CREW Sues Secret Service Over Refusal to Release White House Healthcare Exec Visitor Logs

For Immediate Release

CREW Sues Secret Service Over Refusal to Release White House Healthcare Exec Visitor Logs

WASHINGTON - Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is filing a lawsuit
against the Department of Homeland Security based on the refusal of the
Secret Service to provide CREW with White House visitor records under
the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). CREW is seeking records of
visits by top health care executives in an effort to learn the extent
to which these industry players may have influenced the
administration’s health care policy. Simultaneously, CREW
is requesting emergency relief in the form of a preliminary injunction
compelling the Secret Service to process the request on an expedited
basis, in view of the great public interest and debate on health care
policy and the pressure on Congress to pass legislation before the
August recess.

In response to CREW’s FOIA request,
the Obama administration has taken the same position as the Bush
administration that the records are presidential, not agency records,
and that they are exempt from release because of the possibility in
some instances they could reveal information protected by the
presidential communications privilege. Although the White House
suggested it was reviewing its policy on the release of visitor logs
last month when CREW filed a similar complaint
based on its request for records of visits by top coal company
executives, it has to date refused to make even a discretionary release
of any of the requested records. Every court to rule on the issue so
far has concluded the visitor records are agency records that must be
disclosed under the FOIA.

Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW, said today, “Right now,
the White House and Congress are debating colossal changes to the
American health care system and taxpayers have a right to know who is
sitting at the table influencing decision-makers. Unfortunately, the
administration is refusing to release the names, preferring backroom
politicking to transparency.”

Read CREW's complaint and request for a preliminary injuction in the Related Documents section on the right. Click here to read the original FOIA request to the Secret Service.

 

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Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting ethics and accountability in government and public life by targeting government officials -- regardless of party affiliation -- who sacrifice the common good to special interests. CREW advances its mission using a combination of research, litigation and media outreach.

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