December 1st, 2009
12:50 PM ET
8 months ago

Congressional foundation claims Salahis crashed their event

The Congressional Black Caucus says the couple who allegedly crashed the White House state dinner last week also crashed an exclusive reception for the foundation in September.
The Congressional Black Caucus says the couple who allegedly crashed the White House state dinner last week also crashed an exclusive reception for the foundation in September.

Washington (CNN) – Alleged White House party crashers Tareq and Michaele Salahi attended an exclusive reception for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in September, but were asked to leave when it was discovered they did not have tickets for the event, a foundation spokesman said Tuesday.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama also attended that fundraising dinner, but foundation spokesman Lance Jones emphasized that "at no time did Mr. and Mrs. Salahi have access to President Obama and Mrs. Obama."

The Salahis attended Obama's first official state dinner last week for visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, but White House officials said they were not invited. Officials say they got into the event due to a breach in security.

The couple has publicly said they did not "party-crash" the state dinner and were cooperating with a Secret Service investigation into the matter.

Jones said that at the CBC foundation's fundraiser two months ago, he saw the Salahis at the pre-dinner reception, and later in the evening was informed that the couple was seated at a table without tickets. The table was in the event's "Gold Section," where tables sell for $20,000 each.

"At that time, I went to grab a few security personnel, who were not Secret Service," Jones said. "We walked with (security) to the table and just tried to sort everything out. When we realized they did not have tickets, the security personnel escorted them out."

Jones said the couple "tried to give off the image that they belonged there, but I could tell they seemed a bit out of sorts."

Jones said he told the security officers - who were employed by the foundation - to escort the couple from the dinner, but he did not personally witness the Salahis leaving the room.

In an interview on NBC's "Today" show Tuesday, the Salahis denied Jones' assertion that they were uninvited guests at the fundraising dinner. The couple said they were invited by a law firm to attend the event.

"Yes, we were invited," Tareq Salahi told NBC's Matt Lauer. "This is the first time I've ever heard, you know, another false accusation against my wife and I saying that we weren't invited there. We were invited there by the Gardner Law Group. We were a guest of theirs, proud guest of theirs. And no, were we escorted out? Of course not. That's another gossip rumor."

Jones said the foundation has no record of the law firm purchasing tickets to the fundraiser.

When the pre-dinner reception at the fundraiser ended, the "Secret Service began ushering people inside the hall for the dinner," Jones said.

"From what I hear, they (the Salahis) were turned away from the dining hall itself because they did not have the actual tickets," Jones said. "From there it is coming out that they had apparently gone through the kitchen area to get into the Phoenix Awards Dinner."

The spokesman added that in the weeks leading up to the September fundraising dinner, the Bravo television network had requested a table for free, which the foundation declined to provide.

"Bravo had been contacting us, trying to secure a table for free, because I think they were going to try and film the 'Real Housewives' in the dinner," Jones said.

Bravo later told the foundation that it had "secured two tickets to the chairman's reception" that takes place before the dinner, Jones said.

Bravo previously acknowledged that Michaele Salahi is being considered as a cast member for the series "The Real Housewives of D.C."

– CNN's Bob Kovach and Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.

soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Mariann Pepitone

    I am shocked at the lack of security precautions not taken for Obama's party. There should have been two security guards along with a person with the guest list standing there also but before you get to the entrance check out the names of the people entering. That's when they would have known these two people were not invited and had them ushered out like the guards did when they crashed the Black Caucus party. This is the third party they have crashed. They want be around the wealthy and she wants to be on one of the shows. However, that is not the way to do it.

    December 1, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  2. bob in LA

    At what point do we arrest these two for security breach? If just saying something negative can get you arrested, surely breaching security can.
    They are everything that is wrong wiht our society. They know that the media will turn them into celebrity for no reason. Showing up on the Today show proves this. they are news, but not interview worthy.

    December 1, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  3. Enough

    CNN not another story about this!! Their 15 minutes is up and the Secret Service should want this swept under the rug.

    December 1, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  4. wait a minute

    I personally would prefer to hear more about what the administration and Indian prime minister had accomplished than this ongoing investigation of this party crasher couple for publicity and money.

    The investigation should be in full swing and closed to the public till it's over.
    NBC should know better.

    December 1, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  5. Charlotte

    These people need to be forced to take an etiquette course, among other things.

    December 1, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  6. jerseylou

    lock them up and throw away the key.They don't past the smell test and change the Secret Service Detail.

    December 1, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    The are such wannabis and I think she is a transvestite.
    She has an adam' s apple and just listen to her talk. Very weird couple, nothing better and more important in their lives I guess. Just after money, and I am sure somehow they are going to make some now that their family business in in bankcrupty and fights in within the family, they have make some money to try to keep up with the lifestyle.

    December 1, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  8. Tim

    Sounds like they fit right in with Obama. They regularly show up at places they don't belong.

    December 1, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  9. Clint

    Put these posers in jail where they will get the attention that they deserve.

    December 1, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
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