What with massive oil spills, foreign countries near collapse because of excessive debt, possible high crimes and misdemeanors floating around, shaky stock markets and other happy stuff, one minor story has almost escaped notice. In yet another act of magnificent governmental transparency, the Department of Agriculture has closed its database that periodically posted a report of the recipients of federal farm subsidies.
As Mark Tapscott notes in a piece in the Washington Examiner (May 24), the USDA provided a lot of fascinating tidbits of information, such as the fact that Scottie Pippen, former NBA player, was a closet farmer: he was paid $130,000 not to grow anything during a five-year period. This is the same database that allowed journalists in the past to learn that people such as David Rockefeller and Sam Donaldson also got massive farm subsidies.
But recent requests by reporters to have
the database updated have hit a stone wall. It turns out that the Democratic Congress, ruled by Nancy Pelosi, changed the rules in 2008 to stop all further updates to that database.
This, from Pelosi, who (like Obama) promised unparalleled transparency.