Transparency. Not because they really believe in it. But because they were threatened with an embarrassing lawsuit and the fear-mongerer-in-chief didn’t want to have to deal with questions about it last night.
Distraction, you know. Via Josh Gerstein:
Minutes before a press conference where President Barack Obama could have been asked about the issue, the White House released a list of visits by health care executives.
The Secret Service had earlier rejected a request for the same information, asserting executive privilege. The issue could have been an embarassment for Obama at the presser in light of his promises during the campaign to make public White House visitors and to conduct deliberations about health care in public.
The public interest group which requested the records, Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington, filed suit earlier Wednesday over the denial.
· Bill Tauzin visited the White House on March 5, May 19, June 2, and June 24.
· Karen Ignagni visited the White House on March 5, 6, and 11 and June 30.
· Richard Umbdenstock visited the White House on February 4, February 23; March 5, March 25, March 30; April 6, and May 22.
· J. James Rohack visited the White House on March 25, June 22, and June 24.
· William C. Weldon visited the White House on May 12.
· Jeffrey B. Kindler visited the White House on March 5, May 6, and June 2.
· Stephen J. Hemsley visited the White House on May 15 and 22.
· Angela F. Braly visited the White House on February 13.
· George Halvorson visited the White House on March 27 and June 5.
· Jay Gellert visited the White House on February 10, March 11, and March 20.
· Thomas Priselac visited the White House on April 3.
· Richard Clark visited the White House on March 24.
· Wayne T. Smith visited the White House on June 4.
· Rick Smith visited the White House on May 19 and June 2.
In addition to the above information, the White House visitor records reflect that Mr. Tauzin, Ms. Ignagni, Mr. Umbdenstock, Mr. Rohack, Mr. Kindler, Mr. Halvorson, Mr. Gellert, Mr. Priselac, David Nexon, and Rick Smith were scheduled to attend a May 11 meeting at the White House. We understand that all the individuals attended the meeting except Mr. Kindler, and that Mr. Clark attended as well. Finally, the visitor records do not reflect any visits by the following individuals: Ben J. Lipps; William A. Hawkins, III; or Robert L. Parkinson.