Grassley demands transparency on prostitutes

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley is keeping the heat on the White House for the Colombian prostitute scandal.

He’s sent a letter to the White House asking officials to explain their cursory two-day investigation that concluded there is no evidence that any administration officials hired prostitutes before or after the April 14-15 Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia.

Grassley’s letter uses a euphemism — “overnight guests’” — when referring to prostitutes.

Several Secret Service officials have already resigned, others are being investigated. Several soldiers assigned to White House support duties are also being investigated.

“It seems awfully quick from Friday when [White House spokesman Jay] Carney says there was not need for an internal investigation, and then all of a sudden, it’s done on Monday,” said Beth Levine, Grassley’s spokeswoman.

“Sen. Grassley believes they should be transparent,” she said.

On Monday Carney refused to provide any details about the White House’s internal investigation, and merely repeated the claim that the White House had not found any evidence of misconduct by White House officials.

Grassley and his Republican allies are in the minority, and they can’t issue subpoenas for information. “I don’t know when” the White House will answer the letter, Levine said.

Grassley and other senators will get a chance Wednesday to quiz the Secret Service’s chief, Janet Napolitano. She’s the secretary of the Department Homeland Security, which oversees the Secret Service.

However, the Senate panel is controlled by Democrats, and they’ll work to avoid any embarrassment or drama at the Napolitano hearing.

Democrats worry that public dismay over the Secret Service scandal will merge into broader public concern about government waste — such as the Las Vegas junket arranged by the General Services Administration.

The public’s opinion of the administration has already been dragged down by other scandals, such as the green-tech scandals, including the 2010 bankruptcy of Solyndra, a California-based company that was given $535 million in federal loan guarantees.

Grassley’s April 23 letter asks White House officials to explain “how many total hours were spent on the weekend review” and “[h]ow many White House advance staff were in Colombia prior to the President’s arrival.”

He also pressed officials to explain “How many additional White House staff arrived with the President? … How many White House advance staff had overnight guests? … [and] How many other White House staff had overnight guests?”

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