The House Oversight Committee's top-ranking Republican and Democrat said in a joint press conference on Tuesday that former national security adviser Michael Flynn appears to have broken the law by not disclosing payments he received from Russia in his 2016 security clearance application.
Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the committee's chair, and ranking Democratic member Elijah Cummings told reporters that they had obtained the SF86 security clearance application form that Flynn filed in January 2016, one month after he traveled to Moscow to speak at a gala celebrating the 10th anniversary of Russia's state-owned news agency, Russia Today.
Documents the committee obtained later from Flynn's speaking bureau revealed that Flynn was paid approximately $33,000 for the speaking engagement. But they said he appears not to have disclosed those funds on his security clearance application.
Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn
Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn
National security adviser General Michael Flynn delivers a statement daily briefing at the White House in Washington U.S., February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn arrives at the Trump Tower for meetings with US President-elect Donald Trump, in New York on November 17, 2016.
(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Retired United States Army lieutenant general Michael T. Flynn introduces Republican Presidential nominee Donald J. Trump before he delivered a speech at The Union League of Philadelphia on September 7, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Trump spoke about his plans to build up the military if elected. Recent national polls show the presidential race is tightening with two months until the election.
(Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, at podium, and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attend a campaign event with veterans at the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Ave., NW, where Trump stated he believes President Obama was born in the United States, September 16, 2016.
(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 01: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer (L) yields the briefing room podium to National Security Adviser Michael Flynn February 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. Flynn said the White House is 'officially putting Iran on notice' for a recent missile test and support for Houthi rebels in Yemen. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, prepares to testify at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled 'Current and Future Worldwide Threats,' featuring testimony by he and James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence.
(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn (C) arrives prior to a joint news conference between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 13, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. National Security Advisor Michael Flynn boards Air Force One at West Palm Beach International airport in West Palm Beach, Florida U.S., February 12, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
National security adviser General Michael Flynn arrives to deliver a statement during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington U.S., February 1, 2017. Picture taken February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn (L) arrives at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 10: (AFP OUT) White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn (R) walks down the West Wing Colonnade following a bilateral meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe February 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump and Abe are expected to discuss many issues, including trade and security ties and will hold a joint press confrence later in the day. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 02: (L-R) SCAD Dramatic writing professor Chris Auer, Producer Sandra Leviton, Executive producer and writer Michael Flynn, Tv literary agent Jeff Greenberg and Literary manager and producer Kaila York speak on stage during the 'Inside the Writers Room' event on Day One of aTVfest 2017 presented by SCAD on February 2, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for SCAD)
Lieutenant General Michael Flynn (ret.), National Security Advisor Designate speaks during a conference on the transition of the US Presidency from Barack Obama to Donald Trump at the US Institute Of Peace in Washington DC, January 10, 2017. / AFP / CHRIS KLEPONIS (Photo credit should read CHRIS KLEPONIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, U.S. national security advisor, attends a swearing in ceremony of White House senior staff in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. Trump today mocked protesters who gathered for large demonstrations across the U.S. and the world on Saturday to signal discontent with his leadership, but later offered a more conciliatory tone, saying he recognized such marches as a hallmark of our democracy. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: Michael Flynn walks out after a morning worship service on Inauguration day at St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington, DC on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: Attorney General nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) (R), talks with National Security Advisor Michael Flynn inside of the inaugural parade reviewing stand in front of the White House on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. Donald Trump was sworn in as the nation's 45th president today. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, White House national security adviser-designate, center, stands in an elevator at Trump Tower in New York, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. Donald Trump is slated to meet with AT&T Inc.'s top executives on Thursday to discuss the company's proposed $85.4 billion bid for Time Warner Inc., according to people familiar with the matter. The president-elect has said he opposes the deal. Photographer: John Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: Donald Trump's National Security Adviser Gen. Michael T. Flynn (R) arrives on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Lieutenant General Michael Flynn (ret.) and National Security Advisor Designate and Ambassador Susan Rice, National Security Advisor during a ceremonial passing of authority while participating in a conference on the transition of the US Presidency from Barack Obama to Donald Trump at the US Institute Of Peace in Washington DC, January 10, 2017. / AFP / CHRIS KLEPONIS (Photo credit should read CHRIS KLEPONIS/AFP/Getty Images)
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Chaffetz also said Flynn, a former military officer who headed the Defense Intelligence Agency between 2012 and 2014, did not appear to obtain permission from his superiors before he traveled to Moscow.
"There is no data to support the notion that Flynn complied with the law," Chaffetz said. "He was supposed to seek and receive permission from the secretary of state and the Army secretary both to receive that payment and engage in that kind of activity."
"The response we're getting [from the Pentagon] is that there is no information on Flynn's trips or payments [on his SF86 form] and that, we believe, is the potential violation," Chaffetz said. "No former military officer is allowed to accept payments from a foreign government, and my guess is this is probably not the first time this has happened."
Chaffetz and Cummings held the press conference after being briefed on classified documents the Oversight Committee had requested from the Defense Department related to Flynn's lobbying work, as well as whether he properly disclosed payments he received from foreign entities.
Cummings said the committee had asked the White House, where Flynn served as President Donald Trump's national security adviser for just less than a month, for more information about his financial disclosures.
But the Trump administration had so far "refused to provide the committee with a single piece of paper in response to our bipartisan request," Cummings said, "and that is unacceptable."
In a letter to the Oversight Committee dated April 19, 2017, White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short referred the committee to the Defense Department for the documents related to Flynn's security clearance and "contacts with foreign nationals" that predated his time at the White House.
Short wrote that the White House would be "unable to accommodate" the committee's requests for information about Flynn's contacts with foreign nationals after he was appointed national security adviser. Short said much of that information is classified.
Flynn was forced to step down from his position after only 24 days amid revelations that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with Russia's ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak. Flynn's contact with Kislyak and other foreign nationals is being investigated by the House Intelligence Committee, which Chaffetz said would be taking the lead on examining whether those contacts themselves were inappropriate.
Flynn agreed to testify before the intelligence committees in exchange for immunity late last month, a signal to some legal experts that he thought he may have committed a crime.
Cummings said that while Flynn's negligence on his SF86 forms could "definitely" be punished by up to five years in prison, it is not up to the Oversight Committee to make that decision.
Documents obtained later by the House Oversight Committee revealed that Flynn was paid $11,250 by Russia's top cybersecurity firm, Kaspersky, and another $11,250 by the Russian charter cargo airline Volga-Dnepr Airlines, for two speaking engagements in 2015.
Flynn belatedly registered as a foreign agent with the Department of Justice in March for his lobbying work last year on behalf of a Turkish businessman with ties to the Turkish government. Flynn's firm, Flynn Intel Group, was paid approximately $500,000 by the businessman, Ekim Alptekin, between August and November of 2016.