As pols, pundits, and journalists react to President Trump’s visitor logs decision, a reminder that President Obama’s visitor logs were less than meets the eye.
On Friday, President Trump decided to keep White House visitor logs private. Although journalists are upset with the decision, anyone holding up the Obama administration’s visitor logs for comparison should remember the years-long transparency concerns with his logs.
The Center for Public Integrity noted in April 2011 that, despite the Obama administration’s boasts and brags about the logs, they were “incomplete”:
The logs are similarly incomplete for thousands of other visitors to the White House, including lobbyists, government employees, campaign donors, policy experts, and friends of the first family, according to an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity.
…Yet the Center’s analysis shows that the logs routinely omit or cloud key details about the identity of visitors, who they met with, the nature of the visit, and even includes the names of people who never showed up. These are critical gaps that raise doubts about their historical accuracy and utility in helping the public understand White House operations from social events to meetings on key policy debates.
Politico had reported earlier that year that the Obama administration kept meetings with lobbyists “off the books – so their visits wouldn’t later be made public”:
The White House scoffs at the notion of an ulterior motive for scheduling meetings in what are, after all, meeting rooms. But at least four lobbyists who’ve been to the conference rooms just off Lafayette Square tell POLITICO they had the distinct impression they were being shunted off to Jackson Place – and off the books – so their visits wouldn’t later be made public.
“Most transparent administration” ever? Hardly.
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