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Abramoff Had White House Juice, Report Says

POSTED: 02:35 PM ET, 06/ 9/2008 by The Editors

A congressional investigation has found that lobbyist Jack Abramoff influenced some actions by the White House by lavishing exclusive sports tickets and meals on political staffers in the executive mansion, but the panel has uncovered no indication that President Bush had a role in the actions, reports The Post's James Grimaldi.

In a draft report, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee found no evidence that Abramoff lobbied President Bush on at least six occasions when the superlobbyist met with the president. Though photographs taken of Bush and Abramoff confirm personal contacts, there was no evidence found that the president directed an action in response to a request from the lobbyist.

The main action taken by the White House at Abramoff's request -- according to the report -- was to remove Alan Stayman from the State Department position that oversaw the relationship with the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a major client of Abramoff and his Greenberg Traurig lobbying firm. Stayman had taken positions that were opposed by the island's government, the report says.

Abramoff's activities are the subject of an ongoing federal investigation that has resulted in more than dozen convictions so far of Congressional aides, lobbyists and public officials. The disgraced lobbyist is serving a prison sentence on a related fraud while he awaits sentencing in the lobbying scandal.

The report was the second by the committee on contacts with the White House. An earlier report found that tickets were given to staffers and that Abramoff and his colleagues billed their clients for more than 400 contacts with White House officials between 2001 and 2004, but new details were released today:

* Senior advisor Karl Rove paid Abramoff $150 for three tickets to the NCAA basketball tournament on March 17, 2002, and Rove also had use of the suite at the Verizon Center to treat his class of College Republicans to a Nov. 9, 2002 Washington Capitols hockey game.
* Matt Kirk, special assistant to the president in the intergovernmental affairs office, got tickets to two basketball games, one Wizards outing and an NCAA tournament game.
* Jennifer Farley, associate director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, got tickets to two Orioles games and a Yanni concert.

Farley on occasion apparently used a code word -- "fruit" -- to refer to tickets. On Dec. 12, 2002, Farley asked Abramoff lobbyist Kevin Ring, "Do you have any kind of fruit tonight?" Ring replied, "No games tonight." In another email regarding an issue of interest to an Abramoff client, Ring said, "The fruit is going to happen. Just trying to make sure it is picked on the right day."

In a deposition with the committee, Farley did not respond to questions about the matter and indicated she would invoked her Fifth Amendment rights if compelled to respond, the committee report said.

The earlier report found offers of tickets to 19 sporting events and concerts, but had not concluded whether they were accepted.

On three occasions, White House employees turned down free tickets. Matt Schlapp, a deputy director in the White House political office, turned down a ticket offer from Abramoff associate Tony Rudy because of "ethics rules on this end of the street, and I'm way too broke" to pay for them.

The committee tried to track down references in Abramoff documents of 156 outings over drinks and meals to determine who paid for the socializing. White House documents released to the committee corroborate 15 meetings between White House officials and Abramoff lobbyists over meals and drinks, including 11 billed to Abramoff's clients. Another 145 meals and drinks could not be confirmed, the report said.

In response to the report, White House spokesman Tony Fratto said today: "There's nothing new of any significance in it. it is warmed-up leftovers. It confirms what has become clear in all of this -- Abramoff was spectacularly unsuccessful in influencing administration policy."

By The Editors |  June 9, 2008; 2:35 PM ET Abramoff Scandal
Previous: New Currie Documents Filed | Next: Inspectors Find Bad Practices at Oil Office

Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



the pettiness of the dems is demeaning the country. why not mention waxman, isn't he the scumbag behind this?

Posted by: Dwight | June 9, 2008 3:37 PM

We haven't heard the last of Jack! He's woven into the John McCain saga, and McCain "investigated" Abramoff in 2005 before sweeping everything under the rug.

Posted by: Jumba Rumba | June 9, 2008 3:47 PM

Isn't it amazing that NEO-CONS with a flag pin and a bible to pound trade their patriotism and oath to uphold the constitution for some ball game tickets!?!

Jennifer "Fruity" Farley is a DISGRACE who belongs in jail!

Posted by: JBE | June 9, 2008 4:11 PM

The question is not how did Libby influence the administration, but how did the administration use Libby and Abramoff.

Posted by: Singing Senator | June 9, 2008 4:16 PM

Lets be fair, Farley went to a Yanni concert and an Orioles game...its entirely possible that no one else wanted to go.

Posted by: Mike | June 9, 2008 4:31 PM

He's tied to the golden child from LA.
Crist is going to have a real problem w/ the nascar folks (u know what I mean)
I guess it will be Romney. A gift to the Demo's

Posted by: Bobby Jindal's Conscience | June 9, 2008 5:06 PM

With all do respect to the comment posted by Dwight, correct me if I'm mistaken here, but "Scumbag"? I guess I'm also mistaken to hope for some polite discourse. Maybe some insightful analysis but to plod immediately to "scumbag"? Few things are more demeaning, sir.

We are only beginning to see into the inner sanctum of the Bush whitehouse. It's looking like not only did our emperor have no clothes, but he looks ugly naked. It's not easy to speak truth to power but that is the only way the process has a chance. I fully support those who investigate these individuals.

