Is President Obama right in assuming that Mitt Romney is
“hiding something?” Responding to a Washington Post article which revealed that
Romney “is using an exception in federal ethics laws to avoid disclosing the
full extent of his investment holdings,” Obama sent three tweets under his verified
personal Twitter account attacking Romney. In his last tweet Obama queried,
“What’s Romney hiding?”
Having filled the requirements of the Office of Government
Ethics by what he’s already disclosed, the expectation that Romney would open
his entire economic history to public scrutiny is not required, though it would
be a courtesy to American voters. Obviously the OGE didn’t have any problems
with Romney’s disclosures since they requested no further documentation, explanation,
or more tax returns.
This isn’t an isolated instance, but seems to be an inscrutable
theme by the Obama camp. Just a few months ago, before the first release of tax
documents by Romney, Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for the Obama campaign, was asking,
“What is it that he doesn’t want the American people to see?”
Let’s turn the table on what Obama tweeted. We should all be
asking, “What’s Obama hiding?” In spite of having written two ideologically
oriented autobiographies, we know remarkably little about the man who’s been
our president. Charlie Rose and Tom Brokaw admitted four years ago on PBS, “We
don't know a lot about Barack Obama,” and now three years later, we still know
very little about him.
And the reason? So much of his documented history is sealed
and proscribed from release to the public. It seems only logical that if
someone goes to such great lengths to seal and hide records, that there must be
something worth hiding, based on Obama’s own reasoning. There must be something
that would raise serious questions about his candidacy, or at the very least,
provide an unwanted distraction to a candidate in a presidential election
While there are verifiable lists of nearly twenty items from
his past that Obama has had sealed, there are a few undisclosed items that have
particular relevance to his past that voters deserve to know about him. Yet for
some unexplained reason, have remained hidden from the public.
For example, none of his college records from his two years
at Occidental College in Los Angeles have been released, or from his next two
years of undergraduate study at Columbia University. No records, grades, or
transcripts from his years there. And, you guessed it, we have none from his
law school days at Harvard either, including papers published while president
of the Harvard Law Review.
He has prevented all such records from being made public. It
can’t be a matter of being embarrassed by bad grades, for he wouldn’t have been
able to go from a small private liberal arts school to Columbia, one of the
most prestigious higher education institutions in the country without stellar
grades. And for that matter, with bad grades he wouldn’t have been able to
matriculate at Harvard Law School, either. So, Mr. President, what are you hiding?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act prevents
institutions from releasing student educational records, but in the spirit of
full disclosure, shouldn’t Obama release those records, including his
We also have no records from his 18 months as a practicing
attorney, including client lists. In fact, even his record with the Illinois
State Bar Association remains sealed.
All of his records and files from his years as an Illinois
State Senator are sealed. Even his medical records are sealed, as the only
evidence we have of his medical health is a one-page, 276-word statement from
his doctor. By comparison, John McCain, in the last election cycle, released
over 1,000 pages of medical records.
troublesome, is the obvious duplicity and lack of impartiality on the part of
the mainstream media. The cacophony of talking heads from the media is
parroting Obama’s call for Romney to release his records. So where are the
calls for Obama to open the books and records on his past?
Just last week Obama
said in an interview on Univision, “I think that it’s important for any
candidate in public office to be as transparent as possible, to let people know
who we are, what we stand for, and you know, I think that this is just carrying
on a tradition that has existed throughout the modern presidency.”
Mr. President, are
you not to be held to the same standards of transparency? Or is this a standard
you hold everyone to except you? So, what are you hiding? How about a document
swap; all of your sealed records for Romney’s tax returns?
AP award winning
columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and
financial planning firm in Pocatello, and is a graduate of Idaho State
University with a BA in Political Science and History and former member of the
Idaho State Journal Editorial Board. He
can be reached at email@example.com.