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No Obama scandals?  Really?

No Obama scandals?  Really?

One of the left’s mantras and memes theme claims that the President Obama administration was scandal free.  But is that true?

First of all, I do not consider presidential scandals to be a matter of political competition or partisan whataboutism.  They are what they are – and they stand on their own.  I emphasize that because of those readers who will not respond to the points being made in this commentary but will avoid the subject by pointing to Trump, Nixon, or James Buchanan – anything but an intelligent response.  Whew! End of disclaimer.

Saying something does not make it so – and that is true of the claim that Obama’s eight years in office were scandal free.  In fact, here are highlights of some beauties.

Politicization of the IRS

In 2013, the IRS was forced to admit that the agency had selected tax-exempt political groups to unprecedented scrutiny and rejections based on their political views.  Any organization self-identified as “tea party” were targeted.  The Treasury Department Inspector General claimed that the IRS used both conservative and liberal terms as keywords for audits and other actions – such as the Occupy movement.  However, the record showed that while left-wing groups were noted, but less action was taken.

In a subsequent lawsuit by 400 conservative groups, the IRS essentially admitted its guilt and settled with conservative plaintiffs for “a substantial”–  but undisclosed — amount of money.  In a second lawsuit by 41 other conservative organizations, the IRS issued a formal letter of apology for subjecting them to wrongful “heightened scrutiny and inordinate delays.”

FBI Director James Comey used prosecutorial discretion to decline to pursue criminal charges against the IRS or Lois Lerner, the central figure in the scandal.  Although criminal charges were not pursued, Lerner was forced to resign (fired) for her role in the scandal.

Fast and Furious

With the approval of the White House, the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) authorized gun dealers to sell firearms to known “straw buyers” – who were known to be purchasing on behalf of Mexican drug cartellians and other criminals.  The theory was that ATF would trace the guns and find the bad dudes.  Really?  What could go wrong with that idea?

“Project Gunrunner,” as it was officially called, resulted in thousands of guns being delivered to Mexican drug gangs.  Ironically, many of the guns were used against U.S. border agents – killing Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in 2012.

The guns had to “walk” because the operation did not establish sufficient probable cause to arrest the recipients, according to federal prosecutor Emory Hurley – who had warned the Obama administration of the problem, including his boss, Attorney General Eric Holder.  Holder claimed that he knew nothing of Fast and Furious until 2011.  Uh-huh.

Holder was held in contempt of Congress for his refusal to testify or provide documents.  He was the first Attorney General to be cited for contempt in American history.  There was no effort to pursue criminal contempt charges by the Department of Justice against its own Attorney General.  Hmmmm.


Benghazi was a scandal followed up by a controversial congressional investigation – controversial because Democrats were vehemently against an investigation.  Notwithstanding the investigation, Benghazi was an operational scandal that landed on the desk of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Benghazi was a State Department outpost that was attacked by the Islamic terrorist group Ansar al-Sharia.  At the time, the United States Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens was on site.  He, Information Management officer Sean Smith and two CIA contractors were killed in the attack.

The Clinton State Department initially proffered the claim that the violence in Benghazi was no more than local rioters or looters.  They denied any ties to Islamic terrorism.  And they declined requests for more security.

The scandal arose over the inaction by the State Department to provide adequate protection for those under attack.  Requests for more security were made prior to and during the attack.  Several requests – including some reaching Clinton’s desk – were ignored.  American military assists that could have reached the facility being attacked were not deployed expeditiously.  The deaths may have been avoided or mitigated if it were not for the slow response time.

The scandal resulted from the lack of proper action by the Obama administration and, more importantly, by the attempts to conceal or spin the facts as investigations commenced.

The Clinton emails

Arguably the scandal that reached the greatest level of public awareness was the handling of official and confidential emails by Clinton.  In view of the controversy over Trump’s presidential records, the Clinton case is a prime example of hypocrisy in both directions.  

The issue with Clinton was the removal of government documents and emails from the official files.  Clinton’s were hidden on a personal server stored in a bathroom closet in Denver.  Later, Clinton files were found on the home computers of sex predator and former congressman Anthony Weiner – husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin. (You cannot make this stuff up.)

Potentially incriminating emails were “scrubbed” from the computers by Clinton’s direction.  In one case, the hard drive was literally ground into thousands of pieces.

This scandal evolved into one of the major 2016 campaign issues.

