: FOIA Data Suggest FCC More Secretive Than CIA.
TRANSPARENCY: D.C. Council TV feed cut as Kwame Brown questioned on ethics. “The live television coverage of a D.C. Council news conference was cut on Tuesday as Council Chairman Kwame Brown was being asked a question about the council’s ethical lapses and poor approval ratings last year.”
TRANSPARENCY: Did You Miss The Thanksgiving White House Visitor-Log Document Dump? “Why aren’t WaPo and the NYTimes crowd-sourcing the White House visitor log data like they did Sarah Palin’s e-mails? Hmmm?”
TRANSPARENCY: Exposing the Cost of Health Care. “Most Americans don’t know what medical procedures cost until after the fact. One startup aims to change that.”
TRANSPARENCY: Congress Slashes Financial Watchdog.
TRANSPARENCY: CREW calls for investigation into use of private email accounts at SEC. “Today Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) called on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Inspector General (IG), H. David Kotz, to investigate reports that SEC employees are using private email accounts to conduct agency business. According to a report in Bloomberg, these actions were taken with the express purpose of evading a series of recent IG investigations.”
TRANSPARENCY: Supercommittee’s secrecy disappoints Republican House freshmen. Hey, you think you’re disappointed now . . .
TRANSPARENCY: DOJ Proposes Letting Government Deny Existence of Sensitive Documents. “A longtime internal policy that allowed Justice Department officials to deny the existence of sensitive information could become the law of the land — in effect a license to lie — if a newly proposed rule becomes federal regulation in the coming weeks. The proposed rule directs federal law enforcement agencies, after personnel have determined that documents are too delicate to be released, to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests ‘as if the excluded records did not exist.’”
This is disgraceful.
FORDHAM BAKE SALE PROMOTES TRANSPARENCY: “Frankly, the Fordham Bake Sale sounds awesome. It reflects that underrepresented minorities receive advantages — but it also points out all the ways the college admissions process isn’t exactly an academics-based meritocratic one. Instead, it reflects all the ways college has become about so much more — and so much less — than education.”
House Republicans are demanding White House paperwork related to a $535 million loan guarantee to a solar company that filed for bankruptcy this week.
The Republicans are probing the White House role in the 2009 federal loan guarantee to Solyndra Inc., a California solar company that announced this week it is shutting down and filing for bankruptcy.
The shutdown is a bit of an embarrassment for the administration, as the company was the first selected to receive the loan guarantee under a new program. President Obama visited the company just more than a year ago to tout White House green energy efforts.
Ah, why get excited about a few hundred million when we’re busy squandering trillions?
TRANSPARENCY: House GOPers losing patience with Obama stall on Solyndra loan guarantee documents. “A House Energy and Commerce Committee subcommittee months ago asked President Obama’s Office of Management and Budget for documents concerning a $335 million federal loan guarantee given to a politically correct clean energy firm. Some of the documents were provided, but many more have been withheld without explanation. Making matters worse, Jack Lew, Obama’s OMB Director, failed to clear the way for the key official within his agency on the loan guarantee – OMB deputy director Jeffrey Zients – to testify before the subcommittee to explain why the documents had not been provided. So committee leaders are now preparing to consider issuing a subpoena.”
TRANSPARENCY: PJ Media Sues Department Of Defense For Climate Conference Info. “The original request was kicked all the way up to the office of the secretary of defense. There’s no valid reason to make it this difficult for PJMedia to get basic information unless the administration has something to hide.”
TRANSPARENCY: 49 House members demand probe of Kagan involvement in ObamaCare. “Did Elena Kagan mislead the Senate Judiciary Committee during her confirmation hearing when answering questions about her level of involvement in ObamaCare? Forty-nine House members have signed a letter to the House Judiciary Committee demanding an investigation of that question, as new documents suggest that the now-Supreme Court Justice helped the Obama administration craft legal defenses for the law. The signatories argue that this should require Kagan to recuse herself from considering the appeals that will likely arrive at the Supreme Court from three different appellate circuits.” I assume all the recent attacks on Clarence Thomas were just an attempt to preemptively muddy the waters here.
