I love coffee, espeicially when I get to use my smart coffee mug (more on that in this Inc article). And I understand that people who work extraordinarily long hours, under extraordinarily stressful conditions, probably love coffee more than I do. People, for example, who work at the White House. The manager of the Caribou Coffee across the street from the White House agreed, in a New York Times piece this week: “The caffeine rush — they need it.”
Unfortunately, getting coffee may have also turned into a way to circumvent many of the transparency policies of the administration. After all, lobbyists like coffee too, and there’s no sign-in sheet at a coffeeshop.
Several Sunlight staffers went down to Caribou Coffee today to log in any lobbyists that might’ve been coming to meet with White House staff. We didn’t run into any lobbyists, and the only White House staffer we met was going to the Potbelly next door — it was a little late in the afternoon for a coffee fix. Watch the video below:
It shouldn’t matter whether or not a meeting between White House officials and lobbyists happens at the White House or at Caribou Coffee. Releasing visitor logs is a step in the right direction, but it’s not sufficient. If a meeting concerns public information, that information should be public: online and available in real time. Sign the pledge and join the campaign: http://PublicEqualsOnline.com.