Saturday, September 05, 2009

White House Visitor Logs Will Now Be Routinely Released; Lawsuits Settled

ABC News reported yesterday that the Justice Department has settled several Freedom of Information Act lawsuits brought by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). All the suits seek release of logs identifying visitors to the White House and the Vice President's Residence. One of the suits sought records of visits of nine prominent conservative Christian leaders to the Bush White House and Vice President Cheney's residence. (See prior posting.) Other of the lawsuits sought records from the Obama administration. On Thursday, the Justice Department released a letter (full text) summarizing the settlement agreement under which it will release the requested records. In addition, the White House will change its policy for the future and will release the names of White House visitors and the officials with whom they met. Release will be made monthly online, with a 3 to 4 month reporting delay and with certain redactions for national security and privacy purposes. Yesterday CREW issued a statement announcing the settlement.