December 1st, 2009
12:50 PM ET
3 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. roger

    These people should e tried and as part of their sentence, they should be barred from discussing, or profiting from their actions. If they violate that, then put them in prison!

    December 1, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  2. RCasson

    These are serial crashers and liars. Arrest them!

    December 1, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  3. Tom in Delaware

    Tareq is a Palestinian and freind of Rashid Khalidi, the Jew-bashing buddy of Barack Hussien Obama...Mmmm Mmmm mmm...the plot thickens...

    December 1, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  4. Carlos L. Harrisburg PA

    Question. Who invite this people to the event and if so show the records of if. If there is no record end of the story they crash the party.

    December 1, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  5. Expat American

    Bravo previously acknowledged that Michaele Salahi is being considered as a cast member for the series "The Real Housewives of D.C."
    ----
    Truly...who watches television programs like 'Real Housewives'? Is it those who proved too fat, wrinkly, washed out, haggard, co-dependent and/or self-inflicted unstable to actually be on the show?

    Only in America would such a stupid program have the following that it apparently does.

    Being a ‘Real Housewife’ as portrayed by Bravo is truly something to aspire too.

    December 1, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  6. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    These two need to be charged with federal trespassing.

    December 1, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  7. I am the not-so-great and powerless wizard of Rush

    "We did it for the show"

    CNN: Stop supporting the latest balloon boy/Speidi/reality creeps

    December 1, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  8. marcia

    they did crash.
    they are prettty,glittzy,white trash!

    December 1, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  9. Louise in NC

    Whay I wonder is WHO took the pictures that appeared on their website. There must be at least 1 other person involved with them in this game they are playing. And to me it is a game that looks more and more damaging to them.

    December 1, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  10. Rob

    Prosecute these clowns. They need to be made an example of.

    December 1, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    Best part? The "news" media turning them into their little darlings only encourages and rewards this kind of lunatic bheavior. Kudos to CNN and the rest for yet another reason we should consider you sources of societal damage.

    December 1, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  12. Robin

    Wow, CNN. I think you spent more time on this story then the Ft. Hood terrorist attack.

    December 1, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  13. Jeremy

    Here come the comments that these people were racist, right wing people who are full of hate. These people were fools who wanted to get on a reality show and just got lucky enough to get into a presidential state dinner and a dinner for the Congressional Black Caucus. I believe that they should be responsible and get some jail time for this act. The security of the President has been compromised and the Secret Service should have been more careful and aware of the fact that there was no one at the checkpoints who could have asked for their invitations and could have ended this event. The same goes for any president: make sure that security is very tight and that no potential assassin can get in. Yes, they should be punished, but they were not right wing, racist nutjobs like some liberals want to think. They are just attention-grabbing fools who just got lucky.

    December 1, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  14. John Allen

    Salahi being party crashers at white house state dinner needs to put in jail because it's national and presidential secuirty issue. What if they had something. They've no ethics & respect to do such irresponsible thing.

    December 1, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  15. C Street is a Cult

    These people belong behind bars! They have now "crashed" two events at which my President and First Lady were present . . . .please! Secret Service GET YOU ACT TOGETHER!

    December 1, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  16. Jacque Bauer

    Will these idiots and psychotic wannabes please get back into their silver balloon and fly away, never to be seen or to bother us again??

    December 1, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  17. george from alaska

    come on people.

    folks that crash parties for a living have WAY too much free time on their hands. GET A REAL JOB!!!

    December 1, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  18. munchmom

    This is all a little too scary. While I cannot stand Obama's politics or the way he is ruining our country, I wish no harm whatsoever on him or his family. These sorts of incidents give pause to the fact that the president and his wife are easy targets for all sorts of crazies if the Secret Service is not more careful.

    December 1, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  19. normajean

    Mr. Salahi claims that he and his wife did not crash the State dinner and the truth will come out in subsequent interviews.Forget all of that, Just show us your invitation and we'll forget the whole thing. Otherwise prepare for an intense investigation.You may have meant no harm but you've opened a can of worms and shown others with possibly other motives how to get too close to the administration .
    Because of your arrogance, heads will roll.

    December 1, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  20. tom

    These people belong in jail, not on the news.

    December 1, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  21. jusskixxcom

    I find it hard to believe that this characters have not been locked up. Ballon-boys parents got time for there stunt. Why are these clowns different?

    December 1, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  22. Mariann Pepitone

    They did crash the party the same way they crashed the Black Caucus party. These people want to be around the wealthy because they lost everything having over 900,000 in liabilities and the Winery closing. They like to crash parties because they have never been invited to one. She likes being in the limelight and the security at the State Dinner did not check them out to verify their invitation. I am happ that they are being investigated for trespassing and just maybe criminal charges may be brought against them. The did not have respect for the president and should be brought to justice.

    December 1, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  23. Big Ed

    Charge them, try them and send the IRS in to see where the polo tournement charity fundraising money REALLY went to. These people are a dangerous joke. If they are not made examples of, then watch out for all the other wanna-bes to be coming out of the woodwork!

    December 1, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  24. Robbie

    Perhaps a conspiracy theory could include Bravo. If the media were forced to be responsible for the chaos they create, maybe they would exercise a little better judgment.

    December 1, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  25. wait a minute

    It's all about money and power hunger. What a shame!
    When the media has nothing of substance to show, here comes reality TV.
    Don't you wonder why more people I know cut off their cable service?
    We have been TV free for five years and life is better.

    December 1, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
1 2