September 4th, 2009
11:04 AM ET
13 years ago

White House to release visitor logs

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="President Obama plans to announce Friday that the White House will release its future visitor logs on a regular basis."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama plans to announce Friday that the White House will release its future visitor logs on a regular basis, two administration officials said.

The announcement follows a legal settlement with the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which had sued the administration for release of visitor logs, the group announced on its Web site.

Since taking office, the president has been criticized for refusing to release some of the logs, including those relating to health care and coal company executives.

The new policy will apply to visitor logs created after September 15 - not to previous visitor logs, according to an administration statement outlining the policy that CREW posted on its Web site. The future logs will be released 90 to 120 days after the meetings, and there are some exceptions.

In his announcement Friday, the president plans to say, "For the first time in history, records of White House visitors will be made available to the public on an ongoing basis," according to a written statement obtained by CNN.

"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. Americans have a right to know whose voices are being heard in the policymaking process."

CREW's executive director, Melanie Sloan, issued a statement saying, "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. In contrast, the Obama administration - by putting visitor records on the White House web site - will have the most open White House in history."

CREW describes itself as "dedicated to promoting ethics and accountability in government and public life by targeting government officials - regardless of party affiliation - who sacrifice the common good to special interests."

The White House policy laid out in the document on CREW's Web site says the administration will not release records that would threaten national security or relate to purely personal guests of the Obama or Biden families. The administration will also withhold those related to "a small group of particularly sensitive meetings" such as potential Supreme Court nominees, butwill disclose each month how many such meetings there were, and will "release such records once they are no longer sensitive."

Visitor records for Vice President Biden at his residence can not be collected in identifical format because different systems are in place, but Biden's office will release guest lists for official events, the document says.

As for logs of visitors before September 15, "the White House will respond voluntarily to individual requests," the document says, "but only if the requests are reasonable, narrow, and specific."

- CNN's Ed Henry contributed to this report.

Filed under: White House
soundoff (183 Responses)
  1. Elle

    when you compare the Obama Administration to the former, this visitor logs issue is miniscule compared with the Bush/Cheney secrecy about EVERYTHING from torture at Gitmo to the lies about WMD.

    Get real, media, and report the real stories.

    September 4, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  2. Dilligaf

    The most "transparent" Administration ever in the history of the world? LOLF! We have no idea what these people are up to with all their czars running unchecked. You fricking morons who voted these thugs into office should be ashamed. These guys make the Clintonistas look like Cub Scouts. Wait'll the 2010 elections start up and they have the power of the WH directing the criminals from ACORN. Sad, and dangerous, for America these people are in charge.

    September 4, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  3. Wayne Schmand

    I am very insulted that this administration takes us to be fools. The statements.

    withhold those related "a small group of particularly sensitive meetings"

    The future logs will be released 90 to 120 days after the meetings.

    This is not transparent goverment. This is an attempt to "muddy" what's going on.

    A. There's nothing to stop the White House from declaring everything sensitive.
    B. 120 days after the fact. That is the Fox has cleaned out the henhouse and has been gone for 120 days; does no good.
    C. The Vice President is excluded. So lobbyiests can go to him as an extension of the President.

    Lobbyiests do not go to the Whithouse out of concern for their fellow citizens.

    This is no different then the last President. Just cleaverer. I'm shocked people would settle for this.

    September 4, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  4. jules sand-perkins

    More political posturing on Obama's part.
    I don't want to know everything that goes on in the White House.
    At least they say they won't release security-sensitive visitors' names.

    September 4, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  5. roger

    Coal company execs...that's why there is no mention of natural gas in the President's energy plan...

    September 4, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  6. John

    "We will achieve our goal of making this administration the most open and transparent administration......"

    but just not before September 15.....and only after we were sued and settled....

    what a joke....

    September 4, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  7. Dixon

    I wish we had access to the visitors in the Bush/Cheney Whitehouse.

