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. Bigskyman

    oh the hate and anger that some of us seem to have. where was the outrage from these people before this administration.

    September 4, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  2. ThinkAgain

    The list I'd like to see is the one from the GW Bush White House. Also, the list of participants, agenda items and decisions made at the energy planning meeting Cheney held with the oil executives.

    Don't forget the participant list at all the "strategy" meetings Bush held in regard to invading Iraq. Oh, and the participant list at all the meetings held by the Bush/Cheney Administration regarding deregulation (particularly on the financial industry) and cutting taxes on the wealthy.

    September 4, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  3. RealityKing

    Obama promises the moon, but only deliveres when forced by a court of law.

    September 4, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  4. Bernie

    Now if only the Congressional lobbying–or should I say visitor–logs were made public... That would make the Encyclopedia Britannica read like a short story.

    September 4, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  5. Amy

    Hmmm... wonder if those can be edited. Surely. Ohhh, yes and those BIG evil oil companies that would allegedly visit Bush? How about GE? Have you no concern there? Don't think GE benefits from all of the green initatives? You'll only see what you wanna see & hear what you want to hear, even when it's laid out right in front of you.

    September 4, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  6. Robert D

    Wonder if Bill Ayers or Reverend Wright are on the list.

    And Yes, Bush should have also released his.

    September 4, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  7. jrzshor

    i guess change, tranparency and the rest start sept 15. oh, and which czar is in charge of that dept?

    September 4, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  8. Obama Victim

    isn't is sad that the Obamabots have nothing more than to swipe at Bush/ Lord, they are pathetic

    September 4, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  9. Sniffit

    Obama could become see-through tomorrow and the GOP would still say he's not being transparent. And you guys wonder why you scream and scream and scream your idiocy and don't get heard? Insipid whiners.

    September 4, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  10. marcia

    there is no transparency!
    get used to it!

    September 4, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  11. leticia

    Mr. Obama needs to release the FULL TEXT of the indoctrination session that he will be carrying out against public school students next week.

    CNN must demand a copy of the text. And CNN must also ask the Obamists if brown shirts and/or red scarves will be handed out to the students.

    September 4, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  12. Steve A. , New Braunfels , Texas

    Well thats more then Dick and Dubya did.The more you wing nuts on the right complain the more to the left I go. The more you right wingers complain and belittle the president the bigger he gets, I promiss you-all this right wing hate WILL come back to haunt you with a vengence. Yall aint seen nothing yet.

    September 4, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  13. Elliott

    There is more transparency from President Obama to this date then the entire 8 years of the Bush/Cheney dictatorship. Cloaked in secrecy was the previous administrations law. And you Reich-Wingers who still are whining about the Birth Certificate, GET OVER IT ALREADY. You've beaten this issue to death already.

    September 4, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  14. Randolph Carter, the finger chompin', throat rammin' Obamabot

    If the Obama whitehouse must release these records, I say let's see 'em for all past administrations. I'm sure Bushie had some interesting characters come to call on him. Have a nice day!

    September 4, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  15. Taylor

    It takes a lawsuit against the administration to become transparent...way to keep your campaign promise of transparency. And why aren't they releasing the records of visitors before September, and why are their exceptions...hmmm fishy. Only 3 years left thank God.

    September 4, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  16. Dan

    What ever happened to "Transparency" – LOL.

    September 4, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  17. Arkay, MI

    Bush administration had set a bad precedent in terms of transparency and taken us back to Nixon era. Unfortunately, the OBAMA administration will prefer to follow the same level of transparency unless prodded by CREW and others. They can prove they are better by releasing visitor logs from before Sept 15.

    September 4, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  18. Ralph

    Say what you will, but the FACT is that this is the most transparent administration in History.

    September 4, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  19. Wade

    Why only the logs AFTER Sept. 15th?
    Guess they need time to edit the previous logs.

    September 4, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  20. Cindy PA

    What's going on that the teleprompter president has to hide those persons that visit the White House? How many more communists, criminals and tax cheats are being interviewed for position in our government?

    September 4, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  21. U.S. Citizen

    I agree that we should also get the logs of the Bush/Cheney visitors. And the logs of the current administration prior to September 15 should also be released. It is obvious that, like the prior administration, the White House doesn't want the public to know which corporate representatives they met with and how few public interest groups they saw.

    In the current case, the president doesn't want us to know which insurance, health care and pharamaceutical reps he met with and that he didn't meet with any health care reform groups. Unfortunately, he is also compromising the public good for corporate profits.

    The corporatization of America continues to expand and the corporatocracy continues to flourish. We need democracy, not corporatocracy. We are not getting the "change we need" or the "change we can believe in".

    September 4, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  22. JB

    Why not the past records, Mr. Transparent? The White House is the people's house and we have a right to know all of the various undesirables who are influencing the President (aside from, of course, the communist czars that already work in the WH). The Chicago Way.

    September 4, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  23. Carol

    Transparency doens't mean that "everything" that goes on in the White House should be public knowledge.

    It's amazing, the republicans get pissed when things are military do in secret are exposed citing national security, but yet they think everything that ges on in the White House should be open to the public.

    How about complaining about the emails that President Bush still refuses to release!

    September 4, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  24. John

    What about the logs BEFORE now? Like from Jan 21 to now? The initial logs are benefitial as it states who told Obama to do what during his term in office.

    September 4, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  25. Sally Ann

    Who cares!!! There are lot more to worry about than who visited the President.

    September 4, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
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