Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn failed to disclose payments from a foreign government in his 2016 application for security clearance, according to House Oversight Committee leaders.
Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the top lawmakers on the committee, told reporters on Tuesday that Flynn inappropriately received nearly $34,000 for a 2015 speech in Moscow for the Russian propaganda outlet RT. Flynn failed to disclose that payment on his security clearance application, known as a SF-86. If the omission is found to be intentional, Flynn, a retired lieutenant general in the United States Army, could be charged with a felony and face up to five years in prison.
“As a former military officer, you simply cannot take money from Russia, Turkey, or anybody else,” Chaffetz said. “And it appears as if he did take that money. It was inappropriate. And there are repercussions for the violation of law.”
Cummings said in February that Flynn may have also violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which forbids certain members of the U.S. government from receiving gifts or payment from foreign governments. Members of the military, including retired officers, remain subject to the emoluments clause.
President Donald Trump forced Flynn to resign in mid-February after reports revealed he misled Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of his conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
The White House has denied the House Oversight Committee’s request for additional information pertaining to payments Flynn received from foreign governments, including Russia and Turkey. However, Chaffetz stopped short of calling the move “obstruction.”
Last month, Flynn requested immunity from congressional investigators and the FBI in return for testifying about Russia.
The House Oversight Committee will refer the issue of Flynn’s payment to the Army and the Department of Defense.