The Obama administration has reached an agreement with an ethics organization that will change access to White House visitor logs, and who can see them, Fox News has confirmed.
The announcement, scheduled for Friday, is expected to clarify how the White House will work to achieve a more transparent policy, allowing people to access lists of White House visitors through the website, and will include all names and times those people visited the West Wing.
It’s a victory for the ethics group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), who had four cases pending in the legal system against the Obama adminstration. “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,” CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said in a written statement. “ In contrast, the Obama administration – by putting visitor records on the White House web site – will have the most open White House in history.”
According to CREW, its organization, in conjunction with the White House reached the agreement on Thursday. It paves the way for CREW to drop its lawsuits against the Obama administration it filed just after the inauguration and has continued to file in the first seven months. CREW also fought the Bush administration vigorously on the same issue seeking Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and appealing denials through the court system. The Bush administration argued the visitor logs were part of presidential records, not Secret Service records and therefore exempt from a FOIA. After President Obama took office in January, CREW again requested visitor records to the White House of health care and coal executives. Both those requests were initially denied. The settlement reached yesterday also allows the government to turn over the Bush era records, according to CREW. For its part, CREW has agreed to dismiss all pending litigation against the White House.