Saturday, July 08, 2006

Partisans, a love story (revisited): The Bush-Abramoff affair

It was back in January that I wrote a post on "the financial relationship of George Bush and Jack Abramoff". The White House was trying to distance itself (and Bush himself) from the disgraced lobbyist, but the relationship between Bush and Abramoff was much closer than we are being led to believe it was.

Here's what I wrote: "Abramoff was a big-time fundraiser for Bush, just as he was a big-time lobbyist on K Street. The White House (and the campaigns that got Bush there) were quite happy to know him (and to take his money) before his recent fall from grace. It makes sense why the White House would want to have nothing to do with him anymore, and why Abramoff is now such an embarrassment in Washington, but Bush and his cronies are merely re-writing history (i.e., lying) for the sake of political expediency (i.e., to avoid charges of comingling with corruption -- corruption that has wormed its way throughout Republican Washington).

Then, in April, co-blogger J. Kingston Pierce wrote this: "[A]s the Jack Abramoff influence-buying scandal heated up, then-White House spokesperson “Stonewall Scotty” McClellan tried to distance the prez from the disgraced Republican lobbyist by saying, dismissively, that the closest Abramoff had ever gotten to Bush was when he attended a couple of crowded holiday receptions and a few insignificant “staff-level meetings.” (“The President does not know him, nor does the President recall ever meeting him,” McClellan said.) Not long afterward, The Washingtonian and Time magazines reported that they’d seen photographs of the two men in much closer and more chummy contact." (JKP wrote a follow-up post in May.)


The White House spin boomeranged, which is usually does once the truth comes out, and now The Washington Post is reporting that Abramoff was once, pre-scandal, a frequent guest at the White House:

Lobbyist Jack Abramoff had a half-dozen White House appointments in the early months of the Bush administration, according to logs released yesterday by the U.S. Secret Service.

The appointments included a meeting with a domestic policy aide to Vice President Cheney and a meeting in the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives attended by about 40 people. The logs also reflect that Abramoff attended one or more social events, as well as a gathering of Indian tribal officials and state legislators at which President Bush appeared.

Abramoff met with Karl Rove himself in March 2001, and "[t]he new data, combined with the two visits disclosed in May, show that Abramoff had appointments to attend White House events or meetings on seven occasions -- six in 2001 and a seventh in January 2004, on Inauguration Day".

But Bush doesn't know him, right? Just like he didn't know Ken Lay.

The White House can deny it all it wants, but Bush is right at home in the Republican Washington of Jack Abramoff. After all, partisans like Abramoff helped put Bush in the White House in the first place.

(For more on Abramoff, see here, here, and here.)

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