White House defends transparency after visitor log reversal
- Author: Bernice Underwood Apr 25, 2017,
Apr 25, 2017, 13:01
The names of some visitors were omitted, however, because of concerns about national security - which Spicer used to criticize the preceding administration. Under a separate statute, much of that information can become public years after Trump leaves office. The changes have drawn intense criticism from government ethics advocates across the city. And it should. The White House is the people's house.
"It's disappointing that the man who promised to "drain the swamp" just took a massive step away from transparency", Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement Friday.
Americans had to work hard to get Obama to voluntarily disclose the names of White House visitors - there were multiple lawsuits involved - and the Trump administration is now effectively erasing that work. A split from the Obama administration, the decision came after months of speculation about what Trump's administration would do with the records. However, the lists didn't include meetings it considered sensitive to national security or "confidential".
In a recent interview, White House historian Andrew Och described the move as "very smart".
Trump aides highlighted such loopholes under Obama and said the new policy is consistent with a legal distinction that Obama officials drew in a 2012 lawsuit.
Under the Obama administration, the White House released logs listing almost six million visitors.
Trump's $42.6 million haul with the national party and two joint fundraising committees is more than twice as much as the $15.8 million that then-President Barack Obama raised in conjunction with the Democratic National Committee during the first quarter of 2009, campaign finance reports filed Friday show.
The public and the media will be able to file requests for the logs under the Freedom of Information Act, Dubke said.
Among those he mentioned were new restrictions on lobbyists and allowing journalists to participate remotely in White House briefings via Skype.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Monday defended President Trump's decision to keep visitor logs to the White House complex under wraps, saying his predecessor's policy amounted to "faux" government transparency.
Recently, conservative watch groups have been commenting on Trump's excessive traveling.
Melania Trump will be moving to the White House. He will be the first boy to live at the White House since John F. Kennedy Jr. "We don't have a log on everybody who visits Congress, and they're a coequal branch of government".
Trump's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner are already in Washington, assisting the president in capacity of special assistant and senior adviser to the Republican businessman. It was the first administration to make a practice of routinely releasing the information.
"We maintain the same policy that every other administration did coming up here prior to the last one", Spicer said.
CREW replied in a statement, "It looks like we'll see them in court". Presidential relatives have avoided high office.