Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sued the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday after the Secret Service refused to hand over the records of the visits of top healthcare executives. In response to CREW’s FOIA request, the Obama administration has taken the same position as the Bush administration that the records are presidential, not agency records, and that they are exempt from release because of the possibility in some instances they could reveal information protected by the presidential communications privilege.
However, the White House did released To CREW July 22 a list of the health care executives who came to the White House, but no information on issues discussed was forthcoming. The executive list was published on-line September 4 showing the top health care executives in the country visiting the President at the White House including: Bill Tauzin (President and CEO, Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America), Karen Ignagni (President and CEO, America’s Health Insurance Plans), Richard Umdenstock (President and CEO, American Hospital Ass’n.), J. James Rohack (President-elect, American Medical Ass’n.), William Weldon (Chairman and CEO, Johnson & Johnson), Jeffrey B. Kindler (Chairman and CEO, Pfizer Inc.), Angela Braly (President, CEO, Director, WellPoint, Inc.).
Several other CEO and Health Care President meet with various White House Staff during the same period.
“Watchdog Group Sues for Disclosure of White House Meetings with Healthcare Execs”Democracy Now!, 06/23/2009http://www.democracynow.org/2009/7/23/watchdog_group_sues_for_disclosure_of CREW’s Summary of health Care Visits: September 4, 2009http://www.citizensforethics.org/node/41552
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Sonoma State University