Sunday, November 01, 2009

Grateful for the Crumbs that Fall from Above

MSNBC reported on the "unprecedented release" of White House visitor logs:

The White House on Friday released a small list of visitors to the White House since President Barack Obama took office in January, including lobbyists, business executives, activists and celebrities.

No previous administration has released such a list, though the information out so far is incomplete. Only about 110 names —and 481 visits —out of the hundreds of thousands who have visited the Obama White House were made public. Like the Bush administration before it, Obama is arguing that any release is voluntary, not required by law, despite two federal court rulings to the contrary.

"This unprecedented level of transparency can sometimes be confusing rather than providing clear information," a White House special counsel, Norm Eisen, wrote on the White House blog.

This administration favors the word "unprecedented." Here are a few highlights from the visitor list:

Tom Daschle--11 visits. Non-lobbyist Tom, employed by lobbying firm Alston & Bird, visited nine times in January. He met with VPOTUS (Joe Biden), Rahm Emanuel, and Larry Summers. Tom was slated for the White House Health Reform slot, until his lobbying ties and poor tax record sent him packing. He visited in May and June.

Andy Stern--22 visits. Did the SEIU President share his health care position, that employer sponsored coverage was dead and not coming back?

Podesta's--22 visits. The Blue Lobbying Podesta Family includes Anthony (Tony), Heather and John. Tony represents Universal American, a health insurer owned by Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe. Rick Scott (of Columbia/HCA fraudulent billing fame) works for Solantic, a sister WCAS company. Heather represents CIGNA, a huge health insurer. John Podesta headed up Obama's transition tea. He runs the Center for American Progress, where Tom Daschle is a fellow. John-15 visits, Anthony-4 and Heather-3.

481 visits out of hundreds of thousands? That's a low bar for success. I looked for the big private equity mavens. Either they didn't visit or PEU names weren't included in the magical 110. When will the next crumbs fall from the elevated?

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