The Steele Dossier

Many may not see the Steele Dossier issue as an Obama-era scandal, but it is because it was the child of officials and former officials of the Obama administration – and there is ample evidence of the involvement – tacit or active – of the Obama White House.

It started out as a political dirty trick in a highly volatile presidential campaign.  The Clinton campaign paid to dig up dirt on Trump – especially anything to do with untoward ties to Russia and involvement in Russian election meddling.  The result was the phony Steele Dossier – a document alleging all kinds of criminal ties between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin – and a few salacious sexual details.  

While the Dossier was dubious initially, members of the Obama administration got involved – most notably the FBI.  Director James Comey used the Dossier to launch the now-infamous two-year investigation of Trump and the Trump campaign.  They received authorization for wire taps by misinforming the Court as to the source and questionable veracity of the document.  

Despite the efforts of the Clinton campaign, the FBI, the White House and others in the intelligence community – and a two-year investigation by Special Counsel Mueller — no one was charged with aiding in the Russian meddling in the 2016 election – the alleged primary purpose of investigation.

This was a campaign dirty trick that officials of the Obama administration were deeply involved.

Hunter Biden

Among his “international interests,” Hunter Biden was on the Board of a Ukrainian company, Burisma Holdings – a large energy company controlled by a corrupt oligarch.

Basically, Hunter was being paid an exorbitant amount of money based on very little knowledge of the business and very little time on the job.  It is currently being investigated as to whether he was illegally peddling influence.  Ya think!

Hunter was also known to have business ties to Russia and China worth billions of dollars – developed in large measure because of his father.  Senior Biden often took his son on official government trips so Hunter could engage in private business discussions with high government and powerful business interests.  

Essentially, Papa Biden was promoting his son for incredibly lucrative business deals with nations that had a less-than-friendly relationship with the United States.  Very little could be found in the job descriptions, but the amount of money was in the millions – tens of millions … even hundreds of millions to the benefit of the Biden family – including First Brother Frank.

While the series of Hunter scandals have gained more public awareness in recent years – as various investigations have commenced — they had their genesis in the Obama administration.

Joe Biden Threatening Zelenskyy (or the Hunter coverup)

One of the Hunter (thanks dad) business deals can be singled out since it is clearly supported by Biden as Vice President.  While serving as Vice President, Biden took the unusual step of threatening to withhold military supplies from Ukraine unless President Zelenskyy removes the Ukrainian prosecutor investigating Burisma Holdings – a corrupt Ukrainian energy company employing the Vice President’s son, Hunter.

Ukraine needed miliary equipment to counterbalance the growing threat from Russia.  Regardless, the Obama administration refused to send weaponry – but rather “humanitarian aid.”  Trump later changed that policy and began sending armaments. 

Biden openly admitted in a press conference that he used $1 billion in Ukrainian humanitarian aide to force the removal of the prosecutor investigating Burisma – he just did not reveal the real reason why.  

Green Money for Solyndra

Candidate Barack Obama promised to invest taxpayer money into “green energy projects.”  Once in office, Solyndra was given $527 in government loans to pursue green energy.  In less than two years, the company went out of business.  More than a thousand employees lose their jobs (although millions of dollars were taken home by top management and used to pay off investors).

Solyndra was in trouble before the federal loan — and was not the best risk.  But the Company did have one ace in the hole – its largest investor, George Kaiser.  He had bundled more than $50,000 for the Obama-Biden campaign – and had made several visits to the White House and the Department of Energy prior to the granting of the loans.  Mega Democrat fundraiser Steven Spinner was also actively lobbying the administration to approve the deal.   Despite the stench of scandal, the major news platforms largely ignored the story.

Ransom for Hostages

The United States has always had a policy of not paying ransom for hostages.  That is not a happy policy, but the recognition that paying ransoms would only mean more American citizens being taken by criminal and terrorist organizations. 

The Obama administrations paid Iran $400 million in cash to release four American hostages.  This was part of the $1.7 billion that Obama gave Iran as part of the Nuclear Deal.  It is arguable that the deal – which was disapproved by a majority in Congress was even legal.


In view of these and other smaller scandals, why the claim that the Obama administration was scandal-free?  In fact, the New York Post ran this headline in 2020:

“Obama claims his presidency was free from scandal — but he’s full of it.”

