Appeals Court Notes The Feds Can't Hide Behind 'Lobbyist Privacy' In Not Releasing Documents On Immunity Lobbying

from the open-up dept

For a while now, the EFF has been trying to get the White House to reveal information on who lobbied to get retroactive telco immunity for warrantless wiretapping. The "we're all about transparency and openness" Obama administration has been stalling as much as possible, and while it released some info after a long fight, it still insisted that it was keeping some information private, claiming a heretofore unknown standard of "lobbyist privacy." Yeah, that's a good one. Turns out the courts don't know what it means either, and an Appeals Court has said that it's a bogus excuse, and the government needs to hand over the info:
"There is a clear public interest in public knowledge of the methods through which well-connected corporate lobbyists wield their influence."
I'm still not sure what anyone expects to get out of these documents. We know who lobbied: the telcos did, like crazy. And the reason they did so is because they know they broke the law in assisting the administration in getting info outside the official process. In fact, the recent revelations suggest the telcos didn't just accede to administration demands, but they eagerly assisted in explaining how to get around the rules. So of course they lobbied to get immunity.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    Ima Fish (profile), Feb 10th, 2010 @ 6:57am

    "claiming a heretofore unknown standard of 'lobbyist privacy.'"

    Meet the New Boss; Same as the Old Boss.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Feb 10th, 2010 @ 7:00am

    Bet you...

    ""There is a clear public interest in public knowledge of the methods through which well-connected corporate lobbyists wield their influence.""

    I don't know what justice was responsible for that quote, but here's hoping he doesn't get on a plane anytime soon. Opponents of the Executive Branch when there's a Clinton involved have a tendency towards a very short life span....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 10th, 2010 @ 7:22am

    Re: Bet you...

    Ron Brown was an opponent of the Clintons?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Feb 10th, 2010 @ 7:27am

    Re: Re: Bet you...

    Excerpt: "The answer, in brief, is that Ron Brown was going to prison and had threatened to bring Bill Clinton down with him. He was up to his neck in numerous major scandals: Whitewater, the Denver airport mess, Mena, the Keating Five, Lillian Madsen and her Haitian prostitutes, etc."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    curious, Feb 10th, 2010 @ 7:50am

    Dick Cheney

    "lobbyist privacy."

    Does this doctrine come from Cheneys secret energy meetings?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    the man aka presidente, Feb 10th, 2010 @ 8:21am

    BUT but but...

    I Want to spy and keep POWA.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 10th, 2010 @ 8:25am

    If all lobbying was done in the open, the world would be a much better place.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    The Mighty Buzzard, Feb 10th, 2010 @ 8:58am


    Feel the Change, baby.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    Almost Anonymous (profile), Feb 10th, 2010 @ 9:04am

    Wrong word.

    I wish we could all agree to quit using the word "lobby" as a verb, when it isn't. Besides, there is a perfectly good word that *can* be used as a noun and verb and is much more accurate: "bribe".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    Thomas (profile), Feb 10th, 2010 @ 9:24am

    no surprise

    any sane government official tries to hide who gives him bribes. The govt usually ignores what the courts tell them to do anyway. There's no way they will let the people find out who's providing their bribes, drugs, and hookers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Freedom, Feb 10th, 2010 @ 9:33am

    Tea Party Thoughts...

    While I held my breath with Obama I was initially happy that we'd have a president that could speak. While 99% of what he said made my stomach turn, the one thing that I thought was cool was his ideology on openness in government.

    It is now obvious that he only uses openness when forced or as a politcal card now. It is a shame as he seems to be such an ideolog on other items. If he would have fought hard on this first and then tackled the other issues then at least an honest and open debate could have followed.

    I believe people live up to your expectations of them and by him blocking the information flow and openness of debate he has essentially said that the American people are too stupid to understand. Imagine if we had a President that thought otherwise and engaged the American people in the tough decisions that we face. In the end, that is the leader that will fix Social Security, Health Care and so on.

    That aside, for any Obama supporting that believes he betrayed you on this issue, just remember that he voted for immunity before getting elected and even made the comment that he knew it would upset his base, but is was a tough blah blah blah ...

    For me, the only difference between a typical DEM vs. REP is who the handouts go to. Both seem to want to control you - the libs with their political correctness and high taxes to ensure you are always a "working slave" and the conservatives with their religious ideology and corporate welfare. Very few representatives believe in a truly limited government role in our lives. However, we only have ourselves to blame. When "you" refuse to take responsibility for your life, what do you expect the government to do - their job is to serve us and as a whole we demand way too much.


