Here is a perfect example of why I wrote Culture of Corruption (officially out today — I’ll be launching on Hannity radio and TV.)
Over the weekend, the New York Times published a massive, 8,100-word profile of the Obamas’ best friend and Chicago crony, Valerie Jarrett.
The author, Robert Draper, laments that “[o]ver a four-month period of reporting, I struggled to understand Jarrett’s ineffable raison d’etre in the Obama White House.”
Four months. More than 8,000 words. Several glossy, high-fashion photos.
And he still couldn’t figure out that the “ineffable raison d’etre” of Valerie Jarrett, a Daley-trained politico and consigliere, is power.
Four months. More than 8,000 words. Several glossy photos.
But not a word about Jarrett’s involvement in Michelle Obama’s patient-dumping scheme at the University of Chicago Medical Center, where Jarrett sat of the board of directors.
And not a word about Jarrett’s involvement in Grove Parc — the Chicago slum complex managed by Jarrett’s company, Habitat, Inc. To this day, Jarrett refuses to answer questions about the dilapidated housing development.
No worries with the NYTimes, though. Instead of showing you this:
They give you leggy Glamour Shots:
The woman the NYTimes calls “the ultimate Obama insider” represents the antithesis of “Hope and Change.” She’s a high-fashion, old-school influence peddler. One of her pet causes: Bringing the Olympics to Chicago for Mayor Daley. Here’s how the White House squared her lobbying on the issue with Obama’s no-lobbying rules:
Just a quick post to advise that we granted an authorization under Section 3 of the President’s Ethics Executive Order to Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett to lead the White House’s effort to support Chicago’s bid to secure the 2016 Olympics.
The President promised during the campaign that staff would not work on contracts or regulations directly related to their former employers. We have captured that promise in Paragraph 2 of our revolving door rules, which applies to non-lobbyists. Valerie previously served as Vice Chair of Chicago 2016, the non-profit entity responsible for the Chicago bid. Although Chicago 2016 was not her “former employer” in traditional terms, the term “former employer” in the President’s Order encompasses entities that appointees served as directors or officers, as Valerie did here. (To be clear, Valerie was not a lobbyist for Chicago 2016, and this waiver has nothing to do with lobbying.)
We decided that a waiver of Paragraph 2 was in the public interest in order to help bring the Olympics back to the United States. Valerie’s past experience with Chicago 2016 makes her ideal to work with the city and its bid committee to help win the Olympics for the U.S., with the many benefits that would bestow. In her time working with the City of Chicago on its bid, she developed knowledge about the process that will make her a powerful advocate and liaison. Although Valerie previously volunteered with Chicago 2016, she has no continuing financial relationship with them. Since the Administration already plans on vigorously supporting the United States’ sole 2016 Olympic bid, we felt that letting Valerie lead our efforts was strongly in the public interest.
It’s not about enriching her cronies, you see. It’s in the “public interest!”
Jarrett has a gift for rationalizing the increasing gap between what Obama promised and what he’s delivering. The Times magazine profile mentions her advocacy of reversing lobbying restrictions on stimulus projects — and spins it as a “civil rights” issue:
In recent weeks, senior staff members have fought among themselves over an executive memorandum relating to the Recovery Act. Section 3 of this memo severely restricts contact with White House officials by registered lobbyists to discuss specific stimulus projects. Jarrett has argued that this requirement, while virtuous in theory, means that certain disadvantaged communities — represented, for example, by civil rights organizations whose directors happen to be registered lobbyists — will not be heard. “So there are these tough meetings,” one participant says, “where there are some very strong, very male voices basically saying, ‘The president said we were going to do it this way, and we have to do it this way, come hell or high water.’ And Valerie is one of a group of folks who are saying: ‘You know what? We said we were going to try it. We said we were going to see how it’s going to go. And we need to make sure we do this in a way that’s ultimately consistent with the values we brought to Washington and making sure that we accomplish what we set out to accomplish.’ ”
As usual, Obama listened to his BFF. The Hill reported over the weekend:
In a significant change, the Obama administration will now allow lobbyists to meet and have telephonic discussions with government officials regarding economic recovery projects.
The lifting of the ban comes after K Street has cried foul for months and has challenged the White House on its restrictions…
…In March, President Obama announced that government officials would not be allowed to consider the views of lobbyists regarding specific stimulus projects unless the requests are put in writing. The materials also had to be posted on an agency’s website within three business days of receipt. Lobbyists have said that the policy was one more example of the administration’s disdain for their industry.
Now, the just-revised rules will allow government personnel to accept meetings and calls from federally registered lobbyists on the implementation of stimulus projects. The head of the Office of Management and Budget, Peter Orszag, issued a new guidance late Friday regarding the administration’s communications with registered lobbyists about economic recovery funds.
Lobbyists can make their cases — and agency officials can listen to them — at “widely attended gatherings.” Government officials have to ask whether the person they are talking to at such events is a federally registered lobbyist speaking on behalf of a client.
Agency officials are required to promptly disclose on the Internet all oral and written communications with lobbyists concerning policy or projects funded under the recovery act. They also have to disclose any written communications with lobbyists regarding pending applications for competitive funding.
“Required to promptly disclose on the Internet.”
Ha. Ha. Ha.
I bet Obama and his BFFs had a chuckle over that one.
Fun fact: Jarrett oversees the White House Office of Urban Affairs, home of pay-for-play corruptocrat urban czar Adolfo Carrion.
Birds of a feather…