Illinois Senator Says He'll "Take the Blinders" Off the White House
CEDAR FALLS, IA -- U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) today said that as President, he will enact sweeping reforms to dramatically increase transparency and accountability in government to make it responsive and accountable to the American people. The Illinois Senator outlined his plan in remarks that highlighted his record of fighting for ethics and lobbying reforms that were unpopular with political insiders while in the U.S. Senate and the Illinois state Senate.
"More and more, the real business of our democracy isn't done in town halls or public meetings or even in the open halls of Congress," Obama said. "Decisions are made in closed-door meetings, or with the silent stroke of the President's pen, or because some lobbyist got some Congressman to slip his pet project into a bill during the dead of night. We have to take the blinders off the White House. The more people know about what's going on in Washington, and how their tax dollars are being spent, and who's raising money for who, the less likely it is that major decisions will be hijacked by lobbyists and special interests."
Obama said that as President, he will post all bills brought to his desk online for five days before they are signed. He also said that all meetings between lobbyists and government agencies will be posted online, a marked contrast to Vice President Cheney's efforts to hide the activities of his secret energy taskforce.
Obama also discussed a law he co-authored in the U.S. Senate that requires all government spending to be posted online, and his efforts in Illinois State Senate to create hospital report cards so that every consumer could better understand the quality of care they could expect at each hospital.
"I know it's easy to be cynical about politics in this country," Obama said. "I understand that cynicism. But I've always said that when the American people are paying attention -- when they're involved and engaged and informed about what's going on in their government -- then good things happen. I've spent my life trying to open up the political process to people, and I believe we can do it again. And when we do that, we will have a government that listens to their voices and finally responds to their best hopes once more."