By Eli Yokley
April 14, 2017 at 2:31 pm ET
The Trump administration said Friday it will end the Obama-era practice of publishing the White House visitor logs.
In a statement, White House Communications Director Mike Dubke cited “grave national security risks and privacy concerns” in ending the practice.
Instead, President Donald Trump’s White House will lean on a ruling sought by former President Barack Obama’s White House that found the records — which are maintained by the Secret Service — are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. By relying on the Presidential Records Act as the basis for release, records of White House visitors during Trump’s presidency could not be made public until five years after he leaves office.
The development, first reported by Time, ends months of speculation about what would happen to the logs.
The Obama White House published many of the records on its website, dating back to 2009. The Trump administration has suggested the data could have been manipulated since it was taken from the Secret Service ahead of posting.
The Obama administration did remove some names, especially those related to national security. White House officials also reportedly met offsite with lobbyists to avoid being named in the official logs.
In addition to not publishing the White House visitor logs, the Trump administration will also end the Obama-era government transparency website, “Open.WhiteHouse.Gov.” The website had centralized data available across the government.
On Monday, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a group which promotes government transparency, filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, accusing the agency of violating open records laws by not sharing the Trump visitor logs.
Eli Yokley is a senior data reporter at Morning Consult covering politics and campaigns. @eyokley