An investigator with the internal watchdog of the Department of Homeland Security said that his superiors instructed him to stifle an investigation into a White House staffer’s involvement in a 2012 prostitution scandal because it was an election year, according to a bombshell report from the Washington Post.
“We were directed at the time…to delay the report of the investigation until after the 2012 election,” David Nieland, an investigator with DHS’s inspector general, told Senate staffers, according to the Post.
Nieland was charged with investigating whether Jonathan Dach, a volunteer Obama advance team member, had hired a prostitute while on a trip to Cartagena, Colombia in April 2012.
The administration had denied that anyone working for the White House had been involved in sexual misconduct. Instead, 10 Secret Service agents — who are employed by the Department of Homeland Security and not by the White House — had been fired after they were found to have hired prostitutes during their visit to Colombia during a Latin American economic summit Obama attended.
During the course of his investigation, Nieland uncovered evidence that Dach had taken a prostitute to his room — including statements from Secret Service agents and hotel records that showed that the name of a guest Dach took to his room matched that of a Colombian woman who advertises sex on the Internet.
But according to Nieland, he was instructed “to withhold and alter certain information in the report of investigation because it was potentially embarrassing to the administration,” the Post reported.
The Post also reported that twice in 2012 the Secret Service had provided the White House with evidence of Dach’s antics.
On April 20, Mark Sullivan, at the time the director of the Secret Service, informed then-White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler that Secret Service investigators had evidence that Dach had signed a prostitute into his room on April 4.
When asked by reporters on April 23 whether a White House staffer had been involved in any sexual misconduct, Jay Carney, then the White House press secretary, denied any wrongdoing on the part of Obama staffers saying that “the White House counsel’s office has conducted a review of the White House advance team” and that it “came to the conclusion that there’s no indication that any member of the White House advance team engaged in any improper conduct or behavior.”
On May 11, Sullivan provided Ruemmler with more evidence that Dach had hired a prostitute. Besides registration records, investigators had also conducted interviews with the hotel’s front-desk manager and security chief, the Post reported.
According to the Post, the Secret Service’s investigation into its agents’ behavior was much more comprehensive than the White House’s investigation on Dach.
Dach, who was 25 at the time of his Cartagena visit, is currently employed by the Obama administration as a policy adviser with the State Department’s Office on Global Women’s Issues. The Post also noted that Dach’s father, Leslie Dach, is a prominent Democratic donor who was hired earlier this year as a senior counselor for the Department of Health and Human Services where he will work on Obamacare.
After the Post’s article was published Wednesday night, White House press secretary Josh Earnest sent a tweet claiming that the story was old news. He linked to a Sept. 2012 article from the Associated Press.
Supposed WaPo “exclusive” was previously reported by AP, CBS, ABC, Politico, The Hill & others – 2 years ago. http://t.co/dk9qV0TbJK
— Josh Earnest (@PressSec) October 9, 2014
However, the AP article does not mention Nieland’s claim that he was forced to suppress his report until after the 2012 election.