The Corner

A Tip on Using the White House Visitor Logs, Just Posted

The White House has posted 481 visitor records, covering requested names from the period between January and July. But as White House special counsel Norm Eisen points out, not all the names belong to the people you think they do:

A lot of people visit the White House, up to 100,000 each month, with many of those folks coming to tour the buildings. Given this large amount of data, the records we are publishing today include a few “false positives” – names that make you think of a well-known person, but are actually someone else.  In September, requests were submitted for the names of some famous or controversial figures (for example Michael Jordan, William Ayers, Michael Moore, Jeremiah Wright, Robert Kelly (“R. Kelly”), and Malik Shabazz).  The well-known individuals with those names never actually came to the White House.  Nevertheless, we were asked for those names and so we have included records for those individuals who were here and share the same names.

I’ve been playing with the list and figured out a useful tip for weeding out false positives: Look at the “Total people” category in the spreadsheet. The Andrew Stern who had a one-on-one with Rahm Emanuel in February is probably the president of the SEIU. The one who toured the White House with 542 other people is probably a different guy. But you can’t automatically disqualify an entry because of a large number of visitors: Stern was among the 393 guests at the White House’s St. Patrick’s Day event. 

As far as I can tell, THE Andrew Stern was the top outside visitor to the White House with approximately 20 visits, or about three visits per month, including four relatively small meetings with the president and a dozen with other White House staffers. Stern has openly bragged about the SEIU’s $61 million investment in Barack Obama. It certainly bought him a lot of access.

Update: And while we’re on the subject of the SEIU, here’s an interesting entry: On March 3, ACORN spokesman Scott Levenson met with White House political affairs director Patrick Gaspard, who came to the White House from SEIU. Unsurprising, given the groups’ close ties. I wonder what they talked about.