Allegations Raise Serious Questions about Trump Administration’s Failure to Vet Appointees for Senior White House Positions
WASHINGTON, DC — American Oversight today called on Congress to open a formal investigation into reports that a senior advisor to President Donald Trump may be a member of a Nazi-affiliated organization.
In a letter to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, American Oversight asked the committee to investigate whether White House counter-terrorism advisor Sebastian Gorka is or has been a member of the Hungarian pro-Nazi group Vitézi Rend.
“President Trump has repeatedly hired or appointed people for senior positions in our government without even the most basic vetting to learn if they are competent or qualified to serve the American people,” said Austin Evers, Executive Director of American Oversight. “Congress has the authority and the duty to investigate whether the Trump administration has given a highly sensitive national security job to a Nazi sympathizer.”
American Oversight is a non-partisan, independent watchdog working to hold the Trump Administration accountable, and has previously raised concerns about the failure to vet senior officials and nominees, including former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, and former Labor Secretary nominee Andrew Puzder.
On March 16, the Forward reported that Mr. Gorka may be a member of Vitézi Rend, citing interviews with current members of the group. If substantiated, this affiliation would raise a number of serious questions warranting congressional investigation – including whether Mr. Gorka may have violated federal law if he failed to disclose his membership in the group when he was being vetted for a security clearance.
“It should go without saying that a member of a Nazi-affiliated group should not have a senior role in the White House, and undoubtedly you agree that anti-Semitism has no place in our government,” wrote Evers in American Oversight’s letter to Chairman Chaffetz and Ranking Member Cummings. “When serious questions arise regarding the alleged Nazi sympathies and anti-Semitism of a high-level White House official, who as part of his portfolio advises the President of the United States on gravely significant matters, including issues related to the state of Israel, it is incumbent upon Congress to investigate.”
American Oversight has also submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Office of Government Ethics, the agency that conducts initial vetting of White House officials, seeking records of correspondence with Mr. Gorka, Mr. Flynn, and other individuals appointed by President Trump.
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