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White House Visitor Log Scam is Revealed

by Keith Koffler on April 13, 2011, 11:29 am

Here’s another one of those stories that, if it had applied to Bush, would be blaring on CNN and zapped around the Internets as an example of the evil machinations of Dick Cheney and allied divisions of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

The nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity, an investigative news outfit, details today how the White House is running a wicked scam with its widely touted “visitor logs” releases. In an article in POLITICO,which also appears in partial form on the group’s website, the CPI details how thousands of visits, including numerous gatherings with the president or his senior staff, are either not included in the logs or obscured by deceptive practices.

This is one of those cases where some information is worse than nothing at all.

By providing only the records it wants you to see, the White House offers everyone the false impression of transparency, allowing officials to more effectively hide the meetings they don’t want you to know about. And by suggesting you should be grateful for what you are getting, the White House can more easily rebuff inquiries for the meaty stuff.

Releasing such incomplete White House logs is approximately like noting the ATM withdrawals of a bank robber.

The authors, CPI writers Viveca Novak and Fred Schulte, assert that that “it’s difficult to assess whether a major Obama campaign pledge to limit the influence of lobbyists in his administration has been kept, or if big donors have been given ready access to the White House.”

Here are some of the startling facts from their piece:

  • Less than 1 percent of the estimated 500,000 visits to the White House in Obama’s first eight months . . . have been disclosed.
  • AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka has been logged in at least four dozen times, often with other labor bigwigs, but the records tell why he was there in only 12 of those cases, and those are mostly ceremonial events or social functions. Twice last year, Trumka met privately with Obama and once with Vice President Joe Biden, the records show, but no details are given.
  • Junior White House staff members routinely list themselves as the “visitee,” or person being visited, when in fact the visitor has arrived to see someone higher up the chain of command.
  • The practice appears to apply to the commander in chief in some instances. Reggie Love is recorded as receiving nearly 300 visits in the West Wing of the White House. Love is Obama’s personal assistant, the young aide who is constantly at the president’s side. Nearly two dozen campaign fundraisers and their family members are listed as visiting Love. The records give no hint as to who else they saw once they entered the White House or the purpose of their meetings.
  • While (former Chief of Staff Rahm) Emanuel is listed as having fewer than 500 visitors . . . three young aides who scheduled meetings for Emanuel — Katherine Kochman, Amanda Anderson and Benjamin Milakofsky — collectively had more than 2,600 visits in their names.

This piece follows an excellent one two months ago by POLITICO‘s own reporters showing that White House staffers were circumventing the logs altogether by meeting with lobbyists at a White House annex. A New York Times article last year had Obama aides huddling with lobbyists off campus at the 17th Street and Pennsylvania Ave. Caribou Coffee shop.

The latest information on the logs should be major scandal, but it won’t be, because MSM reporters will be bought off with statements like this out of the press office, which was included in today’s CPI article.

“The Obama administration has taken unprecedented steps to increase transparency by releasing visitor records from the system each month to provide the American people with more information about their government,” White House spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield said. “No previous White House has ever adopted such a policy,” she said.

Don’t you feel better? It reminds me of the praise they used to heap on Communist countries for their high literacy rates. Of course, what this left out was that after teaching people to read, they then GAVE THEM SOMETHING TO READ.

The White House does indeed pull back the curtain. But like any good documentary maker, it creates the illusion of a factual portrayal by showing you only what it wants you to see.

{ 9 comments }

Star April 13, 2011 at 11:33 am

I smiled indulgently when they came in saying they would not talk to lobbyists. I used to be one. Of course, they would…lobbyists have the info, money, and clout–they were going to want some of that.

William April 13, 2011 at 12:02 pm

But…but…but…he got an award for transparency…

Miranda April 13, 2011 at 12:14 pm

In secret …. :>)

Keith Koffler April 13, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Transparency award coverup.

Miranda April 13, 2011 at 12:13 pm

What are they hiding? Visits by Soros minions? Andy Stern? The Rathke’s? Bill Ayers? The lobbyist visits don’t concern me as much – it’s the visits by the NWO bots that we need to look for. We’ll never know, thanks to the corrupt, self-serving, elitist JournoListas who keep a stranglehold on the flow of information. I’m shocked that Politico would run this story – but really it’s just a rap on the knuckles. Bad Obama! Spank, spank! Now don’t you do that again – or if you do, we don’t want to hear about it.

Re Trumka – Beck did a piece on him & the unions a month or so ago – showed a video of Trumka bragging that he visited the WH several times a week, and spoke to WH staff every day. Obviously that’s in conflict with what the logs “reveal”.

It’s going to be too late very soon I’m afraid. No outrage by the Leftist media. 25 million Americans watching AI. Soros now the 3rd largest owner of grain elevators …. in the U.S. (he just bought a bunch in March). It’s coming ….

Miranda April 13, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Sorry for the multiple posts but just look at the search results for “gavilon grain elevators”:

http://www.bing.com/search?q=gavilon+grain+elevators&src=IE-SearchBox&FORM=IE8SRC

Steve April 13, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Does this really surprise anyone? So many bigwigs in the Democratic Party and those aligned with said bigwigs abandoned the Clintons in favor of Obama in 2008. Payback for that support has been in the works ever since Day One of the self-described transparent administration. It could come out that labor union leaders took money from taxpayers and gave it to Osama bin Laden and the media would still say Watergate was the worst scandal ever.

srdem65 April 13, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Spin and spun, spinning the spin until nothing is real.

ol' gator May 17, 2011 at 10:22 am

when all the toxic dust settles and the obambos are finally shown the door, after all the rats have jumped ship,and all his political hacks sign their book deals,we will clearly see how deceptive, vain , corrupt , wasteful this presidency has been.. how shameless. .how conceited.. how elitist..
but then what do you expect from a man who sat in a so called church (where even practicing muslims are accepted as members) where a maniacal racist constantly ranted about America & White people.
tell me ! ! what do you expect????