Obama's Caribou Cover-Up

- August 2, 2012

Obama Campaign Manager Jim Messina’s Messy Record On Transparency


Obama And His Advisers Brokered “Behind The Scenes” Deals To Pass Health Care Reform. “Behind the scenes, however, Mr. Obama and his advisers have been quite active, sometimes negotiating deals with a degree of cold-eyed political realism potentially at odds with the president’s rhetoric.” (David D. Kirkpatrick, “Obama Is Taking An Active Role In Talks On Health Care Plan,” The New York Times, 8/13/09)

  • The Deal Struck Between The Drug Lobby And The White House Was Led By Obama’s Then Deputy Chief Of Staff Jim Messina. “Led by Rahm Emanuel, Mr. Obama’s chief of staff at the time, and Jim Messina, his deputy, the White House appeared deeply involved, and not averse to pressure tactics.” (Peter Baker, “Obama Was Pushed By Drug Industry, E-Mails Suggest,” The New York Times , 6/8/12)

In April 2009, Jim Messina Facilitated A Meeting With Corporate Lobbyists To “Set In Motion A Multimillion-Dollar Advertising Campaign” To Support ObamaCare. “At a meeting last April with corporate lobbyists, aides to President Barack Obama and Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) helped set in motion a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign, primarily financed by industry groups, that has played a key role in bolstering public support for health care reform. The role Baucus’s chief of staff, Jon Selib, and deputy White House chief of staff Jim Messina played in launching the groups was part of a successful effort by Democrats to enlist traditional enemies of health care reform to their side. No quid pro quo was involved, they insist, as do the lobbyists themselves.” (Ben Smith and Kenneth P. Vogel, “Exclusive: How Dems Set Stage For Corporate-Backed Health Care Campaign,” Politico, 10/16/09)

  • The Meeting Had Previously Been “Undisclosed.” “The previously undisclosed meeting April 15 at the offices of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee led to the creation of two groups — Americans for Stable Quality Care and a now-defunct predecessor group called Healthy Economy Now — that have spent tens of millions of dollars on TV advertising supporting health reform efforts.” (Ben Smith and Kenneth P. Vogel, “Exclusive: How Dems Set Stage For Corporate-Backed Health Care Campaign,” Politico, 10/16/09)


As Obama's Deputy Chief Of Staff, Jim Messina Used His Personal Email Address Instead Of His White House Address To Conduct Government Business. "The interactions between the Finance Committee and PhRMA were detailed in an earlier report from the Energy and Commerce Committee, but Messina's use of his private email address - at issue because he was conducting government business on a non-government, undisclosed account - is a new revelation." (Jennifer Epstein, "GOP: W.H., Messina 'Failed' On Transparency," Politico, 7/31/12)

  • Messina To PhRMA Lobbyist, From His Personal Account Days Before ObamaCare Passed: "I Will Roll [P]elosi To Get The 4 Billion." "'I will roll [P]elosi to get the 4 billion,' Messina wrote Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) lobbyist Jeffrey Forbes from his personal account just days before the Affordable Care Act cleared Congress in March 2010. 'As you may have heard I am literally rolling over the house. But there just isn't 8-10 billion.'" (Jennifer Epstein, "GOP: W.H., Messina 'Failed' On Transparency," Politico, 7/31/12)

Countering Past Rhetoric That All Official Business Is Conducted Over Official Email

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: “All Of Our Work Is Conducted On Work Email Accounts.” “Well, the U.S. government policy -- certainly, the administration policy that is effective here is that we -- all of our work is conducted on work email accounts; that’s part of the Presidential Records Act. So the issue in terms of, as I mentioned, our work accounts, we have no evidence to suggest that any of those accounts were accessed or compromised.” (Jay Carney, White House Press Briefing, Washington, D.C., 6/2/11)


The White House Maintained That Messina Was Pertinacious In Copying His White House Email On His Email Exchanges Discussing Official Business. “President Obama's campaign manager regularly used his personal email account while working in the White House but was diligent in copying his official email address to preserve records of the emails, Press Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday.” (Reid J. Epstein, “W.H. Declines To Address Off-Site Meetings,” Politico, 8/1/12)

“The Committee Report Says The White House ‘Has Refused To Verify’ Whether Emails From White House Staffers’ Personal Accounts Were Preserved.” (Jennifer Epstein, “GOP: W.H., Messina ‘Failed’ On Transparency,” Politico, 7/31/12)

CNN’s Brianna Keilar: “I’ve Asked The White House Repeatedly On This, They Won’t Say If Messina Looped In His White House Account.” KEILAR: “Yeah Candy, the Romney campaign and the RNC are seizing on this report that's been put out by a House Committee -- a Republican House Committee important to note. It shows personal emails were used and that meetings were scheduled offsite to avoid there being a record in the White House visitors log. Five days before health care reform passed the House, Jim Messina, who was then the President’s Deputy Chief of Staff, now the head of the Obama campaign, emailed a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry and he said in part, “I will roll Pelosi to get the $4 billion,” talking about the funding for the deal that got Pharma on board with the President’s health care reform bill. Now here’s the thing. It is okay for a White House official to use a personal email account for official business, but only if they cc or forward that email from their personal account and they loop it into their official White House account. This is a legal issue. White House officials receive briefings on how to comply with the law. But, Candy, on this particular email, and I’ve asked the White House repeatedly on this, they won't say if Messina looped in his White House account. A spokesman for the White House, Eric Schultz saying, ‘Mr. Messina occasionally received and sent email on a long standing personal account. When some of those emails contained information relating to official communications, he took steps to preserve such e-mails by forwarding them to his White House email account or copying his White House email account as a recipient.’” (CNN’s “Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer,” 8/1/12)

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