But that was a rare exception.  You can thank the biased media for that.  Generally, they ignore or play down scandals, misconduct and criminality of Democrats and those on the left – their friends – and pump up any conceivable misconduct by Republicans to the max.  If they report on Democrats at all, it is minimally.  And there will be no aggressive media investigations … no flashback stories … no television special documentaries.  That is also scandalous.  But who is going to investigate and report on media scandals?  

Yes … the Obama administration had its share of scandals.  The widely held perception based on media cover-ups is not the reality.

So, there ‘tis.

Ransom for Hostages? 

The network evening and morning shows seem to have badly misplaced priorities. In August of 2016 ABC, CBS and NBC have devoted 10 times more coverage to the Olympic swimmer “scandal” than they did the bombshell admission that the Obama administration linked the release of four American prisoners and a $400 million payment to Iran. 

From the evening of August 18, 2016 through August 19 morning programs, the networks pounced on the report that Olympian Ryan Lochte and three other swimmers may have fabricated some or all of an alleged robbery in Rio de Janeiro. This garnered a whopping 37 minutes and 31 seconds. In comparison, the cash payout to Iran, which looked suspiciously like ransom, only amounted to a scant 3 minutes and 46 seconds.

For more reading:

Louisiana: Over 80% in Obamacare Medicaid Expansion are Fraudulent

Just Revealed – Obama-era CIA Spied on Congressional Staff Emails

Did the Obama Admin Grant Citizenship to 2,500 Iranians While in Iran Deal Negotiations?

Obama Resettled Ex-Gitmo Prisoners, Now Disappeared

Obama DNI Clapper Compromised by the Hillary Campaign, then Lied About it

Full Circle – Obama Admin Pushed the Steele Dossier to the FBI

FBI Texts Suggest Obama was Involved in Clinton Investigation

Obama-Era Uranium Deal Now Under Investigation

Racketeering in Obama’s DOJ – Blackmailed Criminal Companies to Support Liberal Causes

The Opioid Conspiracy – A Crisis Out of Control (Thanks, Obama)

Anti-Trump Support, ‘Obama Underground’ Revealed

Gingrich: Obama Wiretapping Most ‘Egregious Abuse’ of Criminal Justice in History

Obama Administration Illegal Wiretaps: ‘Unmask Requests’ in the Hundreds

Are Insurance Companies Controlling the Obamacare Narrative?  

Obama’s Message to America: Don’t Compete So Hard (Editor’s Rant!)

‘Obamaphone’ Program Riddled with Fraud

Obama Official Admits Climate Change Data was Cooked

Thanks Obama for the 9.3 Trillion in U.S. Debt

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Tom williams

    Gee Whiz! The silence is deafening. Even Frank Stetson seems to have lost his voice.
    In the same vein, may I add the almost complete lack of military competence, which has morphed into the idiocy that took place in Afghanistan with the America pullout. I remember a specific instance in which our on-site commander strongly suggested the need for an additional 40,000 troops to help resist a growing Taliban threat. OBummer hemmed and hawed for a couple weeks and “sagely” allowed for an additional 30,000 troops and crowed about his military acumen in doing so. Another arm-chair general with no grasp of military matters because he failed to have sufficient gumption to serve, even in National Guard or Reserves. I think ANY President should be required to have served in some military capacity even if it was camp cook. National Security is the prime responsibility of our leader. One with no military experience will make blunders, some of them catastrophic. Ref: See above on Afghan pullout….

    • Tom

      Does anyone remember fast and furious?

    • frank stetson

      Wow, now a lack of a knee-jerk reply is a comment. It’s just a few hours…. Gee —- can I castigate Larry and Joe every time they don’t knee-jerk a reply at the speed of light (or in their cases — dark 🙂 ?

      Larry picks a pretty ez piece of low hanging fruit. Obama shoulda qualified that one against Trump in which case it’s absolutely true. Here’s hundreds more:

      But on the ones Larry did pick, a few points:

      Solyndra was a miss within a profitable program. It deserved an audit, find the issue, fix the problem so it doesn’t happen again. The program turned a profit. When could Republicans claim their program, any program, any federal government program, D or R, turned a profit? Larry left that little tidbit out. It was media covered and just a financial oooops; I have a few under my belt too. Chinese done eat my investment….

      Money for hostages: a good deal, we were, by law, required to pay off. And we are a nation that believes either in the rule of law OR the rule of Trump. By law, we had to return the money, the hostages were a spiff. Not the best process, but hopefully a one-off.

