Obama White House To Reveal Visitor Names

Change does not happen immediately, but gradually Obama is keeping his campaign promises to open up government. USA Today reports:

The Obama administration plans to change White House policy by releasing the names of thousands of visitors whose comings and goings traditionally are kept secret by presidents.

President Obama’s announcement scheduled for today follows a lengthy legal review. The policy change would resolve four lawsuits filed by a watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), against the Obama and Bush administrations seeking details on White House meetings.

Until now, Obama had followed the Bush policy of keeping visitor logs secret. News organizations and watchdog groups had sought to make the records public to show who was influencing administration policy on health care, financial rules and other issues.

“We will achieve our goal of making this administration the most open and transparent administration in history,” Obama said in a prepared statement. “Americans have a right to know whose voices are being heard.”

The new policy would begin in mid-September. Electronic visitor logs maintained by the Secret Service would be released three to four months after visits are made. The disclosure would include who set up the meeting, where it was held and for how long. Specific requests for visits before Sept. 15 would be dealt with individually.

Exceptions would be made in cases of national security, extreme confidentiality — such as a visit by a future Supreme Court nominee — and strictly personal visits to the first family, including daughters Malia and Sasha.

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a comment