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White House visitor list revealed

Actor George Clooney walks out of the West Wing of the White House in February 2009
Mr Clooney visited the White House in February to talk about the Darfur crisis

George Clooney and Oprah Winfrey as well as key lobbyists and fundraisers were some of the first to visit the Obama White House, records show.

The White House put some 480 visitor records online on Friday in response to specific requests for information.

The newly-released data covers a period from 20 January to 31 July and includes about 100 meetings with Mr Obama.

From December, all visitor records will be posted, as part of President Obama's pledge on greater transparency.

Mr Clooney, a UN messenger of peace, met Mr Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on 23 February to discuss the humanitarian crisis in Sudan's Darfur region.

Talk show host Oprah Winfrey, who campaigned for Mr Obama, interviewed the first lady on 17 February and was on the guest list for an inaugural reception.

The list of powerful movers and shakers to visit the White House also includes key union leaders, political fundraisers, politicians and lobbyists.

Andrew Stern, president of the powerful, two million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU) visited 22 times, which included at least seven meetings with Mr Obama.

Richard Trumka, President of the union federation AFL-CIO, visited seven times.

Other names on the list include Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates; Ed Yingling, a lobbyist and the chief executive of the American Bankers Association; lobbyists and Democratic fundraisers Anthony and Heather Podesta; former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle; the Rev Al Sharpton; the Rev Jesse Jackson, and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.

The White House described the publication of the list - based on 110 specific requests for information - as a "major milestone in government transparency".

"Consistent with our earlier announcement that we will only release records 90 days or older, this first batch covers the period of time between January 20, 2009 to July 31, 2009," a statement on its website said.

"Future batches will be posted on an ongoing basis."



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