George Clooney, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and prominent lobbyists, corporate executives and Democratic fundraisers were among the first to score visits with President Obama, Michelle, or top aides at the White House, newly released records show. The White House late yesterday afternoon posted a list of roughly 480 records in response to questions about whether specific people visited the president's home.
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. Among the visitors:
- Labor leader and Obama supporter Andrew Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, pait 22 visits, including 7 with Obama.
- Ed Yingling, the chief executive of the American Bankers Association and a registered lobbyist, attended four meetings with Obama.
- Camden Fine, chief executive of the Independent Community Bankers of America and a Washington lobbyist for the group, had four Obama meetings.