White House defends private celebrity-studded soirees

Story highlights

  • White House visitor logs leave off guest names
  • Celebrities partied with the Obamas but who knew?

(CNN)White House visitor logs released this week were notably missing something. Actually, around 500 somethings.

Reporters were quick to notice that the names of hundreds of guests who attended an unpublicized party thrown by the Obamas at the White House in June weren't included in the records made public. The fete, featuring a concert by Prince and Stevie Wonder, was made public only after celebrities and sports figures, including Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, posted photos to social media.
When asked about the missing names, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday that there were some allowed exceptions to the public records, including for guests visiting the White House to attend private events. After reporters became aware of the party in June, Earnest said at the time, "The President and the first lady reserve the right to hold private parties at the White House, and they did it on their own dime."
    Earnest said that more than 4 million records have been released to the public "as a result of (the administration's) historic commitment to transparency to release information of those who visit the White House." The records are made public every 90-120 days.
    In 2009, President Barack Obama announced that the White House would release its visitor logs on a regular basis. "Americans have a right to know whose voices are being heard in the policy-making process," Obama said at the time.
    After some push back from reporters on Wednesday, Earnest bashed the previous administration of President George W. Bush for efforts to deny access to the logs, including going to the Supreme Court to fight disclosure. Earnest added that then-Vice President Dick Cheney held energy task force meetings at the White House and the administration would not release who was present.
    As for any important conversations taking place during the Obamas' party, Earnest said, "I assure you...there were no high-level or sensitive discussions about energy policy."