As a junior U.S. senator from Illinois, Barack Obama used his brief career to essentially snipe at President Bush and others in his administration over what he believed were a series of legal and constitutional abuses.
Most ironically Obama, in 2006, blasted Bush over his approval of warrantless domestic spying by the National Security Agency – spying that has not only continued since then but which was expanded exponentially under Obama. Then as now, both presidents claim authority to do so as commander-in-chief, in defense of the country, and under provisions of the USA Patriot Act.
But unlike Bush, the Obama Administration has been wracked by scandal, several of which have exploded onto headlines within weeks after he was reelected to a second term in November. Here is a list of 20 of the most prominent among them, as documented by veteran White House reporter Keith Koffler):
1. IRS targets Obama’s enemies: The IRS targeted conservative and pro-Israel groups prior to the 2012 election. Questions are being raised about why this occurred, who ordered it, whether there was any White House involvement and whether there was an initial effort to hide who knew about the targeting and when.
2. Benghazi: This is actually three scandals in one: The failure of administration to protect the Benghazi mission; the changes made to the talking points in order to suggest the attack was motivated by an anti-Muslim video; and the refusal of the White House to say what President Obama did the night of the attack.
3. Keeping an eye on The Associated Press: The Justice Department performed a massive cull of Associated Press reporters’ phone records as part of a leak investigation.
4. Rosengate: The Justice Department suggested that Fox News reporter James Rosen is a criminal for reporting about classified information and subsequently monitored his phones and emails.
5. Potential Holder perjury I: Attorney General Eric Holder told Congress he had never been associated with “potential prosecution” of a journalist for perjury when in fact he signed the affidavit that termed Rosen a potential criminal.
6. The ATF “Fast and Furious” scheme: Federal agencies allowed weapons from U.S. gun dealers to “walk” across the border into the hands of Mexican drug dealers. The ATF summarily lost track of scores of those weapons, many of which were used in crimes, including the December 2010 killing of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
7. Potential Holder perjury II: Holder told Congress in May 2011 that he had just recently heard about the Fast and Furious gun walking scheme when there is evidence he may have known much earlier.
8. Sebelius demands payment: HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius solicited donations from companies HHS might regulate. The money would be used to help her sign up uninsured Americans for Obamacare.
9. The Pigford scandal: An Agriculture Department effort that started as an attempt to compensate black farmers who had been discriminated against by the agency but evolved into a gravy train delivering several billion dollars in cash to thousands of additional minority and female farmers who probably didn’t face discrimination.
10. GSA gone wild: The General Services Administration in 2010 held an $823,000 training conference in Las Vegas, featuring a clown and a mind readers. Resulted in the resignation of the GSA administrator.
11. Veterans Affairs in Disney World: The agency wasted more than $6 million on two conferences in Orlando. An assistant secretary was fired.
12. Sebelius violates the Hatch Act: A U.S. special counsel determined that Sebelius violated the Hatch Act when she made “extemporaneous partisan remarks” during a speech in her official capacity last year. During the remarks, Sebelius called for the election of the Democratic candidate for governor of North Carolina.
13. Solyndra: Republicans charged the Obama Administration funded and promoted its poster boy for green energy despite warning signs the company was headed for bankruptcy. The administration also allegedly pressed Solyndra to delay layoff announcements until after the 2010 midterm elections.
14. AKA Lisa Jackson: Former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson used the name “Richard Windsor” when corresponding by email with other government officials, drawing charges she was trying to evade scrutiny.
15. The New Black Panthers: The Justice Department was accused of using a racial double standard in failing to pursue a voter intimidation case against Black Panthers who appeared to be menacing voters at a polling place in 2008 in Philadelphia.
16. Waging war all by myself: Obama may have violated the Constitution and both the letter and the spirit of the War Powers Resolution by attacking Libya without Congressional approval.
17. Biden bullies the press: Vice President Biden’s office has repeatedly interfered with coverage, including forcing a reporter to wait in a closet, making a reporter delete photos, and editing pool reports.
18. AKPD not A-OK: The administration paid millions to the former firm of then-White House adviser David Axelrod, AKPD Message and Media, to promote passage of Obamacare. Some questioned whether the firm was hired to help pay Axelrod $2 million AKPD owed him.
19. Sestak, we’ll take care of you: Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel used Bill Clinton as an intermediary to probe whether former Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) would accept a prominent, unpaid White House advisory position in exchange for dropping out of the 2010 primary against former Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.).
20. I’ll pass my own laws: Obama has repeatedly been accused of making end runs around Congress by deciding which laws to enforce, including the decision not to deport illegal immigrants who may have been allowed to stay in the United States had Congress passed the “Dream Act.”
With three-and-a-half years of Obama’s second term remaining, there is no telling how many more scandals will erupt.
However, it’s important to note that many of these are not “scandals” in the typical sense, but rather the machinations of an imperial president who seeks to “rule” over his “subjects,” without their consent.
Don’t expect Obama to suddenly grow a conscience and constrain himself, meaning this list is destined to grow larger.
Sources for this article include: