White House skips oversight hearing on transparency

The administration declined an invitation to testify at a Tuesday House hearing on transparency and the White House visitor logs, prompting criticism from House Republicans.

The House Energy and Commerce Oversight subpanel invited Brad Kiley, director of the White House Office of Management and Administration, to testify on the visitor logs as well as the system that tracks visitors to the White House. The White House indicated Monday that neither Kiley nor a designee would appear.

"This administration parades around the banner of transparency, and yet their actions and record are anything but transparent," said a Republican spokesman with the committee. 

The hearing will feature experts from Judicial Watch and the Sunlight Foundation, which has criticized President Obama for wavering in his committment to transparency in recent months. Other groups such as the Center for Public Integrity claim the visitor logs routinely omit key details about the identity of White House visitors.

"Watchdog groups have cried foul over the incomplete visitors logs and numerous closed-door meetings, and the committee's ongoing investigations have met resistance to disclose even some of the most basic details about their dealings," the spokesman added.

"We are surprised and disappointed that the White House has chosen not to participate in the hearing — particularly after this administration has embraced transparency as a cornerstone."

Stay tuned for full coverage on Hillicon later today.