Shining A Light - The White House to Release Visitor Logs

It perhaps took some prodding but in the end the Obama Administration is honoring one of its key and not insignificant campaign promises - that of government transparency. After an internal review, the Obama Administration will make publicly available the visitor logs to the White House with certain national security exceptions. Kudos to the President and the Administration for doing the right thing.

The story from the Washington Post:

Reversing a policy embraced by previous presidents of both parties, the Obama Administration will make public a listing of visitors to the White House.

The White House characterized the move as another step in making the Administration more open.

"For the first time in history, records of White House visitors will be made available on an ongoing basis," President Obama said in a statement. "We will achieve our goal of making this Administration the most open and transparent Administration in history not only by opening the doors of the White House to more Americans, but by shining a light on the business conducted inside."

Under the policy, the Obama Administration will post online the names of White House visitors from the previous 90-120 days. The only names withheld under the policy would be people being considered for high-level appointments, such as Supreme Court candidates. Visitors whose known presence at the White House would pose a national security risk also are exempted under the policy, the White House said.

The decision to release the visitor logs comes after ongoing lawsuits prompted an internal review of the policy that started in the early days of the Administration. The new policy promises to provide more information about the people who come to the White House in hopes of influencing decision-making.

The review of the policy was prompted by a series of lawsuits by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). The suits were settled Thursday with the White House promise to make the visitor information public.

Previously, the Obama Administration had refused to release the visitor records, a decision that was in line with Bush administration policy. But after the review, the White House decided to alter its stand.

"The Obama administration has proven its pledge to usher in a new era of government transparency was more than just a campaign promise. The Bush Administration fought tooth and nail to keep secret the identities of those who visited the White House," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW. In contrast, the Obama Administration -- by putting visitor records on the White House web site -- will have the most open White House in history."

Transparency, it is how government works.

Tags: Governance Issues, Obama Administration, transparency (all tags)

Comments

6 Comments

The White House to Release Visitor Logs

I'm SHOCKED.  Shocked, I tell you.

Eh.  Actually, I'm not.  Haters: Please PUaR.

by lojasmo 2009-09-04 04:54PM | 0 recs
still hiding this year's visitors up to now

and not admitting that this is a Freedom of Information Act issue. From MSNBC:

The Obama administration says it will release names of most visitors to the White House, starting at the end of this year. Information on visitors in the first eight months of his administration will remain secret -- though officials say they will consider narrow and specific requests.

The White House called the release of information "voluntary," continuing to argue the Bush administration's position that full disclosure is not required by the Freedom of Information Act.[...]

The release will be time delayed, with 90 to 120 days passing before the records are posted on the White House Web site. And only visits after Sept. 15, 2009, will be revealed. The first wave of records is expected to be posted around Dec. 31.

There are other exceptions, but those seem more reasonable (like not listing personal visitors to the Obama and Biden families).

by desmoinesdem 2009-09-05 02:12AM | 0 recs
Re: still hiding this year's visitors up to now

The exceptions seem reasonable.

I didn't realize the time delay part.

by Charles Lemos 2009-09-05 07:40PM | 0 recs
We don't need no stinking idioms!

OK.
The consensus here has been that Obama should be meeting and listening to ideas from the more inventive minds out there on matters of the economy, the wars, Healthcare reform, etc. But if the President openly meets with these people we could expect outrage from the wingnuts. Anything they have ever said will be assumed to be the views of Obama. Lots of loonies still think he's got a continuous Vulcan mind meld with Rev Wright and Bill Ayers.

The consensus here has also been that Obama should be more aggressive in his attacks on his rivals.

So, we now have the paradoxical situation where we want the President to live in a glass house, and we want him to throw stones.

by QTG 2009-09-05 03:52AM | 0 recs
I really miss...

the Al Franken intro for Melanie Sloan, sung to the tune of "Bad to the Bone".

But, then I also miss the weekly game of "Wait...Wait...Don't Lie to Me".

by pascal1947 2009-09-05 04:27PM | 0 recs
Shining A Light

Why doesn't he just release all the logs, from day one, like he promised to?

Oh, maybe he wants to keep us in the dark about the backroom deals cut with lobbyists of big pharma? You know, the one where he agreed to not negotiate better prices for Medicare drugs.

I can't believe you guys accept this okie doke. You're getting bamboozled.

by hwc 2009-09-05 08:53PM | 0 recs

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