Trump Administration Withholds Almost All Mar-a-Lago Visitor Records

September 15, 2017

In response to a court order for presidential visitor logs to the Mar-a-Lago golf resort, the Department of Homeland Security today released only a list of 22 names related to one visit by the Japanese prime minister. The court order followed a lawsuit by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, and the National Security Archive.

“The White House is hiding the Mar-a-Lago visitor logs without any adequate justification,” said Knight Institute Senior Staff Attorney Alex Abdo. “The public has a right to know who holds influence over the the president and his staff, and we will keep fighting for that information.”

Although President Obama regularly published logs of visitors to the White House, when President Trump took office, his administration discontinued the practice, and last April it announced that it would withhold them as a matter of policy. On April 10, the Knight Institute and the other organizations filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act seeking the White House visitor logs as well as those for Mar-a-Lago and Trump Tower. In July, a federal district court issued a scheduling order requiring the Secret Service to turn over any Mar-a-Lago visitor records that were not exempt under the act.

Last month, the Knight Institute and other organizations also amended their records request to include additional visitor logs through August for the White House, Mar-a-Lago, and Trump Tower, as well as visitor logs for other private properties, including the president's golf clubs in Virginia, New Jersey, and Florida. 

About the Knight Institute

The Knight First Amendment Institute is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization established by Columbia University and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to defend the freedoms of speech and press in the digital age through strategic litigation, research, and public education.