White House defends transparency after visitor log reversal

Author

25 April, 2017

They argued that the decision is in line with what previous administrations have done, except for President Barack Obama's, and that continuing Obama's practice of releasing the records could interfere with policy development.

Spicer referred to the voluntary release of visitor logs by the Obama administration as a "faux attempt" at transparency, given that the public logs carried exemptions for personal visits, national security matters and other sensitive meetings.

The latest news is that Trump will not routinely release White House visitor records, as Obama did.

However, the announcement was harshly criticised by government watchdog groups. "We will comply with both the Federal Records Act and the Presidential Records Act as required by law".

As reported by the New York Times, Trump has been going all-out to weaken ethics rules within the USA government, as former lobbyists now working within his administration seek to modify the laws they sought only recently to change.

With the White House refusal to release those visitor logs have come renewed calls to pass the Mar-a-Lago Act.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.

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Since entering the White House, Trump has drawn criticism from ethics experts who say he hasn't appropriately distanced himself from his companies. And it should. The White House is the people's house. "It looks like we'll see them in court". "What's better than the White House?"

The Trump White House said it will shutter a section of the White House website launched by the Obama White House as an effort to streamline transparency for the public, NPR's Domenico Montanaro reported.

The other aspect of visitor logs is they only cover the White House and other selected government sites. He added that the policy "undermines the rule of law and suggests this White House doesn't want to be accountable to the American people", according to a statement released Friday.

The policy permitted some exceptions to disclosure, including private visits to the Obama family. The White House provided no information about his activities, though CNN obtained images of the president golfing. Udall, who introduced a bill last month to mandate publication of visitor logs, asked Friday. Despite being the first to open up the logs, the Obama administration was criticized for not going far enough and endured negative news stories about some of its visitors.

The US federal government does have an Office of Government Ethics, but its boss, Walter Shaub, knows as much under Trump as your average US citizen.

President Donald Trump and the Republican Party are fast at work amassing a war chest for 2020, raising tens of millions of dollars before Trump even marks his 100th day in the White House.


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