“Just about every time they’re convening, it has to be open to the public . . . and when it’s not open to the public it has to be in the federal register with an explanation of why it’s not open to the public,” said John Berlau, a finance scholar with the DC-based Competitive Enterprise Institute, to TheDCNF. “Neither of those requirements were fulfilled here, and this isn’t the first time they’ve done it.”
“Why do you even go to Mississippi for a meeting if you’re not letting the people of Mississippi into most of it?” he asked. “They want input from liberal activists and Democratic partisans without public scrutiny. That’s the only conclusion that you can draw from this.”
The Consumer Advisory Board is made up of academics and finance industry experts, most of whom have a decidedly liberal bent. The Washington Free Beacon reported that since 2007, committee members have donated over 60 times more money to Democratic candidates than Republican ones.
One panelist is even a member of the Democratic National Committee, while other have worked for groups like ACORN and Fannie Mae.
“There’s really no one representing a conservative, a libertarian or even a centrist point of view on the committee,” said Berlau.
The Consumer Advisory Board did offer a brief chance for public participation during their two-day visit to Mississippi, holding a brief “public session” in rural Itta Bena on Wednesday.
“They say they want to get input from across the country, so they’re going to different states,” Berlau said, “yet they don’t, they close themselves off for a very scripted two hours. Even for the public session you had to send in your name and affiliation.”