Is there corruption in the Obama administration (BONUS: Video of me vs. Jonathan Alter) 

Rep. Darrell Issa has been whacked for his claim that Barack Obama's is "one of the most corrupt administrations ever."

"One of the most ___ ___s ever" is a silly phrase, because it's weasly: yes, Obama's is one of the 44 most corrupt administrations, but not one of the 2 most corrupt.

But the very pairing of "corrupt" with "Obama adminstration" seems to have offended some liberal journalists. Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, in a post headlined "Is Darrell Issa the new Joe McCarthy?" (we'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he was mocking Issa's hyperbole), Ignatius wrote:

It was scary, frankly, to hear Issa describe the executive branch under President Obama as "one of the most corrupt administrations." What on earth was he talking about? This is an administration that has often tied itself in knots with petty ethical rules.

Again, hyperbole by Issa, but does Ignatius really think Obama's flaw is being too ethical?

But even richer was the reaction by liberal Obama chronicler Jonathan Alter on MSNBC earlier this week when I said yes, there is corruption in the Obama administration.

Alter asks, incredulously, "There is zero evidence... Of corruption?! Where is it?"

I answer:

Here's a slightly more complete list of corruption in the Obama administration, or questions that deserve investigation for possible corruption and violation of his ethics rules:

  • Ex Google lobbyist Andrew McLaughlin working as the No. 2 tech policy guy in the White House discussing net neutrality with Google lobbyists (registered and unregistered) while Google stood to profit from the administration's Net Neutrality rules.
  • Former Goldman Sachs lobbyist Mark Patterson taking a job as Treasury Department chief of staff within 9 months of his work for Goldman.
  • Former H&R Block CEO Mark Ernst being hired by Obama's IRS and then writing new regulations on tax prep -- regulations that H&R Block has endorsed, and that will help H&R Block.
  • Obama officials meeting off campus for official business for the sake of avoiding the Presidential Records Act.
  • And this nugget from the same NYTimes piece: "Two lobbyists also cited instances in which the White House had suggested that a job candidate be “deregistered” as a lobbyist in Senate records to avoid violating the administration’s hiring restrictions."
  • The firing of AmeriCorps Inspector General Gerald Walpin. As my colleague Byron York has explained: "The method of Walpin's firing could be a violation of the 2008 Inspectors General Reform Act, which requires the president to give Congress 30 days' notice, plus an explanation of cause, before firing an inspector general."
  • Giving a car company (Chrysler) to a political entity that spent millions to get you elected. This deal involved alleged threats by a since-indicted car czar to knee-cap investors who didn't want to agree to the White House's deal.

I'm sure I'm forgetting some, so please add them in the comments.

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Timothy P. Carney

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