You know, I really don’t have any problems whatsoever with this line of inquiry:
Barack Obama’s transition has set a high standard for transparency, putting the details of its contributors online sooner than required, and even demanding that former President Bill Clinton reveal the 200,000-plus donors to his personal foundation.But the transition’s commitment to publicizing the names of donors has an exception: The transition is closely tied to a Democratic think tank that keeps many of its donors secret.
The think tank, the Center for American Progress, and its president, John Podesta, are uniquely integrated with the transition. Podesta, on leave from the Center for American Progress (CAP), heads the transition operation. The transition’s operations director, general counsel, and co-director all shifted from similar jobs at CAP, and the transition is full of lower-level former CAP staffers or current board members.
“If there’s a concern that donations to Bill Clinton’s charitable foundations may create conflicts between what he’s doing and what Hillary Clinton may be doing as Secretary of State, then the connections between donors and the folks who are overseeing the whole transition is a legitimate question,” said Bill Allison, a senior fellow at the Sunlight Foundation, which pushes for government transparency and voluntarily discloses its own donors.
That’s right. So, who’s funding CAP–and through CAP, exercising influence on the transition? Barack Obama has told us that he doesn’t want to be like his cousin, Dick Cheney. So why all the secrecy? And why aren’t more people demanding that CAP make public its list of donors, given the key role it plays in keeping the Obama transition humming?