For months, President Obama has been accused of hiding from the public and members of Congress crucial details of the Pacific Rim trade deal he's seeking. But now evidence has emerged that the administration is suppressing information that's at least as important – on how previous trade agreements and policies have performed for the economies of America's individual states.

Much of politics is local, as the late Congressional Democratic leader Tip O'Neill used to say. That's why lawmakers evaluating Obama's trade agenda, plus his request for fast track negotiating authority, have prized information on trade's impact on the states they represent. As a result, state-level data has dominated the trade-related economic materials distributed by the administration and its business allies.

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Most prominently, earlier this year the Commerce Department issued with great fanfare a report showing that 26 states achieved record exports in 2014, and that eight more generated increased overseas sales last year. According to Secretary Penny PritzkerPenny Sue PritzkerDNC hauls in .5 million in June Michelle Obama officiated Chicago wedding: report Election Countdown: Trump plans ambitious travel schedule for midterms | Republicans blast strategy for keeping House | Poll shows Menendez race tightening | Cook Report shifts Duncan Hunter's seat after indictment MORE, “Exports are critical to economic growth and job creation in communities across the country.,” As a result, she emphasized, “Now is the time for Congress to pass bipartisan trade promotion legislation, so we can enact new trade agreements with high standards that uphold our values and protect our national security.”

Commerce understands that trade flows consist of imports as well as exports. Thus since 2010, the agency has been tracking both for every individual state, in addition to keeping economy-wide two-way trade data. Yet in stark contrast to the export information, the import data is buried deep inside the department's website. And the reason seems obvious: With the United States as a whole running massive trade deficits, most of the states have long imported more they export, too. In 2014, 37 states fell into this category. The U.S. Business and Industry Council has presented the results for the current economic recovery at this new website.

Even worse, a more detailed analysis reveals that, as with the national economy, the trade balances of most states (34 specifically) have deteriorated since the recession ended in 2009. And whenever trade deficits increase or trade surpluses decrease, economic growth and job creation slow down – damage the feebly recovering American economy can ill afford.

As a result, the data kept under wraps by Commerce makes the trade positions taken by many of the president's most prominent Congressional supporters difficult at best to explain to constituents.

For example, one of Congress' leading champions of the Pacific Rim-wide Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and new fast track negotiating authority for the president is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Pence says Turkey agrees to ceasefire | Senators vow to move forward with Turkey sanctions | Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe On The Money: Senate fails to override Trump veto over border emergency | Trump resort to host G-7 next year | Senators to push Turkey sanctions despite ceasefire | McConnell tees up funding votes McConnell tees up government funding votes amid stalemate MORE (R-Ky.) – who has staunchly opposed Obama on most other issues. But McConnell has picked a strange front for cooperation. Since the current U.S. recovery began, his state of Kentucky saw its trade deficit rise from $7.70 billion to $11.63 billion, meaning that its trade flows have held its economy back.

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump holds more Medal of Freedom ceremonies than predecessors but awards fewer medals Trump to award Medal of Freedom to former Attorney General Edwin Meese Trump to award racing legend Roger Penske with Presidential Medal of Freedom MORE, Republican of Utah, has worked hard on behalf of the Obama trade agenda, too. This matters because the Finance Committee he chairs takes the trade policy lead for the Senate. His state ran a $1.16 billion trade surplus in 2014. But that's down from $3.77 billion in 2009, meaning that trade has undermined Utah's economy, too, during the recovery.

Hatch's Democratic counterpart on the Finance Committee, Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHillicon Valley: Zuckerberg defends handling of misinformation in political ads | Biden camp hits Zuckerberg over remarks | Dem bill would jail tech execs for lying about privacy | Consumer safety agency accidentally disclosed personal data Democratic senator introduces bill to jail tech executives for lying about privacy violations Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — House passes resolution rebuking Trump over Syria | Sparks fly at White House meeting on Syria | Dems say Trump called Pelosi a 'third-rate politician' | Trump, Graham trade jabs MORE of Oregon, has a better case for backing new trade agreements and authority. His state is one of the few has enjoyed a trade surplus that's increased during the recovery – from $2.96 billion to $7.11 billion – and so production and hiring have gained. Ditto for Democrats like Wyden's Finance colleague Sen. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellOvernight Energy: Trump administration issues plan to reverse limits on logging in Tongass National Forest| Democrats inch closer to issuing subpoenas for Interior, EPA records| Trump's plan to boost ethanol miffs corn groups and the fossil fuel industry Trump administration issues plan to reverse limits on logging in Tongass National Forest Zuckerberg defends meetings with conservative politicians, pundits MORE of Washington State, and Democratic Sens. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperInstead of raising the gas tax, stop wasting money on frivolous projects To stave off a recession, let's pass a transportation infrastructure bill Overnight Energy: Trump tweets he's revoking California's tailpipe waiver | Move comes as Trump visits state | California prepares for court fight | Climate activist Greta Thunberg urges lawmakers to listen to scientists MORE and Chris Coon from Delaware, whose trade deficit has shrunk since 2009.