TRANSPARENCY: Obama: “I’m working on gun control under the radar.”
TRANSPARENCY: Obama Administration “Slow-walking” Document Requests.
TRANSPARENCY: Secretive Obama Campaign Won’t Reveal Fundraising Numbers. Can you make a credit card donation from overseas, like last time?
UPDATE: Obama ‘transparency’ Executive Order targets administration enemies. Doesn’t everything, these days? And yet the number of “enemies” keeps growing.
TRANSPARENCY: When Facts Are Not Enough.
THE NEW TRANSPARENCY: As opaque as the old. “It seems that when it comes to government transparency, we’ve had more hope than change.”
TRANSPARENCY: Politico: “President Obama finally and quietly accepted his ‘transparency’ award from the open government community this week — in a closed, undisclosed meeting at the White House on Monday. The secret presentation happened almost two weeks after the White House inexplicably postponed the ceremony, which was expected to be open to the press pool.”
TRANSPARENCY: CBO: Obama understates deficits by $2.3 trillion. Well, in fairness, you can see right through them.
TRANSPARENCY: Three Basic Considerations.
TRANSPARENCY: C-SPAN Barred From Covering Obama’s First Gridiron.
TRANSPARENCY: U.S. Gov‘t Software Creates ’Fake People’ to Spread Message via Social Networking. “The US government is offering private intelligence companies contracts to create software to manage “fake people” on social media sites and create the illusion of consensus on controversial issues. The contract calls for the development of ‘Persona Management Software’ which would help the user create and manage a variety of distinct fake profiles online. The job listing was discussed in recently leaked emails from the private security firm HBGary after an attack by internet activist last week.”
TRANSPARENCY: Obama Administration Censors Nuke Report.
TRANSPARENCY: White House Won’t Send Economists To Defend The Stimulus: Don Surber comments: “If the White House were proud of its stimulus, it would volunteer economists by the dozen. The most expensive failure in history.”
TRANSPARENCY: Chaffetz Calls For FOIA to Apply To Fannie and Freddie. “The move comes after Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, discovered that taxpayers were actually paying for the millions of dollars of legal fees of former Fannie and Freddie executives charged with crimes associated with their work.”
TRANSPARENCY: Executive order: Gov. Haslam throws out income disclosure rules. “Under the order signed after Haslam took office on Saturday, the disclosure rules applying to himself and senior administration officials will be the same as those for members of the General Assembly. Those only requires them to list sources of income, but not how much they make.” No, I don’t know what this is about, but it looks bad.
UPDATE: Reader Frank Meyer writes:
I agree that it looks bad, however equity in disclosure is not an unreasonable standard. An appropriate retort by the governor or the governor’s defenders would be: “If the legislature determines that greater disclosure is warranted, let it pass legislation to require such disclosure for its own members and for other civil officers of the state, and I will sign it. What I won’t do is be held to a higher standard than the legislature sets for itself.”
On the other hand perhaps , like the state legislators, he’s just turning out the lights to keep the public in the dark about the pecuniary interests that influence his deliberations and actions. If voters are incensed about this, they should look for candidates who will commit to the level of disclosure they deem needful. In the end, people get the quality of government they deserve, especially in a polity which delivers the choice of civil magistrates into their hands.
TRANSPARENCY: House Panel Wants Homeland Security Documents: “A House committee has asked the Homeland Security Department to provide documents about an agency policy that required political appointees to review many Freedom of Information Act requests, according to a letter obtained Sunday by The Associated Press. . . . The political appointees wanted information about those requesting the materials, and in some cases the release of documents considered politically sensitive was delayed, according to numerous e-mails that were obtained by the AP. . . . According to the directive, political aides were to review requests related to Obama policy priorities, or anything related to controversial or sensitive subjects. Requests from journalists, lawmakers and activist groups were to also to be examined.”
