AP: WH Aide Resigns, WH Refers Case to Justice Department

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From the AP:

The White House says an aide to President Bush has resigned because of the alleged misuse of grant money from U.S. Agency for International Development.

Presidential spokesman Scott Stanzel says the former aide, Felipe Sixto, had been a special assistant to the president for intergovernmental affairs. Stanzel said Sixto was promoted to that position on March 1 and that he came forward on March 20 to tell his superiors about the alleged wrongdoing.

Stanzel said it involved improprieties involving the use of grant money and Sixto’s former employer, the Center for a Free Cuba. Stanzel says the matter has been turned over to the Justice Department.

Update: Frank Calzon, executive director of the Center for A Free Cuba, told me that the center “became aware of the allegations weeks ago, and we informed USAID immediately.” He said that the USAID inspector general had been investigating Sixto’s possible misuse of the funds. He said he had “no idea” how much money was missing, but that “we’re anxious to cooperate in any way shape or form to get to the very bottom of it. We expect that all funds in question will be returned to the American taxpayer.”

Sixto has worked at the Center for approximately three years, he said. Sixto joined the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs at the White House in July of last year.

The Center for a Free Cuba describes itself as “an independent, non-partisan institution dedicated to promoting human rights and a transition to democracy and the rule of law on the island.”

Update: Here’s how Stanzel puts the allegations, according to the AP:

“Mr. Sixto allegedly had a conflict of interest with the use of U.S. AID funds by his former employer,” Stanzel said. He said he did not know how much money was involved or the particulars of the allegations.

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