Last Thursday, inspired by the release of White House visitor logs, we launched a new project to compile information on visitors to the Obama White House.
In less than a week, analysts Priscilla, sundin, ellenp, and destructor have built and updated profiles for over 100 individuals who have met with the president or one of his top advisers (so far, chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and chief economic adviser Larry Summers). We profiled visitors that met with one of these individuals in a small group setting (ten or less total people).
Here are some initial observations about the types of people that get to meet with top White House officials (specifically the president, Summers, and Emanuel):
- Men. So far, only 14 of the 100 visitors on our White House list are women. Though this data set is limited and it’s still too early to draw conclusions, it appears that men generally have far more access to top White House officials than women.
- Bank executives. Four visitors have ties, past and present, to Morgan Stanley; JP Morgan, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs are linked to three visitors each. Notably, the most well-represented banks at Obama’s doorstep have survived the financial crisis intact, while Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch both have ties to just one visitor each, and Lehman has none.
- The New York Times. At least five of the visitors have ties, past or present, to the New York Times, including columnist Paul Krugman and board member William Kennard (now ambassador to the EU).
- Lobbyists. Firms Alston & Bird, Powell Goldstein, and Covington & Burling are all well-represented (some of these are former lobbyists visiting the White House in their capacity as members of the Obama administration).
- Business executives. Boeing, Chevron, and GE all have ties to at least two visitors; the Business Roundtable has ties to seven visitors.
- Obama fundraisers and donors. Nearly half of the 100 visitors have donated to Obama over the years; at least 13 had formal ties to Obama’s presidential campaign. The 47 donors have given an average of over $10,000 each to Obama.
- Obama administration members. Unsurprisingly, many of the visitors to these White House officials hail from other parts of the administration, especially Treasury, State, and Commerce.
You can draw your own conclusions by looking at the list page — especially the interlocks tab.
We’ll continue to build the list in preparation for the one year anniversary of President Obama next week; if you’re interested in lending a hand please sign up for the Obama administration research group, or drop me a line via note.