WASHINGTON – In light of recent press reports of White House personnel involvement in the Colombia prostitution scandal that plagued the Secret Service last spring, Senator Chuck Grassley is pressing for answers to previous inquiries that the White House has ignored.
Grassley sent the White House a letter on April 23, 2012 asking questions about the review conducted by the Office of the White House Counsel into allegations of involvement of White House staffers in the prostitution scandal. Grassley has yet to receive a response from the President.
In a new letter sent to the White House late yesterday, Grassley renewed his original request and posed several more questions, including inquiries about contacts that White House personnel has had with the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General conducting a review of the Secret Service’s involvement in the scandal.
Here is a copy of the text of Grassley’s letter. A signed copy can be found here. The April 23, 2012 letter can be found here.
September 20, 2012
Via Electronic Transmission
Kathryn H. Ruemmler
Assistant to the President and White House Counsel
Office of the White House Counsel
Executive Office of the President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington D.C., 20500
Dear Ms. Ruemmler:
I write to follow up on a letter dated April 23, 2012 (attached), that I sent to you regarding the
“review” conducted by the Office of the White House Counsel into allegations of the involvement of White House staffers in the prostitution scandal that occurred in Colombia in April 2012. In my letter, I sought information in response to statements by the White House press secretary, Jay Carney, that your office had reviewed these allegations and concluded that there was “no indication of any misconduct” by White House staffers. Mr. Carney failed to elaborate further about the “review” conducted by your office.
In my letter, I asked you detailed questions regarding how you conducted this “review” and what specific conclusions you drew about White House staff involvement in this scandal. I have yet to receive a response. However, the White House spokesman quickly told the public, without further explanation, that he was confident that there was no such involvement.
Now more allegations have arisen regarding White House personnel procuring prostitutes during the President’s trip to Colombia. Yesterday, an article on Foxnews.com quoted an unnamed “high-ranking Secret Service official” as stating, “Three U.S. delegation members that stayed at the Hilton brought prostitutes back as overnight guests. One of them was ours [Secret Service] and the other two were White House staffers.” Furthermore, according to the article, multiple law enforcement sources speculate that the forthcoming report to be issued by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS/OIG) has been delayed in order to cover up this involvement by White House staff.
Accordingly, I request you respond to my questions in the April 23 letter, and also respond to the following additional questions:
1. Has the White House been in contact with the DHS/OIG? If so, what has been the nature of that contact?
2. Has the White House seen a copy of the draft DHS/OIG report? Whether or not the White House has seen a copy of the report, is the White House aware of the findings of the report, specifically regarding the allegations of involvement of White House staffers?
3. Has the White House had any input into the drafting of the report, including providing edits to the final version? If so, provide information regarding the nature of the edits.
4. Was any contact between the White House and the DHS/OIG, including review and editing of the report, responsible for the delay in the DHS/OIG’s meeting his target date of July 2, 2012 for release of the report?
5. Has your office or any other office in the White House conducted a new review of the allegations in response to any findings by the DHS/OIG? If so, what did that new review consist of? What were its findings?
6. Was the U.S. Secret Service aware of the alleged involvement of the White House staffers? Have you been in contact with the U.S. Secret Service regarding these allegations? Has the U.S. Secret Service provided the DHS/OIG any information regarding these allegations?
7. What will happen to these staffers if they are in fact found to have procured prostitutes while on official travel?
8. If the report includes the findings that are being reported, how did your initial review fail to uncover the involvement of these staffers? Do you concede that your initial review was performed in haste and without sufficient care?
9. If the report includes the findings that are being reported, will Spokesman Carney issue a retraction or correction to his public comments denying any White House staff involvement?
Thank you for your prompt attention to this request. I would appreciate your response by September 27, 2012.
Charles E. Grassley
Steven T. Dennis. “WH Finds No Staff Involved in Secret Service Scandal.” Roll Call. April 23, 2012.
Jana Winter, “Probe of Secret Service Prostitution Scandal May Cite White House Advance Staff Involvement,” FOX NEWS.COM, Sept. 19, 2012, available at http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/09/19/probe-may-cite-white-house-advance-team-involvement-in-prostitution-scandal/?test=latestnews.