The National Security Archive, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University are taking the Department of Homeland Security and Secret Service to court for refusing to release visitor logs despite Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
The Hill reported Monday that the groups are demanding records from both the White House and those meeting with Trump at his Florida resort Mar-a-Lago.
“We hoped that the Trump administration would follow the precedent of the Obama administration and continue to release visitor logs, but unfortunately they have not,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a release. “Given the many issues we have already seen in this White House with conflicts of interest, outside influence, and potential ethics violations, transparency is more important than ever, so we had no choice but to sue.”
National Security Archive senior policy analyst Kate Doyle said that her organization has filed FOIA requests going all the way back to the first days of the Trump administration, but requests have seemingly been ignored.
“When foreign officials go to see the president or his staff, the American people have a right to know who and when,” Doyal explained.
CREW filed a similar lawsuit against former President Barack Obama's administration and urged passage of The Presidential Records Act in 2009. The bill never passed but Obama ended up creating a section of the website that revealed those logs on a regular basis.