Federal court rejects Bush appeal of order to process visitor log request

[JURIST] A panel of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit rejected [opinion, PDF; CREW press release] a Bush administration appeal against a 2007 order [PDF text] requiring that White House visitor logs be released in compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) [text]. The court held that it lacked jurisdiction to consider the appeal because the lower court had only ordered the White House to process a FOIA request rather than to disclose all documents. In 2007, the district court ruled [opinion, PDF] that White House visitor logs were public documents [press release] and are thus subject to FOIA requests. The Bush administration had argued that the logs are presidential property, meaning that they would fall outside the domain of the FOIA. Advocacy 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 2006, 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 had requested the logs in June while researching White House ties to political lobbyists. The Justice Department filed an appeal against the order [JURIST report] in December 2006.

 

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