This post has been updated.
The White House Thursday stood by an internal investigation that did not find evidence that a volunteer engaged in inappropriate conduct during a 2012 prostitution scandal in Cartagena, Colombia, despite a Washington Post report that administration officials had information suggesting a prostitute stayed in the man's room -- allegations they did not pursue extensively.
Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said the staff member, Jonathan Dach, was not treated any differently because his father, Leslie Dach, is a prominent Democratic donor who has given thousands of dollars to the party. Both men started working in the administration this year, Jonathan Dach as a policy adviser in the Office on Global Women’s Issues at the State Department, his father as a senior counselor with the Department of Health and Human Services.
Schultz said when the allegations against Jonathan Dach first surfaced, "White House counsel immediately conducted an internal review" that included interviewing other staff members and looking at records. Dach was a volunteer member of the White House advance team, which coordinates logistics during a presidential trip. Obama was visiting Cartagena for a regional summit.
“The White House counsel concluded that there had been no misconduct by the White House advance team,” Schultz said.
Schultz said the White House counsel examined a hotel log for Dach's stay. The Post reviewed the same log and found that a woman was registered to Dach's room. Schultz said the White House found "no corroborating evidence to that log" and that a similar log "falsely implicated a Secret Service agent who was subsequently exonerated."
Schultz also said the White House stands by former counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, who is now in private practice and has been widely considered one of the top candidates to replace outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder. Schultz said Ruemmler conducted the review in a "careful, thorough way." Schultz said he would not speculate on potential attorney general replacements, but that the former White House counsel is a renowned attorney who is "respected by members on both sides of the aisle."
A subcommittee of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee asked the DHS inspector general's office in May 2012 to conduct its own investigation, which uncovered additional information. According to The Post, the lead investigator told Senate staffers that they were directed to delay the report until after the 2012 election and was told by superiors to withhold or alter material in the report because it could be embarrassing to the administration.
Schultz said a bipartisan Senate report released this year on the IG's office found that, when it came to the report on Cartagena, any changes that were made were part of the normal editing process.
"Allegations that changes were made because they were embarrassing could not be substantiated,” Schultz said.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) wrote to Obama's chief of staff last week, concerned that "“steps were taken by the Administration to cover-up or deflect” White House involvement. Chaffetz has said he wants to see Ruemmler's report. When asked if the White House would give it to Chaffetz, Schultz said he did not "have a specific reaction" to the request.
"We do comply with all legitimate oversight requests," Schultz said.