June 23, 2017

Spicer defends White House's lack of transparency

25 April 2017, 12:59 | Leonard Manning

The Trump administration says it will not make public the names of those visiting the White House, reversing the Obama administration's policy. "The White House requires all of its employees to work closely with ethics counsel to ensure compliance and has aggressively required employees to recuse or divest where the law requires".

The first lady's White House visits have been few and far between since the president's inauguration, and her decision to stay in NY has been widely criticized for costing significant taxpayer money, even prompting a petition demanding that she move to the White House.

The Obama White House posted the records online about three months after the visits took place, except those that included names of people considered sensitive or who had personal relationships with the Obamas. Trump officials made a point to note to Time that the Obama White House fought in court to keep elements of its logs, which were at times incomplete, redacted or withheld. The White House cited privacy of visitors as the reason for the new Trump policy. But after being sued, it voluntarily began disclosing the logs in December 2009, posting records every three to four months.

Walter M. Shaub the director of the Office of Government Ethics, which is responsible for assuring that federal agencies and their employees - including the White House - are in compliance with federal ethics laws.

The White House announced Friday that it would not be releasing the logs. Trump has been widely criticized for a lack of openness in refusing to release his tax returns, breaking with decades of precedent.

Saudis among kidnapped hunters freed in Iraq
An official said the victims' identities are being verified before being handed over to the Qatari delegation. For example, Qatar's capital city of Doha has hosted talks between the Taliban and Afghan government.

In all, Trump's campaign and the party have said they raised more than $53 million between January 1 and March 31.

The fundraising efforts come as US Senator and former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has predicted that Trump won't be elected into the White House for a second term. In the first quarter, his campaign and a joint fundraising committee spent almost $500,000 for facility rental and lodging at Trump hotels, rent at the Trump Tower in NY and catering from Trump restaurants, filings show. Aides rarely confirm when the president is golfing, even when photos of him on the course pop up on social media.

Ultimately, almost 6 million visitor records were released, though certain visits were excluded, including for national security or law enforcement reasons. Scavino and Associates, an LLC tied to White House social media director Dan Scavino, received nearly $17,000. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.

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