Is President Obama Pandering to Special Interests?
According to a new report by the Center for Progressive Reform, the Obama White House has weakened regulation in favor of corporate interests even more than the Bush administration, despite its campaign pledge to get lobbyists out of Washington.
The study, "Behind Closed Doors at the White House: How Politics Trumps Protection of Public Health, Worker Safety, and the Environment," examines meetings that took place over a decade between lobbyists and the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), and then checks to see how proposed rules were weakened to meet lobbyists' requests.
The study found that the Obama administration OIRA, under the direction of Cass Sunstein, changed rules 76% of the time, while President George W. Bush changed them only 64% of the time.
According to CPR, "Nearly three years into the Obama administration, it has become clear that ... the regulatory process is every bit as political as it was during the Bush years, while being no more transparent; and vigorous enforcement of the nation's health, safety, and environmental laws has suffered as a result."
Weigh in: Do you agree with CPR that the Obama administration has compromised its values and pandered to special interests? Or does the OIRA's track record reflect a more pragmatic and flexible approach, given the economic climate?