Senate Judiciary ranking member Chuck Grassley today called on the White House to answer his questions about its staff’s possible involvement in the Secret Service prostitution scandal, saying the president’s counsel has waited more than a week to respond to his request.
The Iowa Republican’s remarks come after he received a letter from Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan answering a questionnaire about the president’s April trip to Cartagena, Colombia, during which members of President Barack Obama’s protective detail allegedly brought prostitutes to their hotel rooms.
In the letter, a redacted copy of which was released today by Grassley, Sullivan states that his agency is investigating its own personnel but is not looking into whether or how Department of Defense or White House staff were involved.
“Since the Secret Service did not request the records of the White House personnel, an open and transparent response from the President’s Counsel is even more imperative,” Grassley said in a statement. “Unfortunately, more than a week after my inquiry, I’ve yet to hear from anybody at the White House. I appreciate the Secret Service’s transparency in response to Congress, even with sensitive information.”
Sullivan said his agency did not book rooms for the White House Communications Agency or the president’s advance team, although they shared a ballroom. He also stated there is no reason to believe that any sensitive information was compromised during the trip.
House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) also released a joint statement today after receiving a letter from Sullivan Tuesday night.
Though they declined to release a copy of the letter, they said they were pleased with the responses.
“We appreciate the Secret Services’ detailed responses to our questions. Director Sullivan’s cooperation with our oversight efforts underscores his commitment to understand the extent of the problem and ensure that this unacceptable conduct does not occur again,” the statement read. “The Oversight and Government Reform Committee will continue to monitor the Secret Services’ investigation and response. We recognize the sensitivity of some of the information the Secret Service has shared and will continue to work with them to help reassure the American people that the agency’s vital mission is not harmed or distracted by inappropriate behavior.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.