- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 9, 2014

Top lawmakers Thursday raised the possibility of a cover-up and railed against a “pattern of deception” by the Obama administration after new reports surfaced that a White House volunteer was possibly involved in the Secret Service prostitution scandal two years ago in Colombia.

White House officials have adamantly denied that anyone on their staff hired prostitutes during advance work for President Obama’s visit to Cartagena for a 2012 summit. A hasty investigation into a Secret Service party with prostitutes during the trip led to the firing of a half-dozen agents.

However, according to reports Thursday in The Washington Post citing whistleblowers in the inspector general’s office, investigators were discouraged from investigating possible administration involvement, including whether a young White House volunteer on the advance team had hired a prostitute, and/or were put on leave if they did.

“The assurances by the president’s press secretary to the American people, Congress and the White House press corps about the prostitution scandal in Colombia are just part of a pattern of deception by this administration in an effort to save the White House from embarrassment,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“As I said at the time, a weekend investigation with a predetermined outcome doesn’t meet the smell test,” he said. “I had asked White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler to explain how she came to a definite conclusion so fast. It’s now clear why the White House wouldn’t be transparent, and it took the press to uncover the truth.”

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on national security, said the Post report will prompt new questions in the committee’s ongoing investigation of the Secret Service.

“All signs point to a cover-up, but I want to give the White House a chance to explain itself,” Mr. Chaffetz said. “The immediate question for the White House is whether or not they’re going to share the information they have with the Congress.”

Mr. Chaffetz’s committee is investigating recent security lapses by the Secret Service, including by a man with a knife who jumped the fence and was able to run inside the White House.

Secret Service Director Julia Pierson, who was promoted to the top job at the agency in a management shake-up following the prostitution scandal, resigned last week over the security lapses.

The White House insisted no attempt was made to conceal information about the volunteer, identified by the Post as Jonathan Dach.

“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 White House spokesman Eric Schultz. “And, of course, there was no White House interference with an [inspector general] investigation.”

The new information surfaced in the newspaper’s review of records from the hotel, where the advance team stayed. The records identified the prostitute and appeared to show that she signed in to visit Mr. Dach’s room.

Mr. Dach, who now works for the State Department in its women’s issues office, is the son of a major Democratic donor. Leslie Dach also works for the administration as an adviser at the Health and Human Services Department.

Richard Sauber, a Washington lawyer representing Jonathan Dach, told The Associated Press that accusations about his client hiring a prostitute “don’t ring true.”

Prostitution is legal in Cartagena. Secret Service agents involved in the scandal nevertheless were fired for violating agency rules.

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