Obama Aides Take Lobbyist Meetings Across Street

That way, they're not seen in visitor logs
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2011 2:17 PM CST
A Secret Service Officer stands guard outside of the White House October 3, 2003 in Washington, DC.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Apparently Barack Obama’s opposition to lobbyist influence isn’t as strident as advertised. Obama’s aides still consult with lobbyists, Politico reports—they just do it across the street from the White House. These chats, held in meeting rooms just off the White House campus, aren’t recorded in the visitor logs that have, under Obama’s orders, become public knowledge. “They’re doing it on the side,” said one immigration reform lobbyist, adding, “It’s better than nothing.”

The White House says it uses off-site locations when all the space in the White House is booked, and notes that some lobbyist meetings wind up in the logs. “Our driving principle here is that lobbyists should have the same access to the White House as non-lobbyists,” says a spokesman. But lobbyists say they’re being hidden, particularly because they’re made to sign confidentiality agreements before meetings. “When they need us, they call us,” says one. “When they don’t, we’re evil.” (Read more Barack Obama stories.)

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