Huffpost Politics
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Tamara N. Holder Headshot

President Obama Directs Administration To Create The "Unprecedented Commission on Transparent Internal Investigation"

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release: June 5, 2010

Memorandum From White House Counsel: President Obama Directs Administration To Create The "Unprecedented Commission on Transparent Internal Investigation"

My first-ever executive action was the unprecedented Transparency and Open Government Memorandum: "My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government...we will establish a system of transparency...openness will promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government."

Recently, questions and speculation have surrounded my operations with Congressman Sestak and Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff. Rest assured, just as we investigated allegations of improper conduct with regard to the Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich case, we similarly investigated every allegation with regard to Congressman Sestak and Senate-candidate Romanoff.

In all cases, we determined My Administration did not engage in any illegal or unethical conduct.

As a result of our successful conclusions, My Administration decided to create this first-ever internal, self-policing body. "Public participation and collaboration" is no longer needed (as previously thought) because we will review all allegations of improper conduct, apply the relevant law, evaluate ethical requirements, provide the public with the definitive ruling and post a lengthy press release on the White House website.

My Administration is Participatory: When I was President-Elect, my team sought to improve the quality of Governor Blagojevich's decision regarding who would fill My vacant Senate seat. After the Governor's arrest (for allegedly attempting to sell My seat), questions and speculation surrounded my alleged involvement in the Governor's decision-making process.

I had no [direct] contact with Governor Blagojevich; however, my choices of "qualified candidates" were shared with David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel. Rahm Emanuel then "relayed these names to the Governor's office" and discussed the "strategic benefit" of each candidate with the Governor's Chief of Staff, John Harris. Through these conversations, I learned that Valerie Jarrett was not the Governor's top choice. As a result, I offered her a position with My Administration.

In an effort to maintain transparency, I arranged for My transition team to internally determine that there was "no indication of inappropriate discussions" with Governor Blagojevich. My participatory approach was unprecedented as it sought to improve the quality and effectiveness of Governor Blagojevich's decision.

My Administration is Collaborative: Collaboration "actively engages" those who want to be my ally. Politicians, former Presidents and fundraisers should use "innovative tools, methods, and systems to cooperate" with My Administration.

Recently, press reports have reflected "questions and speculation" about My Administration's collaborative efforts, specifically with regard to Congressman Sestak and Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff.

In an effort to avoid contested primaries, Congressman Sestak and Senate candidate Romanoff were offered positions within My Administration.

Rest assured, just like the Blagojevich internal investigation proved, I had no [direct] contact with either Sestak or Romanoff.

The Sestak Offer: Through the use of an unprecedented method, Rahm Emanuel "enlisted the support" and collaborative efforts of former President Bill Clinton, since President Clinton desires to remain actively engaged and relevant.

The Romanoff Offer: Andrew Romanoff chose not to collaborate with White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina by accepting a federal job in exchange for dropping out of the Colorado Senate primary. Our investigation revealed no internal wrongdoing. Instead, Romanoff failed to promote internal efficiency and effectiveness in My Administration.

My Administration's unprecedented investigations prove that internal "transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing."

Through this transparent memo, the American public can now see that external inquiry into any allegation of My Administration's conduct is unnecessary.

Upon the execution of this order, all questions shall be directed to the Unprecedented Commission on Transparent Internal Investigation.

Signed,
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA