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Echoing Bush years, Obama won't release visitor list

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  1. Freedom of Information
The more things change, the more they stay the same: The Obama administration is refusing to tell who visits the…

The more things change, the more they stay the same: The Obama administration is refusing to tell who visits the White House — just like the Bush team did.

MSNBC.com reports that its request for the Secret Service’s complete roster of White House guests dating back to President Obama’s first day in office in January has been denied. And on Tuesday the non-profit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington revealed that it has sued the Department of Homeland Security, which houses the Secret Service, over its refusal to release a list of coal industry executives who have visited the White House since Obama took office.

According to CREW’s new lawsuit, the Department of Homeland Security claims the rosters are not agency records subject to the Freedom of Information Act but rather are shielded by the Presidential Records Act. That argument mirrors the Bush administration’s stance in a similar case brought by CREW that, as DHS pointed out in its denial, is still under appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. (D.C. Cir.)

"Further," CREW’s new complaint adds, "DHS noted it had been advised by the Department of Justice that disclosing the requested records could reveal information protected by the presidential communications privilege."

That argument is also part of the case over access to the Bush administration visitor logs, now before the D.C. Circuit.