- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 10, 2009

The party has ended for Tareq Salahi - at least when it comes to tourism.

The White House party crasher has resigned his position on the Virginia Tourism Corporation board, he said in a letter released Wednesday.

Mr. Salahi said in his letter, sent to Gov. Tim Kaine on Monday, that the resignation was “due to the extraordinary misinformation resulting in the unfortunate negative and tabloid type media surrounding our attendance at the White House.”

The resignation marks the first real consequence for Mr. Salahi and his wife Michaele, who crashed the state dinner for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the White House on Nov. 24.

Mr. Salahi said in his letter to the governor that he thought his continued service to the board “could possibly be a distraction.”

The couple declined an invitation to testify before the House Committee on Homeland Security last week; the director of the U.S. Secret Service testified that the security breach was an isolated incident. He told the panel that three Secret Service agents have been put on administrative leave.

On Wednesday, the committee issued subpoenas to the couple, but the Salahis have said that when they appear before the panel, they will not answer questions, invoking their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

The homeland security panel refused to issue a subpoena to White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers, as was requested by its Republican minority.

“I believe if we’re going to get a full picture of what happened that evening, we have to have Desiree Rogers here,” said Rep. Peter T. King, New York Republican.

Panel Chairman Bennie Thompson, Mississippi Democrat, has said the Secret Service, not Ms. Rogers’ office, is responsible for White House security.

The Salahis’ lawyer told the Homeland Security Committee, in a letter Tuesday explaining his clients’ plans to invoke the Fifth Amendment, that panel members had reached premature conclusions about the Virginia couple.

Stephen Best cited, among other examples, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, District Democrat, calling the Salahis “practiced con artists.” The Salahis have said they are cooperating with law enforcement authorities.

Last week Mr. Kaine, who appointed Mr. Salahi in 2006 to the board at the request of the 15-member Virginia Tourism Corporation, called the couple “big self-promoters.”

Mr. Kaine, who is also chairman of the Democratic National Committee, called the breach a serious issue and said he’d asked Katherine K. Hanley, secretary of the commonwealth, to talk with Mr. Salahi about the incident.

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