Salazar Wants Inquiry Into Bush Denver Meeting

Three People Asked To Leave By Someone Posting As Secret Service Agent

Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., on Wednesday asked a Treasury Department official and a Denver prosecutor to investigate the removal of three Denver residents from President George W. Bush's town hall meeting on Social Security last month.

Salazar is the latest member of Congress to request an investigation into the matter.

Karen Bauer, Alex Young and Leslie Weise allege they were told to leave Bush's March 21 meeting at the Wings Over the Rockies Museum after arriving in a car with a bumper sticker that read "No More Blood for Oil." They said a man wearing an earpiece, navy blue suit and lapel pin asked them to leave.

"I don't think a bumper sticker on a friend's car should disqualify me from seeing the president," Young said.

The three believed the man was a Secret Service agent, but the White House has said he was a volunteer.

"The Secret Service had nothing to do with that," said Lon Garner, special agent in charge of the Secret Service district office in Denver. "We are very sensitive to the First Amendment and general assembly rights as protected by the Constitution."

In a letter to Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey and Dennis Schindel of the Office of Inspector General of the Treasury Department, which oversees the Secret Service, Salazar said he was troubled by allegations that the residents may have been removed by someone posing as a Secret Service agent.

A White House spokesman has said the volunteer may have feared a disruption. Bauer, Young and Weise acknowledge they wore T-shirts that read, "Stop the Lies," but that they had decided not to reveal them during Bush's event.

Reps. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., and Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., have asked for a congressional investigation into the residents' allegations that their First Amendment rights were violated and that taxpayer funds were misused for the public event, which was ticketed. Their letter noted that University of Arizona student Steven Gerner was denied entry to a similar event, also March 21. Gerner was wearing a Young Democrats T-shirt at the time.

Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colo., has asked the White House to investigate, and a lawyer for the three residents asked the U.S. attorney general to investigate. Young said they had not received responses yet.

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