Why Are Sheryl Sandberg's DC Meetings Secret?S

The next stop on Sheryl Sandberg's Sheryl Sandberg Publicity Tour: our shuttered nation's capital, where the shutdown means government officials are happy to meet you, but unable to explain to anyone why.

The San Francisco Chronicle says Facebook's number two is meeting with the FTC behind very closed doors this week, probably regarding the company's ever-shaky privacy policy:

The subject of the talks aren’t known, but observers assume a top goal for the politically-connected chief operating officer is to push for the Federal Trade Commission to quickly wrap up its inquiry into recent proposed privacy shifts.

Speaking of privacy:

Two FTC representatives said the partial government shutdown meant they weren’t allowed to respond to press inquiries. That included one from the office of Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, who declined to confirm whether or not Ramirez was meeting with Sandberg.

So a federal shutdown means the FTC is open to meet with Sheryl Sandberg, but not open to comment on the meeting itself. Got it—maybe this is the sort of opaque bullshit Sandberg can scrub away when she inevitably lands a Washington gig. But at least the FTC's Commissioner will admit it to the meetup, in a quote to Politico:

“I’m sure we’ll talk about privacy, but it’s just kind of a general meet and greet,” Ohlhausen said, adding that she’s looking forward to the meeting and enjoyed Sandberg’s book, “Lean In.”

The eternal book tour.

I've asked Facebook for comment on the meetings, though repeated requests by the Chronicle were denied.

Update: A Facebook rep has the following:

"The main purpose of Sheryl's visit is to speak on women and leadership with students at Howard University as well as at the Fortune conference. As is typical when traveling, Sheryl will also attend meetings with the Facebook team, business partners and policymakers as regular course of business."

Photo: Getty