Under FOIA, the identity of the requestor is legally irrelevant. Politically, not so much I guess.
TRANSPARENCY: Kentucky Legislature Puts Salaries and Expenses Online.
TRANSPARENCY: School District Puts Checkbook Online.
TRANSPARENCY: IG report shows Obama WH rewrote Gulf spill report to support moratorium. Well, you can see right through these guys. . . .
Plus this: “This is no mere academic exercise. Thousands of people lost their jobs because of this supposed instance of sloppy editing, and the delay it created in safe exploration and drilling may impact the region for years, as well as America’s energy independence.”
TRANSPARENCY: Obama Ordered to Release Names of Clemency Seekers.
TRANSPARENCY: Eizo’s X-ray pin-up calendar.
TRANSPARENCY: MTV, Obama Astroturf A Town Hall.
TRANSPARENCY: The Hill: Watchdog group waiting for Obama to fulfill ethics pledge for online hub. “Despite a campaign pledge, the Obama administration so far has failed to set up a central online hub for all of the government’s ethics information.”
TRANSPARENCY: Financial crisis panel stonewalls Congress.
TRANSPARENCY: Key Senate Democrat: Financial reform bill was wrong to exempt SEC from FOIA requests. Maybe if these guys would, you know, read the bills before they’re passed. . . .
TRANSPARENCY: Watchdog wants investigation of White House e-mails. “A liberal watchdog has called for an investigation into whether White House employees are using personal e-mail accounts to contact lobbyists in violation of federal law. . . . The letter also takes White House staff to task for meeting with lobbyists in nearby coffee shops instead of in the White House, where the meetings would be recorded in the White House visitor logs.”
TRANSPARENCY: Ag Department Shuts Down Embarrassing Subsidies Database. “The federal farm bureaucrats naturally opted out of disclosing how much they were paying people like former ABC News White House correspondent Sam Donaldson and multi-millionaire David Rockefeller not to grow crops. No doubt the decision was made to ‘save tax dollars.’”
UPDATE: Reader Bart Hall emails:
I farm for a living — meaning that neither of us has a job off the farm, and we refuse to accept one cent of federal farm subsidy.
These people make me want to barf. Or load and lock. The entire system is unbelievably corrupted. Eight “farmers” in South Dakota receive 93% of the total subsidy money for that state. We can’t even talk about the insane water subsidies for California growers that give them a 2 dollar per box advantage for selling lettuce into my own back yard — all of it paid with my tax money.
TRANSPARENCY: Treasury to TARP Inspector General: Drop Dead.
TRANSPARENCY: Scorned Mistress of Married Obama Adviser Posts Billboards Nationwide. “YaVaughnie Wilkins posted the signs after she learned that her lover, Charles E. Phillips — president and director of the tech conglomerate Oracle Corporation and a member of Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board — had reconciled with his wife, the New York Post reported.”
TRANSPARENCY: Pelosi to Public, C-SPAN: Drop Dead.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Transparency: Man reviewing intel center also created and ran it. “Why not just hire TAC to review itself? That would follow the ACORN example, at least. Having the man who ran and designed the system as the leader of an investigation by definition makes it anything but ‘independent’.”
The stink surrounding the Pelosi-Waxman-Markey cap-and-tax bill has become vomit-inducing overnight. Representative Waxman has decided to replace the 1091-page bill with a 300-page bill that will be debated for no longer than three hours today. So your elected representatives will have virtually no time to debate the merits of an economy-spanning bill they will not have had time to read. Speaker Pelosi and her sidekick Waxman are displaying nothing more than complete contempt for the democratic process.
