“The talks — which involve Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Obama administration and other top lawmakers — are extraordinarily sensitive, with both sides acutely aware of the potential for political fallout from giving carve-outs from the hugely controversial law to 535 lawmakers and thousands of their aides. Discussions have stretched out for months, sources said.A source close to the talks says: “Everyone has to hold hands on this and jump, or nothing is going to get done.” Yet if Capitol Hill leaders move forward with the plan, they risk being dubbed hypocrites by their political rivals and the American public. By removing themselves from a key Obamacare component, lawmakers and aides would be held to a different standard than the people who put them in office.
The gist is that disclosures will no longer be practically available for all employees but only for the elected officials, which means staffers, lobbyists, employees, aides and anyone who works for or is close to a serving politician can do whatever they want. Corrupt officials could theoretically still dish insider info with little fear of discovery — it’s just hard for them to trade off of the information themselves.The idea of transparency is to remove doubt about conflicts of interest and malfeasance, real or imagined. When the rules are quietly changed to such a degree, it defeats the purpose entirely.
- Whistleblower Protection: Congress passed the Whistleblower Protection Act in 1989, but guess who’s not protected under it? Oh right, legislative-branch workers, including Congressional staffers.
- The Freedom of Information Act: While the public can request information from federal agencies, Congress and some parts of the Office of the President are exempt.
- The Americans with Disabilities Act: ”The sidewalks surrounding the three House office buildings, the report noted, don’t comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Neither do the restrooms in the House and Senate office buildings and the Library of Congress’ James Madison Building.”