And that’s why it’s worth keeping in mind is that the health care executives are merely the request of the day. What’s really at issue is whether this whole class of records should be available via FOIA, which would allow the public to keep tabs on anyone coming in and out of the White House.

Three years ago, TPM gave significant attention to a series of nearly identical FOIA requests—and the lawsuits they spawned once denied—seeking visitor logs related to the Abramoff scandal.

Obama’s decision to release some information from the logs yesterday does nothing to prevent a president from refusing future requests, as Bush did then.

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Clint Hendler is the managing editor of Mother Jones, and a former deputy editor of CJR.