    September 4, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  8. Linda

    For a guy who called for "transparency" he sure seems to hide a lot.

    September 4, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  9. Walt and Caroline

    Open and transparent......Yeah Right
    They had to be sued to "open the doors"

    We'd like to see Obama being kicked out through those open doors.

    September 4, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  10. frank

    Whats he got to hide?

    September 4, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  11. me

    this transparency sounds pretty smoky

    September 4, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  12. Leslie

    Excellent! Just like Obama promised. Transparency.

    Now if we could only get Bush and Cheney to release theirs.

    September 4, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  13. D. Tree

    Still waiting for those Bush/Cheney visitor logs from when the GOP passed their boondoggle "energy" bill (H.R. 3893), which benefited oil companies but did nothing to alleviate gas price spikes

    September 4, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  14. Mike

    How long before they are forced to release the previous visitors?

    September 4, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  15. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    So if Obama is being more open why did it take a lawsuit to make this happen?

    September 4, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  16. ImaLindatoo

    The fake lying non transparent Obama will only disclose f u t u r e meetings. Now that he's had his Big Pharma, Insurance, Hospital, Energy, Coal and Banking meetings, heh ok...(wink wink) future meetings I'll disclose, but not all the past ones.

    What a swell loser.

    September 4, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  17. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Funny how Democrats don't seem to have the stomach to talk about real issues. In VA they attack a college thesis, in NJ they attack speeding tickets, when people protest in town hall meetings they call them a 'mob'. Yet they never once do they address the issues, just make personal attacks.

    September 4, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  18. Steve (the real one)

    The school pep talk asked kid to write down what they could do for the president. That question has since been removed! If it were all that honest and transparent why was it changed? Ask yourself that liberals! Kids are not the public servants here, the president and congress is!

    September 4, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  19. ArtNYC

    Wait, they get sued and are forced to release the records, but yet they tout themselves to be oh so transparent. Who does he think he's talking to? idiots?

    September 4, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  20. jaye

    Gee....atern't there more pressing problems that the white house logs.... LOL

    September 4, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  21. Betsy

    I am amused at the demands on Obama that were never put to Bush. There was never a list of people to the White House during the Bush administration. I also was interested in who attended the energy meetings. Will the White House have to list the friends of the Obama girls who come and stay all night? Let's not make demands on the current president we won't want when the other party has the president. What is good for this Dem will be good enough (expected) of the next Repub president. I have been told be careful what you wish for as it may come true.

    September 4, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |

    Not even in office nine months and this president is supposed to fix all that occurred for the past eight years. He has not raised any taxes yet, all taxes we pay are from the Bush administration, the Republicans will block anything this man tries to do. As for not releasing all visitor logs in the past 8 months, what about the secret Chaney/Bush meetings, what about the private visitation with the Saudi's after 911 and the cover provided in their return to the airspace that the "Saudi's" occupied allowing 911. Why don't they just come out and say it, these hateful protestors just don't like the fact that our President is black............he has not been given a chance to work things through. Bush/Cheney Administration took us into a war using lies, deception and secrecy. OPEN UP YOUR MINDS AMERICA, times they are a changin......(for the better, given the time)

    September 4, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  23. Steve (the real one)

    The liberals are cheering the release of "selected" vistor logs! Celebrate if you like, just remember it took a lawsuit! Transparency,..YEA!!!

    September 4, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  24. Bea Schuller

    Sounds like those administration people will tinker with the logs before they are released.

    September 4, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  25. Wake Up

    I wish libs would read full articles, instead of left-wing basement blogs. The reason schools are pulling the presidents message, because it was initially going to have the students "pledge allegiance to Obama".
    Is that not creepy? It's like a bad movie....except, Obama is for real, unfortunately. This isn't about's about let's stop our presidents from getting more power (Bush with National Security and Obama with health care and buying companies). IT'S BOTH PARTIES. WAKE UP, WE WANT LESS FEDERAL GOVT.

    September 4, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
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