White House forced to release some visitor logs in legal settlement

The Trump administration has released some White House visitor logs as part of a settlement with a watchdog group that sued to see the records.

Public Citizen had accused the Trump administration of violating the Freedom of Information Act in its August 2017 lawsuit. The group announced Wednesday that it was “pleased” the White House was finally releasing some visitor logs, although it expressed skepticism at the administration’s reasons for redacting parts of the disclosed records.

The logs released late Tuesday detailed visitors during February of this year to three agencies within the White House complex: the Office of Management and Budget, the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Council on Environmental Quality. Visitor records for the Office of National Drug Control Policy will be released soon, according to Public Citizen.

20 PHOTOS
Images of the White House after Trump renovations
See Gallery
Images of the White House after Trump renovations
The Oval Office of the White House is seen after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. Park Service employer paints the White House during a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
The West Wing lobby of the White House is seen after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
The Roosevelt Room of the White House is seen after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Picture of Franklin Roosevelt is seen in the Roosevelt Room of the White House after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
The West Wing lobby of the White House is seen after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
The West Wing lobby of the White House is seen after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
The Roosevelt Room of the White House is seen after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
The Presidential desk is seen in the Oval Office of the White House after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
The Presidential chair (higher than others) is seen in the Roosevelt Room of the White House after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
A chandelier is seen outside the Oval Office of the White House after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
The Oval Office of the White House is seen after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
The Oval Office of the White House is seen after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
A worker walks past the South Portico porch stairs of the White House after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
A worker cleans the South Portico porch stairs of the White House after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
The South Portico porch steps of the White House are seen after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
The Roosevelt Room of the White House is seen after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
New wallpapers are seen in the Oval Office of the White House after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
The Presidential chair (higher than others) is seen in the Roosevelt Room of the White House after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
The Presidential desk is seen in the Oval Office of the White House after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

“The public now can see who is visiting these four agencies, as they should have been able to see all along,” said Robert Weissman, the group’s president, in a statement. “Now we’ll at least have a window into the corporate and ideological lobbyists who are driving Trump administration policy.”

As Public Citizen noted, the logs revealed the names of several lobbyists and industry advocates who had visited the OMB, including known climate change deniers Myron Bell and Marlo Lewis, anti-regulation advocate Jim Tozzi, and Laurie Holmes, a representative for the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association.

The watchdog group expressed concern, however, at how many names remained hidden in the OMB’s visitor log: More than 530 of its 2,000 entries were redacted. The Office of Science and Technology Policy’s log had 75 redacted entries and the Council on Environmental Quality’s log had six.  

“Public Citizen is skeptical that all of the redactions are proper under FOIA and intends to raise the issue with the agencies,” the group said.

Under the Public Citizen settlement, reached in February, the Trump administration agreed to release all visitor records for the four agencies dating back to the beginning of President Donald Trump’s tenure. As The Hill notes, however, other areas of the White House complex ― including the Executive Office of the President, which is not subject to public records laws ― will not be making their visitor records public.

The Secret Service will have to send the four agency logs to the White House for review every month. The records will then be sent back to those offices, which will have a month to look them over and publish. Records from the past year will be released over the next few months, said Public Citizen.

The Trump administration came under fire last year when it announced its decision to shield White House visitor logs from the eyes of the public, citing “grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.” Multiple lawsuits have been filed against the administration to obtain those records. 

31 PHOTOS
President Trump's life inside the White House
See Gallery
President Trump's life inside the White House
U.S. President Donald Trump leaves the Oval Office to board Marine One to depart for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to visit first lady Melania Trump after she had kidney surgery from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks after John Kelly was sworn in as White House Chief of Staff in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., July 31, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
A television plays a news report on U.S. President Donald Trump's recent Oval Office meeting with Russia's Ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak as night falls on offices and the entrance of the West Wing White House in Washington, U.S. May 15, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 31, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
The White House is seen the day after U.S. President Donald Trump's inauguration in Washington, U.S., January 21, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
First Lady Melania Trump holds a baby as U.S. President Donald Trump (not pictured) greets members of the congress and their families as they attend a congressional picnic event at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 22, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump, flanked by Senior Advisor Jared Kushner (standing, L-R), Vice President Mike Pence and Staff Secretary Rob Porter welcomes reporters into the Oval Office for him to sign his first executive orders at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Counselor to U.S. President Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway prepares to go on the air in front of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 22, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. President Donald Trump greets Director of the FBI James Comey as Director of the Secret Service Joseph Clancy (L) watches during the Inaugural Law Enforcement Officers and First Responders Reception in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 22, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 15: U.S. President Donald Trump is seen on a television news show in the West Wing of the White House, on May 15, 2017 in Washington, DC. Earlier, National security advisor H.R. McMaster spoke to the media about President Trump's meeting with Russian diplomats in the Oval Office last week and reports that Trump shared classified information with them. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump holds up the executive order on withdrawal from the Trans Pacific Partnership after signing it in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington January 23, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump plays host to a reception and meeting with U.S. congressional leaders including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (L-R), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Vice President Mike Pence and Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 23, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump escorts British Prime Minister Theresa May after their meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 27, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump walks from the Oval Office to Marine One upon his departure from the White House in Washington January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
The Marine One helicopter transporting U.S. President Donald Trump is seen as it departs from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., for a trip to Philadelphia, January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. President Donald Trump (seated) is surrounded by staff and aides as he prepares to sign executive orders in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up to reporters as he waits to speak by phone with the Saudi Arabia's King Salman in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to announce his nomination of Neil Gorsuch for the empty associate justice seat of the U.S. Supreme Court at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., January 31, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Matthew S Levatich, CEO of Harley Davidson during a visit of the company's executives at the White House in Washington U.S., February 2, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
The words "Oval Office" adorn the bottom of a coffee cup during a meeting hosted by U.S. President Donald Trump with county sheriffs at the White House in Washington, U.S. February 7, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
A television plays a news report on former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus as night falls on the West Wing of White House in Washington, U.S., July 28, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 16: The White House is seen May 16, 2017 in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump tweeted this morning saying he has the 'absolute right' to share information with Russia. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
With former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (L) at his side, U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters after his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 10, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders holds the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S. July 12, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks as he hosts a Congressional picnic event, accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump, at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 22, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump (C) gathers with Congressional Republicans in the Rose Garden of the White House after the House of Representatives approved the American Healthcare Act, to repeal major parts of Obamacare and replace it with the Republican healthcare plan, in Washington, U.S., May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump walks to Marine One to depart for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to visit first lady Melania Trump after she had kidney surgery from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
U.S. President Donald Trump enters the Rose Garden with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to speak about lowering drug prices at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 11, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 11: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald J. Trump speaks with reporters during a meeting with automotive industries executives in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on May 11, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Edelman-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, May 8, 2018 -- U.S. President Donald Trump displays a signed presidential memorandum at the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, on May 8, 2018. U.S. President Donald Trump said here on Tuesday that the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, a landmark agreement signed in 2015. (Xinhua/Ting Shen via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

In the past, Trump had accused then-President Barack Obama of a lack of transparency over Obama’s treatment of White House visitor logs.

Obama began releasing visitor records early in his presidential tenure but was widely censured for incomplete and poorly maintained logs. For instance, only the names of visitors and not the purposes of their meetings were listed in those records, which made it challenging to figure out exactly who was visiting federal officials and why.

This limitation is repeated in the Trump administration’s visitor records, which similarly do not include information about a visitor’s employer or the purpose of their White House visit.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
Read Full Story