Morgen on September 23, 2009 at 6:36 pm
I posted earlier today on the role the White House played via the Office of Public Engagement in proactively organizing an ongoing campaign in support of the President’s legislative agenda with the NEA and the artist community. It now appears that the activity with the NEA is really just the tip of the iceberg of a large-scale, orchestrated effort by the Office of Public Engagement to organize and initiate political activity in support of ObamaCare by various progressive-leaning interest groups, including many federally funded, non-profit organizations.
I’m going to break this up into a series of posts for the sake of brevity. Exhibit 1 is a document prepared and distributed by the White House entitled: “Health Reform Action Guide – Summer 2009″. It so happens that the White House has created various versions of this document, slightly customized for the interest groups for which it was targeted. Here are the versions I have found so far:
Now surely I must be missing some more of these, as the liberal mindset necessary to segment the American population in such a manner would have easily devised many other categories. Hispanic-Americans? LGBT’s? Journalists?? Feel free to tip any others you may find in the comments.
You only need peruse one of these as they are virtually identical. Although they each helpfully contain a name and email address of the White House staff member who is the designated point of contact for the given interest group. The important thing to note is that this is an “Action Guide”, with specific suggestions in order “to develop momentum and support for health insurance reform this year”. Call it a summer of organizing for ObamaCare, courtesy of the White House.
Now as I mentioned in my earlier NEA post, it’s not clear to me whether a legal boundary has been crossed by the White House in organizing this type of activity. But this post by Ben Shapiro over at BigGovernment.com outlining relevant legislation would seem to indicate that there is definitely cause for further investigation. After all, employees of the federal government have been utilizing government resources – salaries, facilities, equipment, etc. – in order to facilitate activity on behalf of a partisan legislative agenda. Even more troubling is the fact that many of the organizations targeted by the White House appear to be 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, which are significantly restricted from engaging in political lobbying activity. And even more worrisome, is that some of these organizations receive a substantial amount of their funding from the federal government. (This will be the topic of my next post.)
And lastly, the fact that much of this activity seems to be intertwined with the White House’s ostensibly non-partisan call for community service this summer, leading into 9/11, is just very bad form if nothing else. But what I am quite certain of is that it does not represent unintentional wrong-doing on the part of a few over-eager staffers. Clearly this effort has been organized from the top down at the Office of Public Engagement, if not the upper levels of the Administration itself.
The White House is the people’s house – ALL of the people. And the Office of Public Engagement is supposedly “the embodiment of the President’s goal of making government inclusive, transparent, accountable and responsible”. Meanwhile, while the Administration has taken every opportunity to denigrate the intentions and sincerity of all of those opposed to the ObamaCare agenda, they have been using federal resources to agitate for political support on the part of left-leaning interest groups. It seems to me this type of overt political activity should be independently initiated by such groups, or perhaps organized by the DNC or Obama for America. Not run directly out of the White House itself.