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October 09, 2014

The White House Covered Up a Possible Minor Sexual Imbroglio Involving a Very Junior Staffer, Which Couldn't Possibly Have Any Impact at all on National Politics.
And That's What Makes the Cover-Up Alarming.

The original scandal itself, reported by the Washington Post's Carol D. Leonnig and David Nakamura, is fairy small potatoes.

Assuming the worst is true, the son of donor, working in a fairly low-level capacity for the White House had, allegedly, maybe, had something to do with a prostitute in a foreign country.

It's precisely how small potatoes that is that makes the cover-up frightening -- if they're willing to cover-up something so trivial, so unlikely to generate a few bored headlines for half a news day, then what won't they cover up?

That part of the Washington Post story is damning:

As nearly two dozen Secret Service agents and members of the military were punished or fired following a 2012 prostitution scandal in Colombia, Obama administration officials repeatedly denied that anyone from the White House was involved.

But new details drawn from government documents and interviews show that senior White House aides were given information at the time suggesting that a prostitute was an overnight guest in the hotel room of a presidential advance-team member -- yet that information was never thoroughly investigated or publicly acknowledged.


The lead investigator later told Senate staffers that he felt pressure from his superiors in the office of Charles K. Edwards, who was then the acting inspector general, to withhold evidence -- and that, in the heat of an election year, decisions were being made with political considerations in mind.


Nieland added that his superiors told him "to withhold and alter certain information in the report of investigation because it was potentially embarrassing to the administration."


Office staffers who raised questions about a White House role said they were put on administrative leave as a punishment for doing so. Later, Edwards, the acting inspector general, resigned amid allegations of misconduct stemming in part from the dispute.

Peter Suderman is likewise offended not that the White House went to such efforts to cover up a great crime, but such a tiny one. (At worst.)

Actually, Suderman notes even if it's true, it wouldn't be a crime at all:

The details are complex, and the actual "misconduct"--hiring a prostitute in Colombia, where it's legal to do so--is perhaps politically embarrassing but hardly misconduct at all, and certainly not the sort of thing likely to swing a not-very-close national election.

Likewise, Ron Fournier calls this latest misrepresentation from the White House as just the latest in an "epidemic of half truths" from the White House.

From the President who promised to give America "the most transparent administration in history."

Fournier also notes the difference in how Secret Service members and this son-of-a-rich-donor were treated.

The Party of the Workin' Man

Hey, talking to your trust fund's tax attorney once a financial quarter is work, too.

By the way, I can't wait for the White House to announce it's investigated itself about these charges (or had Holder do so on his way out the door) and has already determined it did everything by the book.

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posted by Ace at 04:15 PM

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