That pesky Judicial Wach bunch just won't go away! Now they've filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Secret Service, asking a federal court to order the release of visitor logs to the White House for the period between Jan. 20, 2009, and Aug. 10, 2009.
The suit was filed after the Secret Service denied Judicial Watch's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requiest for the logs. According to Judicial Watch, the Secret Service denial is based on the incorrect argument that White House visitor logs are not subject to the FOIA because the logs aren't “agency records.”
In fact, federal courts on at least four recent occasions have rejected the Secret Service argument that the logs are not agency records, according to Judicial Watch. The four cases include:
* Washington Post v. U.S. Dep’t of Homeland Security, 459 F. Supp 2d 61, 72 (D.D.C. 2006);
* Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington v. U.S. Dep’t of Homeland Security, 592 F. Supp. 2d 111, 124 (D.D.C. 2009);
* Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington v. U.S. Dep’t of Homeland Security, 527 F. Supp. 2d 76, 89 (D.D.C. 2007); and,
* Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington v. U.S. Dep’t of Homeland Security, 459 F. Supp. 2d 61, 71-72 (D.D.C. 2006).
Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton explained why his organization filed the suit despite the voluntary publication of the White House last month of some of its visitors logs:
“The courts have affirmed that these White House visitor records are subject to release under FOIA law. If the Obama administration is serious about transparency, they will agree to the release of these records under the Freedom of Information Act. The recent ‘party crasher’ scandal at the White House put the spotlight on the need for transparency under law when it comes to who visits the White House.”
For more on the Judicial Watch case, go here.