Comment and Question about Conflicts of Interest 

My comment has to do with conflict of interest in government. In Coglianese’s paper, he explains that the administrations of Clinton, Bush, and now Obama are all guilty of facilitating secretive meetings and that each in turn have been reproached by the public for their secrecy.

While on the surface the public outcry seems reasonable and valid, but Coglianese seem to ignore the role that conflicts of interests played in the Bush administration that led to the outcry against Dick Cheney’s secretive energy meetings. One could reasonably argue that the Clinton and Obama examples of secrecy are justified, for the reasons Coglianese explains in his paper, but I don’t believe that the same can be said in the Bush administration example can because of the obvious conflicts of interest inherent in that administration to be secretly setting energy policy.

My question is, is there a policy that recuses elected officials and their appointees from participating in secretive meetings where there are conflicts of interest, and if not, would such a policy help to build the public trust in government and allow these officials to hold secret meetings without so much public outcry?