AP story glosses over Democrats' transparency troubles

The Associated Press may have a selective memory when it comes to which officials have trouble with transparency.

A lengthy AP article published Monday examined how Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration was using personal email accounts to discuss sensitive political matters -- namely, how it would sell a package of Medicaid cuts.

The article did not mention the transparency transgressions of any Democrats. However, the story was quick to provide context of how other Republican governors had employed similar tricks to keep certain conversations private, bringing up examples from the Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney administrations within the first few paragraphs.

Yet Democratic officials have used the same tactic in the past to keep their conversations out of the public eye.

The AP as recently as July reported that Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wasn't using any email address to conduct state business -- instead using phone calls and his BlackBerry messaging system, which don't leave a record.

Further, House Republicans earlier this year released a report detailing how the Obama administration was using personal accounts to conduct business with pharmaceutical industry representatives. One Democrat, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., even chided the administration over the claims.

The AP story on the Jindal administration's habits made no mention of this. Instead, it said:

"The issue was a prominent one during the administration of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and the practice occurred during former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's term as Massachusetts governor."

It went on to describe how Palin's private email use had triggered a lawsuit, and how Romney, when governor of Massachusetts, used two private addresses to talk to aides.

A spokesman for the Associated Press defended the article on Tuesday, saying the references to Palin and Romney were "but three paragraphs of background, which mention two former governors who are household names." The spokesman noted that the story itself was "overwhelmingly about Gov. Jindal and his staff -- not about party lines."