Washington: A US lawmaker leading a congressional inquiry into the Secret Service raised questions on Thursday about a White House volunteer's possible involvement in a prostitution scandal that rocked the agency two years ago.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on national security, said in an interview that the White House had new questions to answer in light of information he has received from Secret Service whistleblowers, as well as a report in today's Washington Post.
White House officials were adamant in denying involvement by anyone on their team in the incident. The scandal led to the firing of more than a half-dozen Secret Service agents who had hired prostitutes while sent to Colombia with President Barack Obama for the 2012 summit.
The developments come with the Secret Service, which protects the president and his family, in the midst of a shake-up after a series of scandals and security breaches. In one incident last month, a man with a knife jumped the White House fence and dashed deep into the executive mansion. The agency's director, Julia Pierson, later resigned under pressure.
Chaffetz, a Republican, suggested that based on his conversations with the whistleblowers, he feels the White House might be covering up some information.
The White House disputed claims that there was any attempt to suppress information related to a young volunteer on the White House advance team and whether he, too, had a prostitute in his hotel room.
"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," White House spokesman Eric Schultz said. "And of course there was no White House interference with an (inspector general) investigation."
The Post reviewed records from the hotel where the advance team stayed that identified the prostitute and appeared to show she had signed in to visit the room with the White House volunteer, identified by the newspaper as Jonathan Dach.
Dach, the son of a major Democratic donor, is now employed by the State Department. Richard Sauber, a Washington lawyer representing Jonathan Dach, said allegations that Dach brought a prostitute to his room during the 2012 trip to Colombia "don't ring true."