White House dismisses prostitution allegations as old news

The White House on Thursday dismissed a bombshell Washington Post report detailing allegations that a volunteer on the president's advance staff might have hired a prostitute as old news. 

"A lot of this was reported over two years ago," spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters traveling with the president to California.


Schultz noted that there was mention of allegations against a White House staffer in a Department of Homeland Security inspector general report examining an incident where Secret Service agents had hired prostitutes ahead of the president's 2012 visit to Colombia. That report was released in September 2012.

At the time, administration officials acknowledged the White House counsel's investigation had turned up a record showing a volunteer might have registered a prostitute to stay at his hotel room overnight. But they said that the White House review had ultimately determined the volunteer had not actually done so.

On Wednesday, the Post reported that Jonathan Dach, a Yale University law student who volunteered on the president's advance squad, was the individual in question.

Records show a female guest gave the hotel her identification card to be photocopied, so she could be registered to stay overnight in his room — a common practice in Colombia to ensure prostitutes are of age. That woman, according to the Post, advertised online as a prostitute.

But Schultz said White House officials had "considered this evidence and found no other corroborating material to suggest this volunteer engaged in inappropriate behavior."

He pointed out a similar record was discovered for the room of a Secret Service agent who was investigated in the scandal and later exonerated.

"The White House review also talked to officials who were on the trip, talked to the individual who is in question, examined contemporaneous material, and found no corroborating material," Schultz said.

"We stand by the review," he said, adding that it had been conducted in an "aggressive, thoughtful" way.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) has asked the White House to turn over details of that internal review to him by Oct. 24. 

The Post report suggested the White House did not subject Dach to a polygraph test, as Secret Service agents were required to take. The Post also said a Secret Service agent reported seeing Dach and the woman in question at the hotel — something previously unknown to the public.

Schultz sidestepped questions on whether the White House would reply to Chaffetz’s request, saying only that the administration does "comply with all legitimate oversight requests."

Schultz also avoided questions about the impact the revelations could have on former White House counsel Kathy Ruemmler's chances of being nominated as the next attorney general. The longtime presidential lawyer was thought to be on Obama's short list to replace Attorney General Eric Holder, who recently announced his intention to resign.

"I'm not going to speculate about any potential AG candidates," Schultz said, while adding that the White House planned to move quickly to fill the position.