Under Trump, White House log of lobbyist visits goes dark

Cheryl Sanders
April 10, 2017

The three groups are asking not only for the records of who is visiting the White House, but for records that show who is meeting the president at his private properties in NY and Florida. The suit was brought by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, and the National Security Archive.

Following a 2009 negotiation, the Obama White House ultimately disclosed some 6 million visitors in logs kept by the Secret Service and released every 90 to 120 days.

In addition to the White House logs, the lawsuit also requests that the government turn over logs of who President Donald Trump meets with at his private properties in Florida and NY.

In September of 2009, President Barack Obama began the practice of releasing the visitor logs.

The complaint is against the Department of Homeland Security. The logs reflect the names of White House visitors, the dates of their visits and the name of the person requesting clearance for the visit, according to CREW.

Filing the new lawsuit in Manhattan, as opposed to Washington, allows CREW the chance to circumvent more stringent D.C. regulations such as the access law, which protects "federal government agencies but not the White House itself".

The people who visit Trump at the White House and at his personal properties can have a powerful influence over his policy decisions, and hiding those names continues to normalize influence-peddling and unethical conflicts of interest.

At that point, Trump had spent more than half the weekends since his inauguration at Mar-a-Lago, the resort estate he owns in Florida that his administration has frequently referred to as the "Winter White House".

Since Trump took office, the White House's visitors log web page has remained dark, with a notice saying that information on White House visitors will be posted "on an ongoing basis, once they [the records] become available." .

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters during his March 7 daily briefing that the administration was "currently evaluating our procedures on that. and when we have an announcement I'll let you know". "In our view, the Freedom of Information Act requires the government to make this information available to the public".

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