    P.S. When did it become the Federal Government's job to provide your retirement?, your health care?, your presecription drugs, education?, welfare?, and so on... If Uncle Sam got out of the entitlement business, we'd be running a surplus and have more than enough money for NASA, Defense, and so on...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    Ed (profile), Feb 10th, 2010 @ 9:49am

    Re: Wrong word.

    Perhaps you should let Merriam Webster know that lobby is not a verb.

    Main Entry: lobby
    Function: verb
    Inflected Form(s): lob·bied; lob·by·ing
    Date: 1837
    intransitive verb
    : to conduct activities aimed at influencing public officials and especially members of a legislative body on legislation
    transitive verb
    1 : to promote (as a project) or secure the passage of (as legislation) by influencing public officials
    2 : to attempt to influence or sway (as a public official) toward a desired action

    — lob·by·er noun

    — lob·by·ism -ˌi-zəm noun

    — lob·by·ist -ist noun

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Valkor, Feb 10th, 2010 @ 10:48am

    Re: Re: Wrong word.

    Yes, "lobby" is a verb. However, both 1) and 2) have "influence" in the definitions. *That* is what should be substituted with "bribe". If lobbyists didn't try to bribe, why would there be rules against representatives accepting certain gifts?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. icon
    Chargone (profile), Feb 10th, 2010 @ 12:25pm

    Re: Tea Party Thoughts...

    reguarding your PS there...

    yeah, well, most places that have the governments doing that stuff do it Instead of trying to prop up a whole bunch of useless industries.

    Makes a heck of a lot more sense, too, for all that it has it's own issues.

    here's a fun thing: it's not uncommon for new (stupid) ideas to be tested in small countries (like New Zealand) first.

    one thing NZ has done and proved doesn't work is Proping Up Failing Industries... we got a recession, a government change, a massive change in economic policy towards the right (by our leftist, unionist party, no less!), several years of price freezes and huge unemployment out of it, the value of our currency took a hit (it was over valued anyway)...

    (admittedly we also got some hydro dams built, not all of this stuff happened at once (there's a logical sequence which doesn't match the order i wrote it in)

    now, that was ridiculous subsidies who's initial purpose was long gone. But the bail out packages for the various industries and institutions are basically 'subsidizing suck'... which is hardly different.

    bail outs for the corporations only make sense when the reason for issues is a large scale natural disaster that's too big for the insurance companies to handle it And the corporation isn't big enough to simply soak the costs. ie, almost never.

    not to mention corporations soak up a LOT more money than your common citizenry.

    also note: ALL governments want to control you. it's kinda the point. heck, the need for some limited control is the reason we have them....

    (and it should be noted, we have a party who actually gets in here who really IS committed to reducing the government's influence in stuff... starting with offloading all the public infrastructure onto privately owned (and usually foreign) companies. proven fact? that way lies disaster. our own rail network is evidence of it. the ridiculousness regarding water in parts of South America is evidence of it...

    really, corporations serve a purpose, but if left unchecked are a Disaster.

    You're right about there not being much noticeable difference between the American republicans and democrats...

    From the outside, they're all crazies, and the only distinction being where they get their money (and not always that) and who they annoy more.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Paul Keating, Feb 11th, 2010 @ 5:03am

    ACTA - Access to information

    "Appeals Court has said that it's a bogus excuse, and the government needs to hand over the info:

    "There is a clear public interest in public knowledge of the methods through which well-connected corporate lobbyists wield their influence." "

    So why does this NOT work when trying to uncover the ACTA text?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    MarkD, Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 10:08am

    John Pospisil has commented on his Australian forum that Eric Goldman is just an old gay and knows nothing about internet law. John Pospisil is a smarmy looking, bald geezer in a low-life, third-world country, Australia. John Pospisil humps kangaroos because he can only get off that way. You see, he was raised by a mutant and that's why John Pospisil looks alien. Why doesn't John Pospisil take a poop in his Australian outback pants and get a life? John Pospisil is a disgrace to all geeks because he sets a new low for geekdom. Even geeks have a single shred of pride. You can't call John Pospisil a prick because he doesn't have one. John Pospisil is an asshole because he has the biggest, foulest hole in the world.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    RichR, Jan 27th, 2011 @ 2:12pm

    John Pospisil is an Australian Jew who is extremely anti-semitic. He is ashamed of his Jewish parents who are the descendants of Jews sent to Australia by England when it was a penal colony in the 1800s. Whatever their crime for their deportation to Australia, only John Pospisil and his immediate family knows. John Pospisil is extremely ugly, gross and prejudiced against his own race. His rantings on anti-Jewish forums have gained him a lot of notoriety. For someone of John Pospisil's limited intelligence and grossly ugly features, he should try to play up to people and earn their good graces instead of being the miserable misanthrope that he is. Instead, he is mired in Jewish self-hatred.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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