Desiree Rogers Won't Testify

The White House social secretary won't be questioned over her Crashergate role

By Steve Bryant
|  Wednesday, Dec 2, 2009  |  Updated 4:15 PM CDT
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Scenes from the White House State Dinner

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Citing separation of powers concerns, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says Desiree Rogers, the White House social secretary, will not give testimony on the Crashergate scandal before a House committee tomorrow.

"Based on separation of powers," Gibbs said, "staff here do not go to testify in front of Congress."

Gibbs added that the White House has done an assessment of the problems that occured during Obama's first state dinner and that changes had been made "as of last night."

"The first family was quite pleased with her performance," Gibbs said.

Some observers, however, have fingered Rogers as the one most responsible for letting Michele and Tareq Salahi slip by security at the front gate of the White House.

The couple, who were seen mugging with Vice President Joe Biden and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuelnot to mention shaking the President's hand – might never have gotten into the party if Rogers hadn’t stripped the woman whose job it was to vet such people of her power.

Cathy Hargraves, who resigned last June, was personally responsible for overseeing the invitations of state dinner guests and keeping track of their RSVPs. She also physically stood at the gate during functions and cross-checked names against a master list.

The Salahis gained entry to the White House despite not being on such a list. 

When Rogers came to the White House last, she stripped Hargraves, a Bush-era holdover, of those responsibilities. "In these economic times," Hargraves told Newsweek, I don't think we're going to have very many lavish expensive dinners. It wouldn't look very good."

The Secret Service has since apologized for the security lapse, possibly removing some of the burden from Rogers' shoulders. But at least one Republican lawmaker wants the social office to endure its share of scrutiny.

Rep. Peter King (R-NY), the ranking member on the House Homeland Security Committee has called for a congressional investigation into what happened -- and he wants the social office, and, by association Rogers, included.

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