White House visitor logs are short on descriptions


The White House released their most recent visitor logs yesterday but except for public events or group tours, it sheds little light on why the President or White House officials met with particular individuals. Though the logs include a column for descriptions of the meetings, for most entries it was left blank.

For instance, about three-quarters of the meetings held by the President include no details about what was discussed or why the meeting was called. The only way to find out is by perusing the names of the visitors and trying to infer, from the identity of the visitor and the time of the meeting, what might have been discussed. But in some cases, the dates of the meetings are missing too. So we know that Wilbert Billy Tauzin, president, CEO and top lobbyist for PhRMA, the trade group of the pharmaceutical industry, was at the White House to meet with the President and discuss health care issues but the dates for the meetings are missing.

For Rahm Emanuel, White House chief of staff, the logs provide almost no descriptions for any of his meetings. He met with AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka and SEIU chief Andrew Stern, while John Podesta, CEO of progressive think tank and lobbying group the Center for American Progress, met with Emanuel at least seven times. The subject of any of these meetings remains a mystery.

Similarly, Senior Advisor to the President, David Axelrod, longtime Chicago political consultant only lists communications message meeting in the description column so well never know what was discussed at the meeting with Alan Solomont, who is the ambassador to Spain and has been a bundler for Obama during his presidential campaign.

Dig into the data here to see if you can spot some interesting meetings.