WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- The White House cannot claim executive privilege for its visitor logs, and must release them, a U.S. judge ruled Monday.
The Bush administration resisted their disclosure as it fought a lawsuit on alleged political influence by conservative Christian leaders, CNN reported.
In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth said log information is subject to the Freedom of Information Act and is considered part of the public record. The White House argued it had control of the logs and their release was subject to presidential discretion.
"Because the Secret Service creates, uses and relies on, and stores visitor records, they are under its control," Lamberth wrote.
Government watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington sought the visitor records of conservatives such as James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America and others, including the late televangelist Jerry Falwell.
In 2006, the White House and the Secret Service signed a memorandum of understanding, later disclosed, that visitors to the White House complex were not subject to public disclosure, CNN said.
Lamberth called the agreement "self-serving" because it was issued after records were created and after CREW filed its lawsuit.