But Democratic voters from California, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, New Hampshire, and Virginia arguably have not been so well represented. Their senators  -- Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSchiff should consider using RICO framework to organize impeachment We need answers to questions mainstream media won't ask about Democrats The Hill's Morning Report - Trump grapples with Syria fallout MORE (D-Calif.), Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetBennet reintroduces bill to ban lawmakers from becoming lobbyists Schumer seeks focus on health care amid impeachment fever The Hill's 12:30 Report: Hunter Biden speaks out amid Ukraine controversy MORE (D-Colo.), Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonBottom Line Bottom Line Media and candidates should be ashamed that they don't talk about obesity MORE (D-Fla.), Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillIranian attacks expose vulnerability of campaign email accounts Ex-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity Ocasio-Cortez blasts NYT editor for suggesting Tlaib, Omar aren't representative of Midwest MORE (D-Mo.), Jean Shaneen (D-N.H.), Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineLawmakers set to host fundraisers focused on Nats' World Series trip The Hill's 12:30 Report: Washington mourns loss of Elijah Cummings GOP cautions Graham against hauling Biden before Senate MORE (D-Va.) and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerLawmakers set to host fundraisers focused on Nats' World Series trip The Hill's 12:30 Report: Washington mourns loss of Elijah Cummings Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle mourn Cummings MORE (D-Va.) -- all just voted to endorse policies that so far have worsened their states' trade balances, and therefore hamstrung their recoveries. Still, of the 31 Democratic senators who opposed the bill to launch a debate on fast track, 26 voted consistently with the trade interests of their states, which have seen worsening balances during the recovery.

Yet of the 52 Republicans who favored the fast track debate bill, only 19 can accurately say that they voted to strengthen their states' economies. Those who voted for it so far even though their states' trade balances have worsened and slowed growth include presidential hopefuls Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Pence says Turkey agrees to ceasefire | Senators vow to move forward with Turkey sanctions | Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe On The Money: Senate fails to override Trump veto over border emergency | Trump resort to host G-7 next year | Senators to push Turkey sanctions despite ceasefire | McConnell tees up funding votes Senators vow to press Turkey sanctions bills despite Pence cease-fire announcement MORE of Florida, Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamPelosi, Schumer hit 'flailing' Trump over 'sham ceasefire' deal Pompeo to meet Netanyahu as US alliances questioned Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Pence says Turkey agrees to ceasefire | Senators vow to move forward with Turkey sanctions | Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe MORE of South Carolina, and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Pence says Turkey agrees to ceasefire | Senators vow to move forward with Turkey sanctions | Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe On The Money: Senate fails to override Trump veto over border emergency | Trump resort to host G-7 next year | Senators to push Turkey sanctions despite ceasefire | McConnell tees up funding votes Top Foreign Relations senators introduce Turkey sanctions bill MORE of Kentucky. Almost adding insult to injury, voters in ten states have awarded Republicans both their Senate seats – Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah. In return, they've received 20 trade votes that have undermined their recoveries.

The trade figures not publicized by Commerce could create such problems in the House, too. Republican Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerIs Congress retrievable? Boehner reveals portrait done by George W. Bush Meadows to be replaced by Biggs as Freedom Caucus leader MORE (R-Ohio) has challenged President Obama on many fronts. Yet he's chosen cooperation to push a trade strategy that has helped more than double Ohio's deficit since the recession ended, from $8.81 billion to $17.98 billion. Also puzzling is the fast track enthusiasm of Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAmash: Trump incorrect in claiming Congress didn't subpoena Obama officials Democrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights Three-way clash set to dominate Democratic debate MORE (Wis.), Republican chair of the Ways and Means Committee that holds chief trade policy responsibility in the House. Trade flows have actually worsened Wisconsin's recovery growth slightly.

House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (La.) and Republican conference chair Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersSocial determinants of health — health care isn't just bugs and bacteria Lawmakers deride FTC settlement as weak on Facebook Overnight Energy: Fight over fuel standards intensifies | Democrats grill Trump officials over rule rollback | California official blasts EPA chief over broken talks | Former EPA official says Wheeler lied to Congress MORE (Wash.) represent states with improving trade balances. So their support for fast track makes economic sense. Not so Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R), with California's recovery-era trade deficit jumping by more than 52 percent, or Republican Policy Committee Chairman Luke Messer (R), given the more than quintupling of Indiana's trade shortfall.

The president recently has urged trade policy critics to “look at the facts” before condemning his trade initiatives. Whether they serve in Congress or not, they'd have a much easier time if his administration would publicize more of them.

Tonelson is the author of “The Race to the Bottom” and founder of the public policy blog RealityChek.