Has the Obama administration desperately tried to hide "devastating secrets" from the American people? This is a question that JudicialWatch President Tom Fitton affirmatively answers in his new book, "The Corruption Chronicles." In an exclusive interview with TheBlaze, he recently outlined some of the most pervasive details and issues that administration officials have allegedly attempted to hide from the public.
Fitton said that he was motivated to put the book together after looking over all of the materials that JudicialWatch, a non-profit devoted to education and transparency, had compiled over the years.
"To place Obama in context, you have to go back through the Bush and Clinton administrations," he explained. "The book traces the arc of corruption in the Clinton administration through the Bush presidency, where you had this explosion of government secrecy..."
While the book spans the three administrations, Fitton contends that his organization had enough material on the Obama years, alone, to provide more than one volume on corruption. But throughout the interview, he also made it a point to highlight the fact that "corruption and big government and big secrecy...didn't begin with Obama and [they] won't end with Obama."
From the bailouts -- which started under President George W. Bush -- to the Fast and Furious scandal, Fitton's book covers it all, while highlighting the often-corrupt ways in which Washington operates. It's a book that he believes every American should read. Even Democrats and liberals, who may typically find themselves turned-off by JudicialWatch's conservative views, will likely be surprised to find that the book also takes aim at Bush's policies.
"You can't rely on Congress and the media and the typical branches of government to provide oversight," Fitton said. "You have to take it into your own hands. JudicialWatch is showing that."
Considering that this is an election year -- and considering that Obama is a key figure analyzed in the book -- TheBlaze asked the author to highlight the five most pervasive secrets that the president's administration has tried to conceal. Here they are:
1) Fast and Furious: A press release for the book promises that readers will, "See the truth behind the scandal code-named Fast and Furious, a government program that supplied thousands of firearms to murderous criminals in Mexico — and for which Attorney General Eric Holder was convicted of contempt of Congress (and now possible disbarment!)."
TheBlaze has covered this scandal in detail, with our most recent story detailing a high-ranking Mexican drug cartel operative's claim that Fast and Furious isn’t what many people think it is. While many on the left deem the scandal surrounding the operation politically-motivated, there's no doubt that the administration -- particularly Holder -- has gone to great lengths to ensure that some documentation remains out of reach.
2) White House Czars: When Obama first entered office, his use of so-called "czars" came under fire. Fitton claims that their activities are among the most protected elements within the administration. The press release for the book encourages readers: "Be appalled by the Constitution-defying czars – appointed by the president or his administration, the current count is 45."
In 2011, JudicialWatch completed a report about these public officials. The executive summary explains some of the issues with these individuals, who were appointed by Obama and his staffers:
This Judicial Watch Special Report examines President Obama’s unprecedented appointment and use of unconfirmed and unaccountable policy advisors or “czars” throughout his administration. Presidents typically have advisors with whom they can discuss and devise policy initiatives. In recent years, however, presidential advisors have taken on powerful new roles in the government without undergoing the process of Senate confirmation.
Unaccountable czars, many working in the White House, are being given unprecedented authority over major aspects of government policy. As is discussed herein, President Obama has appointed a number of controversial persons to czar posts, a few of whom have subsequently resigned. Others remain, despite controversy.
Their activities and their exact roles, Fitton says, are secretive in nature.
3) Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac: The third secret involves government-sponsored mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Fitton told TheBlaze that "never before has so much money been spent with so little oversight." In February, TheBlaze reported that millions in taxpayer funds were used to defend three executives associated with the company. This, of course, is only one of the many stories surrounding Fannie and Freddie.
Considering that both institutions were essentially taken over by the U.S. government in 2008, JudicialWatch maintains that documents pertaining to political donations, for instance, are subject to FOIA requests. But the administration has claimed that there is no need for either Freddie or Fannie to release these documents.
4) Details Surrounding the Bin Laden Raid: Fitton claims that the Obama administration has maintained secrecy over details surrounding the raid that killed terrorist Osama bin Laden. Late last month, UPI reported that JudicialWatch had filed a FOIA lawsuit against the U.S. Navy for information about the raid. The organization is seeking details about "any funeral ceremony, rite or ritual" that was performed before bin Laden's burial at sea.
The group is also seeking any and all communications and records surrounding the terrorist's funeral. Here's what Fitton told UPI in relation to the case:
President Barack Obama "is playing politics with bin Laden's death and ignoring the rule of law -- especially the transparency laws that his appointees violate with impunity...I suspect the Obama administration is embarrassed by the burial ceremony, which explains our having to go to court to get basic information about this important piece of history."
5) Justice Elena Kagan's Role in Crafting ObamaCare: Despite the fact that the Supreme Court has made its voice heard on Obamacare, many still have questions about Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan's early role in discussing the legislation's path to the high court. Politico explains the debate surrounding Kagan, particularly when it comes to her potential role in defending health care:
Conservative groups like Judicial Watch and the Media Research Council, along with some Republican lawmakers, pressed Kagan to recuse herself. They noted her exchanges of emails about the law with colleagues, and they suspected she was involved in administration discussions about legal strategy to respond to the case. Administration officials insisted she avoided all substantive discussions about the Justice Department’s efforts to plan a defense of the law.
The basic concern on the part of those calling for Kagan’s recusal seemed to be that she would effectively rubber-stamp the Obama health care law.
“I think the reason she was appointed was to provide votes like this on 'Obamacare,'” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said Tuesday.
In the end, some have defended Kagan, claiming that she actually broke with Democrats over her agreement with Chief Justice John Roberts that the Medicaid expansion is unconstitutional. Still, she supported the majority of the controversial law.
In November 2011, JudicialWatch obtained documents from Kagan's time as U.S. solicitor general that the group claims raised questions about her involvement in Department of Justice discussions about Obamacare. The group filed a FOIA lawsuit in an attempt to secure documents from Kagan's pre-Supreme Court post to assess whether there was a conflict of interest in her involvement in the high court's review of the individual mandate.
These are just some of the secrets that were purportedly concealed by the Obama administration. You can read about the rest in Fitton's "The Corruption Chronicles."