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White House visitor logs leave out many (Vistors): So much for transparency & history

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posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 10:43 AM
A foot of snow couldn’t keep Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Jennifer Hudson and other celebrities away from a star-studded celebration of civil-rights-era music, hosted by President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at the White House in February 2010. Dylan’s haunting rendition of “The Times They Are a-Changin’” was a highlight of the dazzling evening. The digitally friendly White House even posted the video of his performance on its website.

But you won’t find Dylan (or Robert Zimmerman, his birth name) listed in the White House visitor logs — the official record of who comes to call at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., which is maintained by the Secret Service. Ditto Joan Baez.

Similarly, the logs are missing the names of thousands of other visitors to the White House, including lobbyists, government employees, campaign donors, policy experts and friends of the first family, according to an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity.

The White House website proudly boasts of making available “over 1,000,000 records of everyone who’s come through the doors of the White House” via a searchable database.

Yet the Center’s analysis shows that the logs routinely omit or cloud key details about the identity of visitors, whom they met with and the nature of their visits. The logs even include the names of people who never showed up. These are critical gaps that raise doubts about the records’ historical accuracy and utility in helping the public understand White House operations, from social events to meetings on key policy debates
Among the many weaknesses found by the Center’s review of the database:
* The “event” description in the logs is blank for more than 205,000 visits, including many that involved small meetings with the president and his key aides.
* Five junior staff aides together received more than 4,440 visits. By contrast, then-chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, famed for his workaholic schedule, is listed as having fewer than 500 visits.
* Less than 1 percent of the estimated 500,000 visits to the White House in Obama’s first eight months — a time when the new administration was bustling with activity — have been disclosed, according to the Center’s analysis.


Very interesting. Even Politico is getting a little un-nevered about the Openness of the POTUS and the admin.

Yep, so much for history sakes, keeping track of the vistors. I guess it is pretty cool to just let people come and go.

Now, my issue isn't with Obama on this one. Just getting away with whatever he can get away with-Par for the course.

My gripe is agains the US Secret Service and their apparent LACK of security and documentation of vistors... you know. Their JOB!!!!

Just another uglyness to this Presidency. Thanks.

I believe old Soros was there like 20 times in the first 2 months. And and the leader of SEIU. I go find that story.

posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 11:20 AM
reply to post by anon72

I totally understand the need to keep the records, mainly for historical purposes. I have no problem with them not being made public, at least some of them. Folks there to conduct official business, perhaps and I'm even not so sure about that. Who the President is meeting with is absolutely immaterial and the same goes for phone calls.

The family has a right to privacy. They have a right to visit with friends and others to conduct personal business, be them friends, doctors, folks representing organizations they belong to in the context of them being private citizens.

Why do folks think they have the right to know who Obama invites to a party? The folks who come to hang with his kids? You don't. One of the reasons the President (all of them) become disconnected is that they are afforded no privacy and are completely stripped of all privacy.

We hire a president to do a job for the country. We did not buy a family to scrutinize like fish in a bowl.

Folks will turn this about and claim that Obama is being inconsistent with his vow of transparency and that is BS. I don't think that government transparency has to do with who he is meeting with. It has to do with the openness of the legislative process and that does not extend to who he meets with.

Who he meets with is immaterial. Its what he actually does that is important. Why do we care who comes to a party, who comes over for a chat. Does it really matter that he is meeting with representatives of specific groups? No it is the results of his policy that is what counts.

posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 12:27 PM
reply to post by dolphinfan

Yes, it does matter. Just because Obama is in the White House doesn't mean the rules/laws/regulations change.

As I indicated, my problem isn't with Obama-so much- but more the Secret Service for not maintaining it's job responsiblities. Regardless of the Pres.

Now, when you throw in Obama's pledge for the info and transparency.... well, yes, that is an issue too-I guess.

He, Obama said it, not me.

posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 12:52 PM
There was also another article that the White House has moved lobbyist meetings to office buildings a few blocks away just to avoid having to record their names in the visitor log as public record.

At least we know they aren't meeting with Obama unless it's on a golf course or one of his dozen tax payer paid foreign vacations.

posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 02:02 PM
reply to post by anon72

There is a difference between the Secret Service doing their job and ensuring that folks are properly vetted and making public every visitor, particularily who he invites there for personal reasons. Why is it anybody's business who he has over to watch the Superbowl? Its not. Now if he wants to use that as a political chip, showing that he is connecting with folks to earn him points, that is his business. Other than that who cares? Does his meeting with folks directly connect the output of the White House to the interests of those groups? Not necessarily and to suggest it does also suggests that folks who are not getting face time are not getting spiffed by the government.

Who cares what lobbiests he meets with? 99% of the influence given to all special interests is negotiated by proxies of his, not by him himself. Additionally, when giving someone bad news, like you are not going to support something (there is little in the form of government spiff that he is not supportive of), executives will often deliver those messages in person, to maintain their support and to show respect.

I just don't think it matters. I am much more interested in total transparency in who he hires, the regulations and oversight over where folks used to work and the inherent conflicts of interest that exist with the revolving door between the executive branch, Congressional staffs and special interests. I'm also much more interested in providing transparency into the legislative process, providing more specifics to legislation that is far more digestable than the 2000 page piece of garbage where it takes weeks or months to understand what is in it. We just had an example with this budget cutting exercise where much of cut is cuts already committed to and therefore bogus and the claims about the cuts being the "largest in history" and outright lie.

I agree that he is one of the least transparent Presidents in history, with his unappointed Czars with significant briefs. I just don't think that it matters who he meets with, especially when these meetings are likely 30 minute sessions. I also don't believe that everything the President is fit for public consumption.

I've always found it stupid. Whos he's eating with. What are they having. What Michelle wearing. Its all rubbish and stinks of Hollywood and the nonsense that goes on with Royal families.

posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 02:45 PM
reply to post by dolphinfan

You state you point excellently.

We'll just have to disagree.

I will give you the personal friends etc.....I hadn't thought about that aspect of it. I have to admit I wouldn't want my buddies business all over the place---but, I will have to add-on personal time. so-to-speak. Coming over to watch a game and have a drink or two is one thing.

Trying to or worse yet, actually working, influencing gov't operations/laws etc. Lobbying.... register them.

Now, on the security side of things. Too bad. EVERYONE gets logged in-PERIOD. In the event of an emergency or other type of reason (investigations, accountability etc etc etc).


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