Obama Administration Loses Bid to Keep Secret the Recipients of $2 Trillion in Stimulus Money

180px-Preska225px-official_portrait_of_barack_obamaFor months, many Democrats and civil libertarians have complained about the disconnect between what President Obama says and what he does as President. One area of the greatest criticism has been the effort of the Obama Administration to block public review of embarrassing pictures, White House logs, controversial memoranda, or disclosure of governmental actions — despite his promise to guarantee transparency in government. One such person who appears to have lost patience with the Administration is Chief U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska. Judge Preska has rejected efforts by the Obama Administration to withhold information on who received $2 trillion dollars in bailout funds. The Obama administration argued that the public has no right to know such information. Given today’s news that the federal debt level will be reach $9 trillion, many people would like to look a bit closer at what Congress and the White House has been doing with the public fisc.

In the latest case, the Justice Department argued that the Federal Reserve records were exempt from the Freedom of Information Act. It is yet another Bushesque argument adopted by this Administration to prevent review of public information.

President Obama once promised to “make our government open and transparent so that anyone can ensure that our business is the people’s business.” That was just a day or so before he barred release of embarrassing pictures and documents.

President Obama’s view of “transparency” appears quite opaque.

One of the controversies that are lingering over the use of the funds is the transfer of billions to foreign banks — estimated at half a trillion dollars in credit swaps.

For the article, click here.

18 thoughts on “Obama Administration Loses Bid to Keep Secret the Recipients of $2 Trillion in Stimulus Money”

  1. Be careful about Politifact. I think you would find some bias there too. Look at their top 10. All conservatives???

  2. Gyges,

    Yeah, the image itself didn’t work for me. It’s derivative and not that interesting in itself, but the whole mystery DMCA take down notice supposedly filed with Flickr I do find interesting since none of the legitimate copyright holders admit to filing such a request. Since the Joker is fictional, who else is there to have sent the take down notice? It just smells like ham-fisted spin at best and poorly thought out repression at worst. That or Flickr is having an “internal issue” and they choose to point at a non-existent DMCA notice instead of saying they were censoring holder’s accounts. None of these options smells as good as a ham by the way.

  3. BIL,

    Got to be honest, the whole of my reaction to the Obama\Joker thing was “How on earth does that image make sense?” After that, I just sort of ignored it.

  4. Jill and Buddha,

    I agree with you guys; I even said that the promises Obama hasn’t kept are more important then the ones he did.

    What I disagreed with was Roland’s statements, “[Obama] has kept few of his campaign promises” and “He has no intention of keeping his promises.” While the first one is true from a strict numeric point of view, it’s not really a fair standard to judge Obama against all the promises he’s made when he’s not even 1\4 of the way through his administration.

    The facts should be enough, there’s no need to exaggerate. All that does is take away from the credibility of those criticizing Obama.

  5. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=ahWfhEJ7dra4
    (Last Updated: June 21, 2007 09:35 EDT )

    June 21 (Bloomberg) — Merrill Lynch & Co.’s threat to sell $800 million of mortgage securities seized from Bear Stearns Cos. hedge funds is sending shudders across Wall Street.

    A sale would give banks, brokerages and investors the one thing they want to avoid: a real price on the bonds in the fund that could serve as a benchmark. The securities are known as collateralized debt obligations, which exceed $1 trillion and comprise the fastest-growing part of the bond market.

    Because there is little trading in the securities, prices may not reflect the highest rate of mortgage delinquencies in 13 years. An auction that confirms concerns that CDOs are overvalued may spark a chain reaction of writedowns that causes billions of dollars in losses for everyone from hedge funds to pension funds to foreign banks. Bear Stearns, the second-biggest mortgage bond underwriter, also is the biggest broker to hedge funds…

    …Long-Term Capital

    Shares of Bear Stearns fell for a fourth day, declining 19 cents to $143.01 at 9:32 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The stock was down 12 percent this year before today, compared with the 0.4 percent advance of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Financials Index. Merrill dropped 20 cents to $87.48 and Citigroup fell 13 cents to $53.31.

    The reaction to the Bear Stearns situation is reminiscent of Long-Term Capital Management LP, which lost $4.6 billion in 1998.

    Lenders including Merrill and Bear Stearns met and agreed to take a stake in the Greenwich, Connecticut-based fund and slowly sold the assets to limit the impact of its collapse.

    “We’re not surprised to find the principal circle of players is pretty interconnected,” said Roy Smith, professor of finance at New York University Stern School of Business and former head of Goldman’s London office. “What we’re looking for is whether the interconnection creates a negative domino effect: Whether Hedge Fund A creates a problem for other hedge funds, which in turn creates a problem for the prime brokers that are lending to them.’


