Meet Con­gress­man Doc Hast­ings (R‑Pasco), cham­pi­on of open gov­ern­ment:

Dur­ing the last ses­sion of Con­gress – under Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi – this top-down, closed-door men­tal­i­ty reached an all time high.  There was zero open debate on the House floor.  Law­mak­ers were blocked from offer­ing ideas and amend­ments.  Con­gress spent mon­ey the gov­ern­ment doesn’t have and failed to write a fed­er­al bud­get, as fam­i­lies and busi­ness tight­ened their belts.  Bills with real impacts on every Amer­i­can like Oba­maCare and a cap-and-trade nation­al ener­gy tax were writ­ten in secret and jammed through the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. In fact, dur­ing a 2010 speech to the Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Coun­ties Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi famous­ly declared that “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

The Amer­i­can peo­ple deserve to see how their gov­ern­ment works, read the bills Con­gress is con­sid­er­ing and have their voic­es heard by those who rep­re­sent them. [Empha­sis is mine.]

Those words, dat­ed Feb­ru­ary 25, 2011, were tak­en from Con­gress­man Hast­ings’ week­ly col­umn on his con­gres­sion­al web­site. But what a dif­fer­ence a month makes!

Today, Doc Hast­ings is exposed as our lat­est hyp­ocrite as he and his staff  engaged in a cloak and dag­ger oper­a­tion to secret­ly draft three off­shore drilling bills, with the help of Big Oil (a la Dick Cheney).

The House Nat­ur­al Resources Com­mit­tee chair­man and his staff want­ed to keep the details of his three off­shore drilling mea­sures off-lim­its, even to oth­er Repub­li­cans on the com­mit­tee, so they decid­ed to keep emails to a minimum.

Hastings’s staff dis­cussed the bills large­ly through face-to-face con­ver­sa­tions to pre­vent emails from being leaked, a spokesman said.
Hast­ings also held a closed-door, invi­ta­tion-only meet­ing with top ener­gy lob­by­ists, includ­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Chevron, Pat­ton Bog­gs and about a dozen others.

While the sto­ry of Doc Hast­ings’ clan­des­tine leg­isla­tive activ­i­ty just broke yes­ter­day, there can be no doubt that the craft­ing of these bills has been going on for weeks, if not months, demon­strat­ing how hol­low the Con­gress­man­’s words in his week­ly col­umn are with regard to trans­paren­cy in government.

We see how our gov­ern­ment works, Con­gress­man Hast­ings, and it’s not the way you alleged­ly pro­fess that it should . We see secret meet­ings with cor­po­rate inter­ests to draft bills that are favor­able to them but not to the peo­ple you rep­re­sent. It’s the same game that was played when you and your col­leagues left the finan­cial ser­vices indus­try to its own devices in the name of deregulation.

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