White House to appeal visitor logs release ruling

[JURIST] The White House said Thursday that it will appeal a Monday ruling [opinion, PDF; order, PDF] that held White House visitor logs to be public documents [press release], asking a federal judge not to force the logs' disclosure in the meantime. On Monday, US District Judge Royce C. Lamberth rejected [JURIST report] a Bush administration bid to have the logs treated as confidential presidential records. Visitor logs are compiled by the Secret Service, and thus subject to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) [text] requests; the Bush administration had ordered that the logs be submitted to the White House, so that they would fall outside the domain of FOIA. Watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) [advocacy website] brought the lawsuit, seeking logs regarding the White House visits of prominent conservative religious figures, including James Dobson and Jerry Falwell. AP has more.

In October, US District Judge Ricardo Urbina ordered the Secret Service to release visitor logs [JURIST report] for the personal residence and office of Vice-President Dick Cheney. The order was issued following a lawsuit by the Washington Post, which requested the logs in June while researching White House ties to political lobbyists. The Justice Department filed an appeal against the order [JURIST report] last week. In a second ruling [PDF text] issued Monday by Lamberth, the judge said that CREW could not seek an injunction [press release] preventing the Secret Service from destroying visitor logs after they are turned over to the White House.



 

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