Over the holiday the White House released their first full set of visitor logs containing information on nearly all visitors to the grounds from September 16-30, as well as approximately 2,000 pre-September 16 records that were specifically requested.
We have previously analyzed and visualized the first two rounds of the visitor log release here and here, but they were necessarily limited by the biased selection/discovery method through which they were made available. This time, however, marks the first full release of all visitors to the White House (with necessary, but sadly opaque, exceptions made due to national security or confidentiality reasons).
As such, any analysis is best focused on only the unbiased data collected over that latter half of September. Once we drop tour participants (visitors to the White House Visitor’s Office) and data from the residence of the Vice President (which is completely devoid of any hard data since it does not use the WAVES system), we are left with 8,347 unique data-points to mine, comprised of 2,832 meetings.
The data is best explored in the interactive visualization below – a “Phrase Net” of White House visitors & visitees. A phrase net diagrams the relationship between words used in a text. Our text consists of “X met w/ Y” and these relationships are mapped. Names in dark blue are visitors, and names in light blue are the person in the White House the meeting was with. The default setting below displays the top 51 (of 7,978) terms – however, this number, along with the zoom level, is fully interactive. (See below the visualization for our own detailed analysis of the data).
MOST FREQUENT VISITOR
The most frequent visitor to the White House was Ann E. Widger, who seems to have been a part of the transition team and who is listed as recently as 2006 as having been the Retiree Coordinator for AFSCME. She visited the White House 13 times in that 15 day time period. All of the meetings were somehow linked to the office of Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to the President: 9 of those meetings were with Tina Tchen, the Special Assistant to Valerie Jarrett, another 3 were with Abigail Witt, Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff of Intergovernmental Affairs, and the final meeting was with Michael Strautmanis, Special Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff of Intergovernmental Affairs.
Tied with Miss Widger is Elizabeth Vale, the Executive Director of the WH Business Council. 5 of her visits were with Matthew Tranchin, a staff assistant in the Office of Public Engagement, 2 were with Aneesh Chopra, the CTO of United States, and other meetings were with Valerie Jarrett and Tina Tchen.
Other frequent visitors include Anna E. Bartosiewicz (staff member at Touchstone SRA), Bizunesh Scott (Interim General Counsel and Secretary at Golfsmith International Holdings, Inc.) and Nani Coloretti (Deputy Assistant Secretary, Management and Budget at Department of Treasury).
MOST FREQUENT VISITEE
A simple topline look at the total number of visits to White House staff would indicate Paul Monteiro as the most frequently visited person with 172 visitors. This is somewhat deceptive though as 153 of those people were part of one single event – something labeled “YOUTH EVENT – HEALTH OCCUPATION STUD” held September 21st at the OEOB.
Instead, to find out which staffer held the highest number of meetings during this time, our database acrobatics must become more complex. I’ll spare you the details, but after some manipulation, an interesting data-flaw is revealed: the most visited White House staffer is one “ANDREW” with no first name listed.
There were 56 unique meetings in which the “visitee_namefirst” variable field is left blank – no description is provided for any of these events, and all are listed as taking place in room 18 of the OEOB. 54 of the meetings were with a single person and 2 of them were with only two people. Four people visited with “Andrew” twice: Joseph Loebach, Michael Barr, Michael Reynolds, and Sendhil Mullainathan.
According to White House staffer salary information released earlier this year, there is no one with the last name “Andrew” that is employed by the White House. Similarly, and sadly, there are a stunning 102 instances in which either the first or last name of the visitee is blank.
Among identifiable White House staffers, the ones with the busiest meeting schedule were Director of the National Economic Council Larry Summers, Policy Assistant David Pope, an unidentified Margaret Weiss and Staff Assistant Micah Fergenson.
MOST FREQUENT COMBINATIONS
Finally, perhaps the most interesting data point to come out of this data are the 549 instances of multiple meetings between the same two people. The most frequent combination was the previously mentioned duo of Ann E. Widger and Tina Tchen (9 meetings). They are followed by eight meetings between Anna E. Bartosiewicz and Vivek Kundra (US CIO), as well as another eight meetings between the unidentifiable pair of Mindy Connolly and Jacqueline Peay.
Bear in mind that this only represents the first wave of a continual release of visitor data from the White House. What we have here amounts to a snapshot of activity over the last few weeks of September. As more full datasets are released, we will be building a vast database of the comings and goings of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, allowing for deeper and more substantive trend analysis.
- Alex Lundry