The Obama White House will begin posting online logs of its visitors for the first time in an agreement reached over a series of lawsuits for the records last week.
The government accountability group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) reached the agreement for the new policy as a result of four pending lawsuits. CREW had sued for access to the records — maintained by the U.S. Secret Service — under the Freedom of Information Act. Two rulings requiring release of Bush administration records were appealed while the other two lawsuits over Obama visitors from health care and coal executives were pending. But all suits were dropped as the government agreed to turn over the records as part of its new policy.
The visitor records policy goes into effect Sept. 15 when records will then be made available 90 to 120 days after the visits occur. Exempt from release will be personal visitors of the president and vice president and their families as well as records of "sensitive meetings,"a category the policy left largely undefined.