    Oct 3, 2008 … Financial Crisis 101: CDOs explained : Investment instruments known as collateralized debt obligations are partially to blame for the …

  6. Gyges,

    I’m going with Jill and Roland on the numbers. It’s not just that he’s broken promises. It’s what promises that he’s broken that’s key. If you look at Politifact’s stalled or no action lists, the really important things like ending torture and the restoration of the habeas corpus are still listed there. No action is another form of a lie of omission when Obama keeps telegraphing that he has no intention of pursuing those who ORDERED our laws broken for their personal gain. So far, Obama is a huge disappointment that only grows larger as time goes on. It’s not just torture either – he’s a kiss ass to the Big Pharma and insurance industries just like Bush was to Big Oil. Fascism is fascism no matter what industry is giving the orders. No one likes a sell out, an equivocator or an apologist and that’s exactly what Obama is turning out to be. This is why I supported and still prefer Kucinich, but thanks to our lovely practically closed electoral system we were left with a choice between a largely unknown and two psychopaths.

    Obama is no angel. He’s got a year, maybe a year and a half to get his act together or he’s not going to have an easy re-election. Not because of the quantity of promises he keeps, but because of the quality of the promises he breaks or takes no action upon. People didn’t vote for him. They voted for change as in substantive change. So far he’s failing to deliver. Just another snout in the graft trough.

  7. This judge did the right thing. Let’s see if Obama tries to appeal this decision. Hopefully they won’t stretch this out, but I am not holding my breath.

  8. Gyges,

    This isn’t a numbers racket as you also admit. Obama is torturing. Obama renewed renditions to countries that torture just yesterday. He is planning on the imprisonment of the innocent. These are simply heinous actions.

    The transparency issue is incredibly important. Domestic surveillance. These issues all cause real harm to human beings. We are in three wars with an already high civilian body count. The mercenaries now outnumber our own forces in Afghanistan. There’s no accounting ratio that brings the dead back to life or brings justice to those who have been harmed. I’m a little shocked because I know you are a very fair person and I respect that about you, but the harm Obama has caused to the lives of others and to our Constitution cannot be balanced by accounting. Those harms are real and they are devestating.

    Most people who voted for Obama (including one older Republican) thought they were getting an end to the wars, to torture, to domestic surveillence. They wanted a man who would get in there and make things right–restore our economy and restore this nation’s reputation in the world, restore the rule of law. Obama is 0 for 0 on all three. They have every right to feel betrayed, they were betrayed.

  9. This Boomberg News article is dated January 29th- a week AFTER the inauguration of Barack Obama. Bloomberg had been requesting information for two months by the time they brought the FOIA suit referenced. Sounds familiar.

    I cite the fear based style of governing typical of George W Bush and Co.- AGAIN.


    Obama Records Pledge Tested By Citigroup Guarantees (Update1)
    Share | Email | Print | A A A

    By Mark Pittman and Alison Fitzgerald

    ” Jan. 29 (Bloomberg) — U.S. government guarantees on securities totaling $419 billion for bank bailouts provide an early test of President Barack Obama’s pledge to be open with taxpayers about what they have at risk in the credit crisis…

    …Fed Is Sued

    Bloomberg News asked for details of the lending on May 21 and filed a federal lawsuit against the Fed Nov. 7 seeking to force disclosure. The loans were made under the terms of what became 11 programs in the midst of the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. Arguments in the suit may be heard by a judge as soon as next month, according to the court docket.

    Bloomberg filed a FOIA request yesterday for the list of what was covered by the Citigroup and Bank of America guarantees. Bloomberg asked for records on the fees paid by banks to the government, which securities were rejected for guarantees, as well as any contracts for data services and experts to assess the value of the securities.

    Under the information law, passed by Congress in 1966, Treasury has 20 working days to respond to Bloomberg’s request. The measure allows nine exemptions, such as trade secrets or national security, for blocking disclosure.

    During his confirmation, Geithner, the former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, didn’t directly answer a senator’s request for more information about Maiden Lane LLC, a special-purpose entity that holds assets from the takeover of Bear Stearns Cos. by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

    Read On.

  10. Roland,

    I’m pretty outspoken about my disappointment with Obama’s actions. I’m also willing to give credit where credit is due. Have you looked over at politfact? He’s kept 35 of the 516 of the promises he made with another 79 “in the works.” That’s 114 that he’s kept or is working on, or about 22%. At a little over 1/8 of the way through his administration that’s not all that bad. To contrast it, he’s broken 7, compromised on 11, and stalled out on 12 for a total of 31 or so, a little less then he’s completely kept.

