Former OMB chief loses court secrecy fight

McClatchy Washington BureauFebruary 27, 2014 

Some previously secret financial information about former Office of Management and Budget honcho Peter Orszag is now going to become public, under a D.C. Superior Court judge's ruling.

In a 32-page decision, Associate Judge Alfred S. Irving, Jr. effectively sided with a host of media organizations in deciding that Orszag's financial info is fair game during an upcoming child support trial.

"It is important that the public knows that the courts do not extend special treatment to parties simply because they hold certain positions in corporate America or receive certain compensation packages," Irving wrote. "Mr. Orszag appears to be of the view that he should be afforded treatment differ from other parties who appear before this court under similar circumstances."

The child support trial is an outgrowth from Orszag's 2006 divorce from Cameron Kennedy. Kennedy has since claimed that, as Irving put it, "has enjoyed a significant increase in his compensation" even as the children's expenses have "increased significantly." Since 2012, Orszag's attorneys have been arguing that public exposure of his finances would infringe on his family's privacy. Orszag further argued that Kennedy would use the information to "harass" him and his current wife.

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press had joined with a number of media organizations, including McClatchy, in a last-minute bid in January, urging the court to allow public access to the financial information as it arises in court. The information could include the presumably hefty salary Orszag makes as a Citigroup vice president, the job he revolved into after leaving OMB.

"The public needs to know the dispensation of justice is done consistently, no matter the socioeconomic station of the litigants," Irving wrote.

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