White House releases guests' names, and a caution

The Obama administration on Friday released a partial roster of visitors in the first six months of President Obama’s term, a disclosure that shows business executives, labor leaders, lobbyists and a sprinkling of celebrities were cleared into the White House for meetings, events or tours.

Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, visited the Oval Office on March 25. Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chairman, dined in the White House Mess Hall on Feb. 19. Oprah Winfrey arrived two days earlier for an appointment in the residence of the executive mansion.

Among the White House guests was a boldface-names list of chief executives, including Lloyd C. Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, Vikram Pandit of Citigroup Inc., Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, Rex W. Tillerson of the Exxon Mobil Corporation, David J. O’Reilly of the Chevron Corporation and Jeffrey R. Immelt of the General Electric Company The men, who met with Mr. Obama, his advisers or both, were among nearly 500 entries in logs from Jan. 20 to July 31, reports New York Times.

The White House late Friday afternoon posted a list of roughly 480 records in response to questions about whether specific people visited the president's home. It plans to start disclosing comprehensive visitor lists in coming months.

The records are a step toward making good on Obama's promise of transparency. But they also show that despite a campaign pledge to reduce special-interest influence on policymaking, lobbyists are getting face time with him and his aides.

The visits included in the records released Friday include roughly eight dozen with Obama , The Associated Press reports.

According to Bloomberg, Obama announced Sept. 4 that his administration would begin releasing the logs after being pressed by watchdog groups for the details on who government officials were meeting with. Former President George W. Bush, Obama’s predecessor, fought to keep such visitor records private.

The administration in September released the names of health industry executives who came for discussions on health- care legislation.

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