NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Meet the hypocrites: Congressman Doc Hastings

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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