Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) wants to know whether U.S. tax dollars paid for prostitutes at a brothel in the Philippines linked to the sexual trafficking of minors.
In a letter today to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, Grassley is asking for information behind allegations that an undercover FBI agent involved in a weapons investigation bought prostitutes for himself and three cooperating individuals — and then asked for thousands of dollars in reimbursement from the U.S. government.
“If true, this story raises serious questions about the behavior of this agent and the FBI’s knowledge of this matter,” Grassley wrote.
The conduct is outlined in a motion filed last week in a California federal court case against three defendants charged with illegally trafficking weapons from the Philippines to the United States. The motion includes a declaration from a federal public defender investigator who traveled to the Philippines in May to interview witnesses, the letter said.
That same month, officials in the Philippines raided the brothel referenced in the motion and rescued 60 victims of human trafficking, including 20 minors, the letter said.
According to the complaint, the undercover agent was posing as a weapons broker for Mexican drug cartels and used brothel trips as a reward to cooperating individuals. A second FBI agent was involved in the investigation, the letter said, and it is unclear if that agent participated in the alleged conduct.
The undercover agent asked for $14,500 to reimburse entertainment costs from November 2010 to September 2011, including alleged payments at the brothel, according to the letter.
Now Grassley wants to know how much was actually paid out in reimbursements and how the bureau has responded to knowledge of the allegations.
The letter instructs Mueller to provide information on disciplinary actions taken in this case and in any past cases where FBI employees solicited prostitutes.
Grassley asks that his 16 detailed questions be answered by October 10 and that the FBI provide a briefing and all emails related to the bureau finding out about the allegations and its response.
A call to an FBI spokesperson was not immediately returned.