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Warner and 'cronies' do public business secretly

October 24, 2012 12:10 am

A recent article in Politico, "Gang of 8 plots secret retreat," raises important issues for voters in the upcoming election, specifically for voters in Virginia. The state's own Sen. Mark Warner has again convened his closed-door, "bipartisan" work group, the "Gang of Six" (plus two added members) to discuss a solution to the budgetary "fiscal cliff."

The group may have added a pair of members, but its working arrangement has stayed the same. This group contains such members as the worker-hating Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.; the anti-spending extremist Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.; and newcomer-slash-gay-rights opponent Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb.

However, the real issue here is not so much who composes this bipartisan committee, but rather the manner in which they meet: entirely in secret.

For a group as powerful as this to hold its negotiations behind closed doors is an outrage and a travesty of our democratic system. The space for these debates is on the floor of Congress where full accountability can occur.

Closed-door politics have continued for too long and have failed to create any lasting policy change. Instead, they ensure that the American public will never know nor fully understand who is responsible for the continuing crises that plague us.

Shame on Sen. Warner and his Washington cronies for once again leaving the voting public out in the cold. If participation in this democracy merely means casting a ballot once every couple of years, then count me out. I yearn for more. Transparency, inclusion, and honesty are fundamental to every democratic state.

Jason Walsh


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