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Court Order requires DHS to make Mar-a-Lago visitor records public by September 8

Judge Orders Sep. 8 Deadline for Mar-a-Lago Visitor Records Release

White House Records Still at Issue in Doyle v. DHS

Archive, Knight Institute, CREW Persuade Government to Concede on Resort

 

Posted July 17, 2017

 

National Security Archive Briefing Book No. 599
Update of NSAEBB585 posted April 14, 2017

 

Edited by Lauren Harper and Tom Blanton
For further information, contact: 202.994.7000 and nsarchiv@gwu.edu

 

 

Our Lawsuit in the News

"Mar-a-Lago Visitor Logs To Become Public, If They Exist," by Brian Naylor, NPR, July 17, 2017.

"Watchdog group says Trump will have to turn over Mar-a-Lago visitor records," by Nolan D. McCaskill and Darren Samuelsohn, Politico, July 17, 2017. 

Ethics watchdog to release Mar-a-Lago visitor,” by Jacqueline Thomsen, The Hill, July 17, 2017

"White House to Keep Its Visitor Logs Secret," by Julie Davis, The New York Times, April 14, 2017

"Trump will keep list of White House visitors secret," by John Wagner, The Washington Post, April 14, 2017

"As Trump Continues Mar-A-Lago Trips, Watchdogs Want To Know Who's Joining Him," by Greg Allen, NPR, April 13, 2017

"The public deserves to know who is visiting the White House," by The Washington Post Editorial Board, The Washington Post, April 11, 2017 

"Let us see the White House visitor logs, Mr. President," by The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board, The San Diego Union-Tribune, April 10, 2017

"New suit demands Trump White House visitor logs," by Josh Gerstein, Politico, April 10, 2017

Trump sued for not releasing White House visitor logs, by Mallory Shelbourne, The Hill, April 10, 2017

Watchdog groups sue for White House, Mar-a-Lago visitor logs, by Jill Disis,CNN, April 10, 2017

"Secret Service Sued Over Trump Residence Visitor Logs," by Bob van Voris, April 10, 2017

Watchdogs Sue Trump Admin For Visitor Logs At WH, Trump Tower, Mar-A-Lago, By Esme Cribb, Talking Points Memo, April 10, 2017

"Who’s visiting the White House? Watchdog groups are suing to find out," by John Wagner, The Washington Post, April 9, 2017

 

Washington, D.C., July 17, 2017 – The Department of Homeland Security will release the visitor logs for President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort by September 8, according to a court order filed on July 14, 2017, by federal judge Katherine Polk Failla. The order is in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit brought by the National Security Archive, together with the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).


Mar-a-Lago guest Richard DeAgazio's Facebook page featured a number of pictures of President Trump's meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as news broke North Korea had fired a missile in the direction of Japan.

The suit, Doyle v. DHS, was filed on April 10, 2017, in the federal District Court for the Southern District of New York. It seeks the Secret Service's White House visitor logs dating from Inauguration Day through March 8 ,including visitor logs for Mar-a-Lago and Trump Tower.

The National Security Archive’s Kate Doyle, senior analyst working on US-Latin America policy, filed the initial FOIA request with the Secret Service on January 23 for the Worker and Visitor Entrance System (WAVES) records and Access Control Records System (ACR) records covering Inauguration weekend. WAVES and ACR are the systems that keep track of White House visitors and were used to generate the White House visitor logs previously posted to Whitehouse.gov.

The government has until the end of September 2017 to file declarations concerning the White House visitor logs; DHS claims there are no such records for Trump Tower since the President did not visit the property during the time period covered by the request.

The Obama administration began voluntarily posting the visitor logs on Whitehouse.gov after a September 2009 settlement with CREW, which brought the original White House visitor log lawsuit against the George W. Bush administration in 2007. The Obama administration agreed to post the logs 90 to 120 days after the visits took place, with several exceptions, and did so throughout the duration of Obama’s two terms, cumulatively posting 5.99 million rows of data that were viewed 471 thousand times and downloaded more than 10 thousand times as of the page’s final update on December 30, 2016. The published visitor logs contained 28 fields of data, including the date and time of the appointment, type of access the visitor received, and a description of the visitors.


Image courtesy of federal HABS—Historic American Buildings Survey in Florida project.

Access to the Obama visitor logs helped break a number of news stories, including on the influence of lobbyists. One story revealed that then-CEO of Exxon, Rex Tillerson, visited the Obama White House at least 20 times in 2014 to advocate against Russia sanctions. In another example, the logs raised questions about the clout of high tech firms, particularly Google, in the Obama administration; one article on “Google’s Remarkably Close Relationship With the Obama White House” showed that Google lobbyist Johanna Shelton visited the White House no fewer than 128 times, far more than her peers from other tech companies, and that “Between January 2009 and October 2015, Google staffers gathered at the White House on 427 separate occasions.”

 

Read the Court Order here

Read previous Trump visitor log lawsuit posting here

 

National Security Archive
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The George Washington University
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Washington, D.C., 20037
Phone: 202/994-7000
Fax: 202/994/7005
nsarchiv@gwu.edu

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