Friday, November 07, 2008

President-elect Obama's official transition website ( has this invitation on its homepage:

The story of this campaign is your story. It is about the great things we can do when we come together around a common purpose. We want to hear your inspiring stories from the campaign and Election Day.
The site also contains issue statements that come directly from campaign materials.

The official guidelines for the use of the .gov domain include this restriction:

The Gov domain is for the operation of government, not the political, political party, or campaign environment. No campaigning can be done using Gov Internet domains. The Gov Internet domain websites may not be directly linked to or refer to websites created or operated by a campaign or any campaign entity or committee. No political sites or party names or acronyms can be used. Separate websites and e-mail on other top-level domains (TLDs), such as .org, will have to be used for political activity.
Is the transition site in violation? A former administration official says:

It's certainly reasonable to have pictures of Obama and Biden and links to job materials and the like. Part of the purpose is, after all, to collect resumes for political appointments which are perfectly legal. The questions in my mind are whether they can transfer material from the website and whether they should be collecting campaign stories and generally trying to keep a campaign flavor going. If any Federal agency is to collect historical material, it should be the National
Archives, not the Office of the Presidential Transition. The blog needs to be non-political as well.


Anonymous said...

I'll be watching this carefully. One expectation I have, as an Obama voter, is a depoliticized administration.

So far not-so-good.

Steve said...


Chris D. said...

I dunno. As with most forms of political regulation of the non-financial/free-speech variety, the more you try to maintain a strict separation between the political and the administrative, the more you end up with nefarious political goings-on behind the administrative scenes. The whole transition is a peculiar tidewater that exists expressly to allow the political to merge and dissolve into the administrative. For God's sake--if we've learned anything in the last eight years--let them do it out in the open. That's our only hope of blunting any transgressions before they lead to catastrophes. Let's not get bound up in a strict constructionist interpretation of IGSA's TLD guidelines. We don't even have an effective FEC.

Dark Scholar said...

I don't see how is an operation of the campaign environment. Is it simply because they are collecting stories from people about the election? Is it because the word "campaign" was used in the section where people are asked to tell their stories? Here's a copy of what it says:

Start right now. Tell us your story in your own words about what this campaign and this election mean to you. Share your hopes for an Obama Administration and a government for the people.

Keeping people connected to the new administration through personal stories is hardly a crime. But of course "the former (Bush) administration official" is going to say it is. The Reps are just trying to poke around for soft spots to how easy or hard it is to roll the incoming Administration.