Report: White House knew of possible tie to prostitution scandal

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A Washington Post story published Wednesday night alleges that the White House did not rigorously investigate information linking a volunteer for President Obama’s advance team to the 2012 prostitution scandal in Colombia.

As the scandal cost several Several Secret agents their jobs, the White House denied that anyone from the White House was involved.

{mosads}But The Washington Post reported that White House aides were given information by the Secret Service suggesting that a prostitute was an overnight guest in the hotel room of a volunteer, Jonathan Dach, after they had initially cleared him.

That evidence reportedly included logs from Dach’s hotel room. The White House did not alter its position on Dach’s involvement after this evidence was provided.

Then-White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler and her staff interviewed the volunteer more than once, according to the Post, and decided that he was not guilty of any wrongdoing. Ruemmler is said to be in the running to replace Attorney General Eric Holder, who recently announced his resignation.

Through his attorney, Dach denied to the Post that he hired a prostitute or that he brought anyone into his room on the night in question. Prostitution is legal in Cartagena, but hotels keep records of all guests for security reasons and check the identification of prostitutes to ensure that they are not underage.

The White House defended its investigation into Dach’s actions in Cartagena in a statement Wednesday evening.

“As was reported more than two years ago, the White House conducted an internal review that did not identify any inappropriate behavior on the part of the White House advance team,” said spokesman Eric Schultz.

“At the time, White House counsel requested the Secret Service send over any information related to White House personnel engaging in inappropriate conduct — and indeed that is how the hotel log emerged, an analogous version of which proved to falsely implicate another agent who was subsequently cleared,” he said, alluding to the fact that records at a hotel different from the one Dach was staying at were shown to have falsely implicated a Secret Service agent as having hosted a prostitute on that trip.

Dach is employed on a federal contract as an advisor to the Office on Global Women’s Issues at the State Department. At the time of the trip to Cartagena, he was a student at Yale Law School.

He is also the son of Leslie Dach, a former lobbyist for Wal-Mart and a donor to Obama’s presidential campaign. 

The Post story also says that a separate Department of Homeland Security investigation turned up additional evidence that Dach had hired a prostitute on the night in question, but that those allegations were kept out of the report because of the effect they could have on the 2012 presidential election.

That investigation — run by the DHS inspector general’s office — reportedly linked Dach to a woman who advertised herself on the Internet as a prostitute and found additional evidence that he had hosted an overnight guest on the evening in question. DHS investigators also reportedly interviewed an individual who said he had seen Dach with a woman he believed to be a prostitute.

David Nieland, who led the investigation, later told Senate aides that his superiors had asked him to keep those details out. He also said that such request came from his superiors shortly after they met with Janet Napolitano, then-secretary of Homeland Security.

Nieland also said that he had been told to delay the release of the report until after the election.

Napolitano, through a spokesperson, told the Post that she never “ordered that anything be deleted in the inspector general’s report or asked for a delay.” 

The White House denied any interference with the inspector general’s report.

“As the bipartisan Senate investigation found … changes made to the IG Report were ‘part of the ordinary process of editing the report’ and found that allegations that changes were made because they were embarrassing could not be substantiated,” Schultz said.

The report from the Post comes after a bruising month for the agency tasked with protecting the president. Former director Julia Pierson resigned last week after a series of lapses in presidential security.






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