Watchdogs sue for visitor logs to White House, Mar-a-Lago
WASHINGTON - A coalition of government groups have sued the Trump administration for failing to release visitor logs for the White House, Mar-a-Lago and Trump Tower.
The FOIA suit is aimed at the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the Secret Service. It was filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the National Security Archive and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.
In 2009, CREW sued the Obama White House and won an agreement that visitor logs would be posted online every month, on a 90 to 120-day delay.
“We hoped that the Trump administration would follow the precedent of the Obama administration and continue to release visitor logs, but unfortunately they have not.” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said. “Given the many issues we have already seen in this White House with conflicts of interest, outside influence, and potential ethics violations, transparency is more important than ever, so we had no choice but to sue.”
Trump has visited Mar-a-Lago six times since taking office and is expected to make more visits before the winter season winds down.
“This is a case about the public’s right to know who wields influence over the most powerful office in our government,” said Knight’s Alex Abdo. “In our view, the Freedom of Information Act requires the government to make this information available to the public.”
--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times
Photo credit: Charles Trainor Jr., Miami Herald staff