A federal judge on Monday rejected a Bush administration argument for shielding records of White House visits by prominent religious conservatives.
U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth ruled that visitor logs from the White House and Vice President Dick Cheney’s residence are subject to Freedom of Information Act requests. The Secret Service creates the records and is subject to Freedom of Information Act requests.
The Bush administration, however, had ordered that the logs be turned over to the White House and treated as presidential records, which would protect them from public-records law.
In a lawsuit brought by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a liberal watchdog group, Lamberth ordered the Secret Service to turn over visitor logs regarding nine conservative religious commentators, including James Dobson, Gary Bauer and Jerry Falwell, according to an Associated Press report.
Lamberth said he did not have the authority to rule on a second CREW lawsuit seeking to render illegal the White House’s destruction of log records provided by the Secret Service. That lawsuit involved logs of White House visits by disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.