If you’re as utterly disgusted by this as I am, you can send a message to Pelosi and her cronies by telling your Congressmen to vote against this bill. You can e-mail them, call them (202-225-3121), or text the National Taxpayers Union on 54608 and they will help.
This is not the “more open government” we were promised.
UPDATE: Email link was bad before; fixed now. Plus, Bill Allison of the Sunlight Foundation writes:
I think the Corner was a little off on what’s going on with Cap ‘n Trade. We’re not shrinking to a 300 page bill, we’re adding those 300 pages to the 1,201 page bill, ballooning up to a 1,501 page bill.
Here’s an excerpt from Paul Blumenthal’s latest:
1. The original bill, H.R. 2454, approximately 1,000 pages, was reported out of the Energy & Commerce Committee.
2. It was replaced this week by H.R. 2998, 1,201 pages, which will be voted on as an amendment in the form of a substitute.
3. The Rules Committee, last night, released a committee report that includes a 300-page amendment to H.R. 2998. This 300-page amendment, the Waxman amendment (#121), is considered as adopted upon an affirmative vote for H.R. 2998, the amendment in the form of the substitute.
This means that we are looking at 300 extra pages added to the bill overnight. Stay tuned for more and go to ReadTheBill.org to tell your congressman that we need time to read the bills.
I stand corrected. I should’ve known that a net shrinkage of over 900 pages was too good to be true . . . .
TRANSPARENCY: Congress Hedges on Disclosure:
As the government spends billions bailing out cash-strapped businesses and homeowners, Americans might wonder whether their lawmakers are refinancing their own mortgages or benefiting from relief they backed.
Good luck finding out.
Congress has made a big deal about getting tough on itself with stronger ethics rules, but when it comes to details of lawmakers’ personal finances — and any potential conflicts of interest they may pose — the law lets in as much shadow as sunlight. The government financial disclosure reports that Congress is expected to release Friday will be no exception. Lawmakers can still keep important information private. . . .
Lawmakers do not have to reveal homes they own unless they are rental properties. They also do not have to say whether they have mortgages or home equity lines of credit on their non-rental residences, who holds the debt, how much it is or what the terms are. Often, it’s only when scandal occurs that the public learns of financial arrangements that pose potential conflicts of interest.
That was the case when the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, Kent Conrad, D-N.D., received preferential treatment on mortgages. Dodd was an architect of last year’s multibillion-dollar housing rescue plan. The scandal involved a Countrywide Financial Corp., “VIP” program for “friends of Angelo,” Countrywide’s then-chief executive Angelo Mozilo. The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit this month accusing Mozilo of civil fraud and illegal insider trading.
Dodd’s mortgages don’t appear in his public financial disclosure reports; Conrad disclosed a Countrywide mortgage on a rental property but not one for a vacation home. Both have denied wrongdoing.
Of course they have.
TRANSPARENCY: Lewis Testifies U.S. Urged Silence on Deal. “Under normal circumstances, banks must alert their shareholders of any materially significant financial hits. But these weren’t normal times: Late last year, Wall Street was crumbling and BofA faced intense government pressure to buy Merrill to keep the crisis from spreading. Disclosing losses at Merrill — which eventually totaled $15.84 billion for the fourth quarter — could have given BofA’s shareholders an opportunity to stop the deal and let Merrill collapse instead.” I’m seeing a lot of potential litigation and prosecution as this bailout thing unravels. Government (and corporate) lawyers and officials will no doubt protest that they were doing what the country wanted in the face of an unprecedented crisis, but we’ve seen how well that argument plays once the crisis is over . . . .
UPDATE: The Tony Soprano perspective.
TRANSPARENCY: “The Rendell administration appears to be going out of its way to block public access to government documents. At least that is the impression left on the state’s new open-records czar. . . . According to her letter, the situation has gotten so bad that lawyers in Rendell’s office have put representatives of every state agency on notice not to even take her calls. Everything has to be in writing, the lawyers insist.” (Via NewsAlert).