Monday, November 24th, 2014

Promises about Ethics on The Obameter

Centralize ethics and lobbying information for voters

"Will create a centralized Internet database of lobbying reports, ethics records, and campaign finance filings in a searchable, sortable and downloadable format."

Seek independent watchdog agency to investigate congressional ethics violations

"Will use the power of the presidency to fight for an independent watchdog agency to oversee the investigation of congressional ethics violations so that the public can be assured that ethics complaints will be investigated."

Create a public "Contracts and Influence" database

"Will create a 'contracts and influence' database that will disclose how much federal contractors spend on lobbying, and what contracts they are getting and how well they complete them."

Expose Special Interest Tax Breaks to Public Scrutiny

"Will ensure that any tax breaks for corporate recipients — or tax earmarks — are also publicly available on the Internet in an easily searchable format."

Allow five days of public comment before signing bills

To reduce bills rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them, Obama "will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days."

Require more disclosure and a waiting period for earmarks

Through the "Transparency and Integrity in Earmarks Act, will shed light on all earmarks by disclosing the name of the legislator who asked for each earmark, along with a written justification, 72 hours before they can be approved by the full Senate."

Require Cabinet officials to host Internet town hall meetings

Will "require his Cabinet officials to have periodic national broadband townhall meetings to discuss issues before their agencies."

Make White House communications public

"Will amend executive orders to ensure that communications about regulatory policymaking between persons outside government and all White House staff are disclosed to the public."

Conduct regulatory agency business in public

"Will require his appointees who lead the executive branch departments and rulemaking agencies to conduct the significant business of the agency in public, so that any citizen can see in person or watch on the Internet these debates."

Release presidential records

"Will nullify the Bush attempts to make the timely release of presidential records more difficult."

Tougher rules against revolving door for lobbyists and former officials

"No political appointees in an Obama-Biden administration will be permitted to work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years. And no political appointee will be able to lobby the executive branch after leaving government service during the remainder of the administration."

Require new hires to sign a form affirming their hiring was not due to political affiliation or contributions.

"Will issue an executive order asking all new hires at the agencies to sign a form affirming that no political appointee offered them the job solely on the basis of political affiliation or contribution."

Increase protections for whistleblowers

"Barack Obama will strengthen whistleblower laws to protect federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government."

Ban lobbyist gifts to executive employees

"Barack Obama will issue an executive order banning registered lobbyists or lobbying firms from giving gifts in any amount or any form to executive branch employees."

Appoint at least one Republican to the cabinet

Interview with Steve Kroft of "60 Minutes": Question: "Will there be Republicans in the Cabinet?" Obama: "Yes." Question: "More than one?" Obama: "You're not getting any more out of me."

No signing statements to nullify instructions from Congress

"While it is legitimate for a president to issue a signing statement to clarify his understanding of ambiguous provisions of statutes and to explain his view of how he intends to faithfully execute the law, it is a clear abuse of power to use such statements as a license to evade laws that the president does not like or as an end-run around provisions designed to foster accountability. I will not use signing statements to nullify or undermine congressional instructions as enacted into law."