    Not sure how they reached those ratings, but I’d say that’s not too bad, especially when you take out the 11 he’s compromised on.

    I will say that I put some of those broken promises in a class of much greater importance then some of the kept promises.

  11. Obama is just another polititian who spouts rhetoric to get elected. He has kept few of his campaign promises. It started with the telecom immunity and is continuing to betray those of us who supported him. HE LIED TO US. He has no intention of keeping his promises, or even uphold the Consitution, if its politically inconvenient. He’s not wondering why he’s losing his base, he knows why, he just doesn’t care. He figures the Republicans are so bad the American people have little choice.
    He’s wrong!

  12. Excellent decision Judge Preska.

    You sure do look like Wally and Beaver’s Mom, June Cleaver, so you gotta be golden; looks and legalistic aplomb.

  13. “For months, many Democrats and civil libertarians have complained about the disconnect between what President Obama says and what he does as President.”

    Well, you left out 1 very vocal, 30-year registered Republican who voted for Mr. Obama mainly for his pledges regarding the FOIA and other governmental transparency issues.


    I don’t believe that this information sought under a proper FOIA request is deniable, Pursuant to The Freedom of Information Act
    5 U.S.C. § 552, As Amended By Public Law No. 104-231, 110 Stat. 3048

  15. I don’t believe that this information sought under a proper FOIA request. Pursuant to The Freedom of Information Act
    5 U.S.C. § 552, As Amended By Public Law No. 104-231, 110 Stat. 3048

    (3)(A) Except with respect to the records made available under paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection, each agency, upon request for records which (A) (i) reasonably describes such records and (B) (ii) is made in accordance with published rules stating the time, place, fees (if any), and procedures to be followed, shall make the records promptly available to any person.

    The exemptions cover:
    (1) classified national defense and foreign relations information,
    (2) internal agency rules and practices,
    (3) information that is prohibited from disclosure by another law,
    (4) trade secrets and other confidential business information,
    (5) inter-agency or intra-agency communications that are protected by legal privileges,
    (6) information involving matters of personal privacy,
    (7) certain information compiled for law enforcement purposes,
    (8) information relating to the supervision of financial institutions, and
    (9) geological information on wells.

    Now a side note in 2007, the Judge was nominated by Bush to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. However, since Preska was nominated after July 1, 2008, the unofficial start date of the “Thurmond Rule” during a presidential election year, no hearings were scheduled on her nomination, and the nomination was returned to Bush at the end of his term.

    So she may have a bone to pick with Obama. So she serves a life of luxury with a life time appointment by George the First of the US.

  16. This is good news!

    I was in a family for more than 26 years who are directly involved in the stealing and laundering of what is happening. It’s difficult to go into detail to describe their efforts but they are linked to those near the top of this mess. Everyone needs to know that hugh volume drug shipments are involved. It’s complicated but who is at the top are the big financial institutions or banks. What is happening is similar to what happened back in 1933 with the “Business Plot” although they learned from their mistakes. The huge drug sale proceeds are being used to FUND BlackOp’s supporting another White House Coup. The black ops can be seen in the news involving the tricks and games used to block and stop those wanting to do good.

    Meet the family:
    Mexico drug plane used for US ‘rendition’ flights: report
    Sep 4, 2008

    Note the CIA link as the family often bragged about being CIA Assets. Also don’t miss seeing all the drugs sitting in bags. Clyde O’Connor is my ex-sister-in-law’s brother and her husband is Clydes silent partner. They both discussed starting the air shipping distribution business at my house at a family gathering right in front of me in the 90’s. Guess who assisted the family with setting up their new drug business in Flordia? You guessed it, it was Obama as he worked at a Law Firm in Chicago linked to the Combine also known as the Shadow Government. Property is used as payment for services rendered by the criminal system and Obama is known to owm over 130 properties in mysterious social security numbers and much more. The family’s laundering throughout the years was to use high admin officials in big banks to hide ownership using mortgage fraud schemes.

    In the 90’s the afmily told family members all about the Coup and explained in detail many of the different operations planned. Many of these have been in the news but Martial Law still looms up ahead. The Economy breakdown was explained in 1996 starting with 911 only then it was explained as being the starting point for everything. There were three sites being reviewed with the Twin Towers being one of them at that time. If you’ve been reading around the Internet, the Military is taking position for the Military takeover which supports the Coup. It’s all happening right now….

    There is a lot more to this…

    Marty Didier
    Northbrook, IL

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