Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS launches Wikicountability document-sharing website
Through his Crossroads GPS organization, former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove rolled out a new document-sharing website similar to Wikileaks on Wednesday called Wikicountability. Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio told The Daily Caller the website’s goal is to provide a one-stop place for access to Obama administration documents, both ones that are already public and those received through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
“The goal of Wikicountability is to shed light on the practices and decision-making processes of bureaucrats in the Obama administration as they spend taxpayers’ money,” Collegio said.
Like Wikileaks, Collegio said Wikicountability’s goal is to provide information from which the public and the media can draw their own conclusions, instead of the Wikicountability doing it for them. Unlike Wikileaks, though, Collegio said only legally obtained documents and information will be published on the site – no leaked documents and no illegally obtained information.
The first day of Wikicountability’s existence saw the public release of the cost of the Andy Griffith’s pro-Obamacare television ads ($3.66 million), a look into how Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Special Adviser Elizabeth Warren chooses which news outlets to give interviews to and an in-depth examination of how Obama’s Department of Labor plays favorites with labor unions.
Rick Manning, a spokesman for Americans for Limited Government (ALG), told TheDC that Obama isn’t fulfilling the transparency promises he made during the 2008 election cycle. ALG contributed several documents to Wikicountability’s launch, including a detailed schedule for Labor Secretary Hilda Solis – which shows she met, had phone conversations with or attended events with high-ranking labor union bosses at least 40 times between February 2009 and January 2010.
“The Obama administration has failed at its sunshine promise,” Manning said. “And it has done so miserably. They are an example of attempting to claim sunshine while, in fact, muddying waters, failing to produce reports and creating an environment in which the people have much less knowledge about what their government is really up to.”
The Obama administration refused to fulfill about 180,000 of its 544,000 FOIA requests to its 35 biggest agencies, even though the president campaigned on transparency. Rove’s Wikicountability plans to publish any and all FOIA requests and responses from different agencies, in addition to tracking how the administration handles them.
The Obama administration launched its new FOIA.gov website earlier in March as an attempt to increase transparency. The White House also authorized agencies to create new jobs for people to specialize in FOIA fulfillment.
A White House official told The Daily Caller that the administration is pleased that it has improved FOIA fulfillment rates since last year — when the administration was heavily using a FOIA exception that allowed it to withhold information.
“The numbers show we’re making real progress on this,” the White House official said in an e-mail to TheDC. “We’ve improved on last year’s performance and it’s a priority for the President.”
Congressman Darrell Issa of California, the chairman of the powerful House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, however, recently criticized the Obama administration’s failure to meet transparency expectations, saying the president got elected promising his administration would be transparent.
“[T]ransparency is often the victim of electoral success,” Issa said in a March 17 hearing on FOIA compliance in the Obama administration. “Every aspiring presidential candidate promises voters to inaugurate a new era of open government upon his or her election. And nearly every new administration immediately sets a course of delaying, redacting, or denying FOIA requests when the public disclosure of information is deemed politically inconvenient.”