Posted by: Seamas Plugg | June 9, 2008 5:09 PM

It's not the pettiness of Dems who are demeaning this country, it's the liars, hypocrits, traitors, and outright crooks in this disastrous administration that have sold their soul to the devil. Impeachment and imprisonment is to good for them.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 9, 2008 5:12 PM

WHEN THE INDICTMENT IS COMING FOR ALL THE DEMONS, STARTING WITH SATAN THE IMPOSTOR OF ALL THIS YEARS

Posted by: Alex | June 9, 2008 5:48 PM

Remember the Administration's rationale for keeping the records secret? The President must be able to get good advise from all quarters without political interference.

If the the public ever knew that America was being sold out for Yanni tickets....imagine the uproar!

Posted by: thebob.bob | June 9, 2008 5:57 PM

Isn't it amazing that NEO-CONS with a flag pin and a bible to pound trade their patriotism and oath to uphold the constitution for some ball game tickets!?!

Jennifer "Fruity" Farley is a DISGRACE who belongs in jail!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
We are all equal but some of us are more equal than others. Animal Farm

Are you saying the bible toting neo-cons are hypocrites? They don't think so. Remember, God helps those who help themselves. They have God on their side. They deserve the perks. After all look at all the things they do for us down here on the lower decks of the ship. We should be more thankful and appreciative of their efforts.

They are sacrificing their lives knowing that all their friends are making 3 times the money. So lets give them a break. They won't be around much longer untill they all become lobbyists. So lets enjoy their willings to sacrifice for us little people.

The only thing I don't understand is why a Republican would go to a Yanni concert? Seems mutually exclusive to me. Oh well!

Posted by: Humpty Dumpty | June 9, 2008 6:40 PM

Tell me where was Waxman when the Tobacco company execs lied their rearends off about not knowing that cigarettes were harmful. There is no honesty in Washington anymore. They are all out to secure their employment, their pensions (gee, what's a pension?) and play gotcha.
Maybe it is time to pay them all off and start again with the condition that you never have held an elected office before.

Posted by: Robert | June 9, 2008 6:49 PM

When Clinton lied about oral sex, the Republicans fell all over themselves in their hurry to impeach.

But exposing corruption and lies about that corruption and lies used to start a war that killed over three THOUSAND American soldiers (that's more Americans than Ossama bin Ladin killed) and lies about outing undercover CIA agents is 'demeaning' and 'petty'.

Yeah... right...

Posted by: Frank D | June 9, 2008 7:15 PM

Hey, oral sex is a serious matter, Frank. You can put an eye out.

Posted by: Seamas Plugg | June 9, 2008 8:37 PM

These guys and Farley have all the class of petty thieves and cheap hookers. Rove should be in prison. An unnecessary war that even Brent Scowcroft oppposed, and an economy hopelessly in the tank. This is the most incompetent Administration in history...across the board. And it is led by a knucklehead who could not find a job on his own without Daddy's money to get him in the oil business and his Daddy's friends to run a baseball team. Pathetic.

Posted by: Jackson | June 9, 2008 9:39 PM

I do not think McCain would be a good President for the next 4 years if He clinks to the Conservatives.
I do not trust BHO since he said Rev. Wright is not the one he knew for twenty years. I am positive that BHO lies about this matter for political reasons.

Posted by: zien106 | June 9, 2008 11:16 PM

what was bush's FRUIT??

or whom?

he shhure naws howda spend that litical capital.

Posted by: bloggod | June 10, 2008 12:08 AM

Ok so much for the Bush stuff. How about Obamas freinds in Illinois that raised funds for him and are under inditement for criminal charges. I suppose Obama didn't know about any of this at the time and that both men had previous criminal records

Posted by: Charles Queen | June 10, 2008 1:30 AM

Once Bush steps down and Obama's new Atty Gen. is in place, expect the floodgates to open. Mukasey will not allow the indictments to happen during this admin. The strange part is he is opening himself up to charges of obstructing justice by blocking the charges. Even a Aty. Gen. is not above the law no matter what Bush claims under his "Inherent Authority" fantasies.
It's a matter of patience at this point. Both Houses of Congress are gathering all the evidence needed for after Jan. 20th. This is the unspoken reason that the people are counting on the Democratic Party to reach a overwhelming majority this election. Believe it or not, the American Public wants to see real justice. The type of Justice that both Nixons and Scooter Libbys Pardons denied them . If Nixon had never walked, Bush would not of had the guts to circumvent the Constitution and lie us into a war.
Tonight Rep. Dennis Kucinich filed the Articles of Impeachment against George W. Bush. Speaker Pelosi has 2 days to make a historic decision. Does she let the case go forward as every American know it should, or does she do what is "convenient", politically ?

Posted by: Sam | June 10, 2008 2:27 AM

Don't close Gitmo because it should house The White House and most of Congress for supporting an unprovoked attack Iran and Afghanistan with public money.

Simply swap the D.C. criminals with the Gitmo prisoners with the advice of take your time with the new residents.

Posted by: Kilgore Trout | June 10, 2008 6:02 PM

the pettiness of the dems is demeaning the country. why not mention waxman, isn't he the scumbag behind this?

Posted by: Dwight | June 9, 2008 3:37 PM

RIGHT AND THE CORRUPTION OF THE REPUBATARDS IS UN-FRICKIN BELIEAVEABLE! IF ANYONE IS CONSIDERED A SCUMBAG IT IS, YOUR STUPID SCUMBAGS, BUSH AND CHENEY!

Posted by: Ceci | June 10, 2008 6:18 PM

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