The White House visitor log is the most recent victim of the federal shutdown. Visitors to the White House website will now see an error message if they try to access the logs.
Since the beginning of the shutdown, the White House’s website has stated: “Due to Congress’ failure to pass legislation to fund the government, the information on this website may not be up to date. Some submissions may not be processed, and we may not be able to respond to your inquires.”
The Obama administration began publishing its visitor logs in 2009 after a legal battle with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. CREW asked it be mandatory for the logs to be disclosed.
Despite a three-judge panel ruling in 2009 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia determining it was legal for the executive branch to not release its log, the White House acquiesced and published it.
“I certainly think the log ought to be posted, but I don’t see how it is an essential function right now,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director at CREW. “I’d rather see poor kids go to school than have the logs up.”
Fewer than 450 of the more than 1,700 White House employees are currently working during the shutdown. This includes people who manage the White House website and its databases.
The shutdown has now entered its third week. Though some areas of the government have been funded by piecemeal approaches, such as the management of nuclear weapons and the Federal Aviation Administration, nearly half a million workers are still furloughed.