Friday, September 29, 2006

Partisans, a love story (revisited): George W. Bush and the passion of the disgraced lobbyist

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Remember how the White House was trying to distance itself (and Bush himself) from Abramoff and his disgrace? Remember how we learned that the relationship between Bush and Abramoff was much closer than we were being led to believe it was? I wrote about the affair here and here.

Well, it now seems that "close" doesn't quite describe it. Here's Roll Call:

A House committee has documented hundreds of contacts between top White House officials and former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his associates, as well as tens of thousands of dollars worth of meals and tickets to sporting events and concerts that were offered to these officials during a three-year period starting in early 2001.

Hundreds of contacts? 485, to be precise, including 82 "in Rove's office".

Thousands of dollars? "$25,000 for meals and drinks with White House officials" between January 2001 and March 2004.

And there may be more to the story: "Democrats suggested that the documents obtained by the committee “raised serious questions about the legality and ethics of the actions of multiple White House officials." Indeed: "The Government Reform Committee report singled out two of President Bush’s top lieutenants, Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman, as having been offered expensive meals and exclusive tickets to premier sporting events and concerts by Abramoff and his associates."

A dirty White House? Corruption at the top? Sure, it's the Bush presidency. What else is new?

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