No visitor logs for President Biden’s personal residence in Wilmington

The White House on Monday said it “does not keep visitors logs for President Biden’s personal residence in Wilmington, Del., where his lawyers have discovered at least six documents with classified markings.”

This is a bigger deal than usual, because as you may have noticed, Biden spends a lot of time at his private homes. During his presidency, Biden has spent spent all or part of 194 days either in Wilmington or at his vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, according to a tally by the Associated Press. That’s about six and a half months out of a presidency that hasn’t yet hit two full years.

Biden reinstated the Obama practice of releasing White House visitor logs, a practice that was designed to assure Americans they would know who was talking to the White House staff, and at least shine a spotlight on lobbyists who were attempting to influence administration policy. Most people don’t remember that the Obama team initially resisted the effort to get the logs released, but once they acquiesced, Obama acted like he had graciously granted the public an amazing breakthrough in government transparency.

“For the first time in history, records of White House visitors will be made available to the public on an ongoing basis,” Obama said in a released statement on September 4, 2009. “We will achieve our goal of making this administration the most open and transparent administration in history not only by opening the doors of the White House to more Americans, but by shining a light on the business conducted inside. Americans have a right to know whose voices are being heard in the policymaking process.”

But reviews indicated the Obama team was releasing considerably less than they promised, and there were significant questions of whether the logs were even accurate. The Center for Public Integrity concluded, “the logs routinely omit or cloud key details about the identity of visitors, who they met with, the nature of the visit, and even includes the names of people who never showed up.”

There was another wrinkle: If a meeting with a lobbyist could turn into a political headache, Obama White House staff just met at a coffee shop down the street or in a conference room off the White House grounds. They would have the same kind of meeting, but no entry log would be created at the White House.

The Trump administration stopped releasing that information, citing “the grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.”

Biden and his team are offering another shell game maneuver the way the Obama team did. Sure, you can look through the White House visitor logs. You just can’t see anyone that Biden or his top staff met with any of the days they’ve been somewhere else… which is a major chunk of his time as president.

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