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by
MSNBC

Obama Blocks List of Visitors to White House

Taking Bush's position, administration denies msnbc.com request for logs

by
Bill Dedman

U.S. President Barack Obama stops and turns to address a reporter's question in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, June 12, 2009. (REUTERS/Jim Young)

The Obama administration is fighting to block
access to names of visitors to the White House, taking up the Bush
administration argument that a president doesn't have to reveal who
comes calling to influence policy decisions.

Despite
President Barack Obama's pledge to introduce a new era of transparency
to Washington, and despite two rulings by a federal judge that the
records are public, the Secret Service has denied msnbc.com's request for the names of all White House visitors from Jan. 20 to the present. It also denied
a narrower request
by the nonpartisan watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and
Ethics in Washington, which sought logs of visits by executives of coal
companies.

CREW says it will file a lawsuit Tuesday against the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the Secret Service.

"We
are deeply disappointed," said CREW attorney Anne L. Weismann, "that
the Obama administration is following the same anti-transparency policy
as the Bush administration when it comes to White House visitor
records. Refusing to let the public know who visits the White House is
not the action of a pro-transparency, pro-accountability
administration."

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