Sen. Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is questioning the U.S. Secret Service about possible involvement of White House staff in the Colombian prostitution scandal.
Given the close working relationship among members of the Secret Service and other White House advance teams, Mr. Grassley wants to know whether Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan and Acting Inspector General Charles Edwards is investigating the possibility that staff from the White House Communications Agency and White House Office of Advance also may be involved in the scandal.
“Did the Secret Service reserve rooms at the Hotel Caribe or other hotels in Cartagena, Colombia for representatives of the WHCA or the White House Advance Team?” Mr. Grassley asked in a letter to Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Edwards. “If so, have records for overnight guests for those entities been pulled as part of the investigation conducted by [the Office of Professional Responsibility] or [the Office of the Inspector General]? If not, why not?”
If the Secret Service did share rooms with White House communications or advance teams, Mr. Grassley also asked whether logs for those rooms were checked to see if the hotel had overnight guests registered to them.
He also asked Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Edwards to provide an official copy of all written policies and procedures that the Secret Service provides agents and officers are expected to adhere on foreign travel.
“This request should include all relevant regulations, rules, procedures, and applicable policy statements that inform agents and officers of restrictions and limitations on their conduct while on official business,” he wrote.
While Mr. Grassley said he appreciated the quick action the Secret Service has taken to recall the 11 agents from Columbia when allegations of misconduct arose, he stressed that serious questions remain.
Three more Secret Service agents resigned Friday in the expanding prostitution scandal, bringing to six the number of agency officers who have lost their jobs because of events in their hotel rooms just before President Barack Obama’s visit to Colombia for a summit meeting last week.
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Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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