Mar-a-Lago can't release visitor logs -- because it doesn't keep them

On Friday night, guests streamed into Mar-a-Lago, the president’s self-proclaimed “southern White House,” for the annual Palm Beach GOP Lincoln Day Dinner. All they had to do to get into the seaside retreat, where the first lady and the president’s youngest son were vacationing for spring break, was buy a $300 ticket.

They didn’t have to submit to the kinds of rigorous background checks required if they’d been entering the White House in Washington. And there were no weapon screenings or bomb-sniffing dogs checking vehicles of the sort that have long been routine at public restaurants or other places where the president or first lady is present.

Mar-a-Lago also doesn’t keep tabs on the identity of guests who come and go on a routine basis, even while the president is in residence. Club members call the front desk to give the names of their guests, including for parties held in the ballroom. But they don’t have to submit details, like a middle initial or birthdate or Social Security number, that are standard for visitor logs or background checks—which neither the club nor the Secret Service do at the resort…

Former U.S. Secret Service officials tell POLITICO that they aren’t equipped – with the time or money – to do the kind of legwork that would be required to produce logs for the president’s clubs. They don’t do it when the president goes to a hotel or other events away from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. And they don’t see the benefit in chasing down the names of every person that a member or party host brings in and who they vouch for as a legitimate guest.