      Hunter–Joe connection to Burisma: prove it in court. And to Tom, you got fact holes all over that thing. For example, one Af1 ride, accompanying daughter as chaperone to her China trip. She was invited. And the only Joe tie-in was a photo op in a hotel lobby, not exactly Capone level crime. You got many other fact faults in there as well.

      Clinton emails – gosh, can we start including all Trump administration scandals instead of just Trump? Or how does Clinton emails stack up with Trump’s 11,000 stolen government papers owned by the people? I won’t even bother with the classifieds. But certainly a controversy and I think it had media coverage. Fuck, it was a major component of her loss. Trump has just monetarize his theft of the public papers and trust so far. Hopefully this will change.

      Benghazi – this was a tragedy that Republicans fabricated into a controversy but after investigation, committees, etc. exonerated Clinton and Obama. The only controversy I see he is the buffering of the timeline via the movie story that was shameless politicking. I think Obama would have lost the election if not for this. Imo. This should have been treated for what it was, and not a controversy, IMO.

      But point taken, Obama’s statements are wrong and in the furtherance of some more shameless politicking.

    • larry Horist

      Tom Williams ….never count out Frank Stetson for obsessive responses that are loooooong ….. generally off the subject …. or just wrong. But everyone needs a hobby and I am his.

      • frank stetson

        You wish. They are only long because you are so wrong, so often. And your deflection about obsession is consistent with many commentors on your……stuff. You see, when Republicans are losing the debate, they go for the man. Larry does this often, using Horist obsession as his distraction from the comments.

        Get back on point.

        • larry Horist

          Frank Stetson … I make my points in the commentary. You can use this space any way you like … long rambling incoherent screeds … ad hominin attacks on me personally … obsessively talking about mt to an audience that you do not seem to have. I have no interest in engaging in the kind of continuing bickering you seem to desire. I do not need to be your point/counter point because you have a point or get to a point. So ,, get over it. You are not my obsession.

  2. Tom

    Tom, yes I remember Fast and Furious very well. Larry, all that you have stated is true. I think you could have been a bit more strong in noting that Trump tried to do the same thing to Ukraine and Zelensky that Biden did years before. Both used the withholding of military armaments as a club to smack Zelensky. Trump only sent weapons well after it was discovered that he was wielding the same club as Biden, but, the Democrats never acknowledged their same behavior, nor did they ever expose Hunter’s deals. I was always very pissed off that Hunter was a hedge fund manager getting free rides on AF1. He should have had to go through normal channels like any other hedge fund manager. I was very surprised that hedge fund managers did not sue the government as a class action suit. Also, Larry, do you remember the one commercial Hillary ran? It had her waking up to the phone. The message was, “Who do you trust to wake up at 3 in the morning?” But the biggest scandal in my view is the one that was never hatched and would be a good subject for you to write about. Obama and his cronies tried to push a “carbon exchange” through as part of an existing green deal called “Cap and Trade”. IT called for companies to purchase carbon credits that were based on their emissions. A standard emission rate was to be established based on the industry. If a company exceeded its emissions per month, in order to continue operating they would have to purchase “carbon credits” from the “Carbon Exchange”. I checked out the Carbon Exchange. IT was loaded with Obama’s cronies who would basically charge a 5% transaction fee for one company purchasing the unused carbon credits of another company (thus the “exchange” part of “Carbon Exchange”. Such an exchange would have been a financial windfall for Obama’s cronies, including Obama himself. Hard working Americans through their utility bills and product purchases would have made these cronies filthy rich! The public never knew about it. Nor did the public know all of the Chicago Obama cronies in positions in the Carbon Exchange. See this:

    • larry Horist

      Tom … one slight correction. Obama never sent arms to Ukraine — only humanitarian relief (food and blankets) when they disparately needed weapons. Trump reversed that and sent weapons. He did suggest that he wanted an investigation of Hunter Biden RESUMED — the one that Biden killed off with the aid money as leverage. The arms continued to flow even though Trump did not get what he wanted. Biden’s blackmail was much more successful. Trump behavior does not negate the truth about Biden. And I have seen the Trump criticism in the news for ages… so I did not think it was necessary to take up more space with something everyone seem to know about.

      My commentary — and your additional information — make the point that the Democrat pollyanna whitewash of the Obama administration is a lot of political poop.