White House visitor logs secret for now
By Times Wires
Published December 22, 2007
A federal judge agreed Friday to let the Bush administration keep secret the lists of visitors to the White House until an appeals court decides whether the documents are public records. U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth granted the White House request five days after ordering the Secret Service to turn over the records to the liberal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which sought them under the Freedom of Information Act. The logs relate to White House visits by nine conservative religious commentators, including James Dobson, Gary Bauer and the late Rev. Jerry Falwell. Visitor records are created by the Secret Service, which is subject to the Freedom of Information Act. The Bush administration ordered the logs be turned over to the White House, where it is treated as presidential records outside the scope of the public records law.
Two more Bush aides to depart
President Bush's special envoy for Sudan, Andrew Natsios, resigned Friday and was replaced by a former U.S. diplomat to the United Nations amid questions about the administration's policies toward the vast African nation. Natsios is to be replaced by Richard "Rich" Williamson, a lawyer, former ambassador and senior Republican party official in Illinois. Also Friday, Ellen Sauerbrey, the assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration, said she would be leaving the post soon. Sauerbrey, the State Department's top diplomat for refugee crises, has been criticized for the handling of Iraqi refugee admissions.
EPA under scrutiny for clean air ruling
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday that Congress would closely scrutinize its decision to reject California's request to tighten rules on greenhouse gas emissions. Pelosi, D-Calif., said she strongly disagreed with the agency's rationale for the decision and would support an investigation by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif. He is seeking all documents related to the state's request for a waiver to implement fuel efficiency rules for vehicles that it says will work faster than the federal government's. It was the first time the agency had completely denied a Clean Air Act waiver request from California after granting more than 50.
Troops funerals: Senators are now allowed to use taxpayer dollars to travel to the funerals of service members in their home states. The new policy adopted this week by the Rules Committee was championed by Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., who argued that it was wrong to cover the cost of a senator flying across the country to give a speech, but not to attend the funeral of a soldier or Marine killed in action.
[Last modified December 22, 2007, 00:44:40]
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