Three House Democrats will introduce legislation on Wednesday to significantly expand congressional oversight of the White House’s security clearance process, as controversy swirls over a former senior White House aide who maintained an interim clearance despite accusations of domestic violence.
The bill, which will be introduced by Reps. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), would require the White House to submit to Congress every three months a list “of the name and position of each individual working in the [Executive Office of the President] who holds a security clearance of any kind,” according to Lieu’s office.
The bill would also seek to limit the use of interim security clearances to a year by requiring “a justification from the White House Counsel” for maintaining any interim clearances longer than that.
The proposed legislation underscores the extent to which President Donald Trump’s White House has become in the controversy surrounding former senior aide Rob Porter. Porter, who resigned last week, held an interim security clearance despite concerns raised about his past. The White House has been evasive in describing how — and under whose authority — Porter continued to have access to sensitive information.
“As we’ve seen, transparency hasn’t come so easy to the Trump White House,” Lieu said in a statement to POLITICO. “White House officials have repeatedly contradicted themselves on whether they allowed Rob Porter to have an interim security clearance despite concerns over allegations of domestic abuse. Aside from the moral failings, we’re looking at potentially dangerous breaches in our national security protocols.”
The House Oversight Committee is also investigating how Porter maintained his White House employment.
The White House said Tuesday that the FBI had provided information on Porter to the White House security office, whose investigation was ongoing when media reports emerged detailing Porter’s alleged history of abuse.
Two White House spokespeople have said in recent days that the situation could have been handled better, but chief of staff John Kelly told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that everything was handled correctly.