Wednesday, June 11, 2008

JAILED LOBBYIST HAD 485 CONTACTS WITH BUSH OFFICIALS OVER THREE YEARS

CONSORTIUM NEWS Hundreds of pages of documents, released Monday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, show that Abramoff regularly communicated with former White House political adviser Karl Rove and his deputies regarding the administration's domestic agenda. Abramoff, who pleaded guilty two years ago to corruption charges, had 485 lobbying contacts with White House officials between January 2001 and March 2004, including 170 meetings over meals and 16 meetings over drinks, the report said.

Committee chairman, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California, also complained that his investigation was hampered by six unnamed individuals who asserted their Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrim'ination, including three White House officials.

Waxman's committee released six photographs of Abramoff and members of his family posing with Bush at GOP fundraisers and White House functions. Some of the photos were autographed by the President.

In January 2006, when one such photograph surfaced, Bush dismissed it as meaningless and insisted he barely knew the man. "You know, I, frankly, don't even remember having my picture taken with the guy," Bush said. "I don't know him. I can't say I didn't ever meet him, but I meet a lot of people. … I've had my picture taken with a lot of people."

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