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In yet another example of extensive lying by the Bush Administration, a new Congressional report shows scandal-ridden lobbyist Jack Abramoff had, literally, the run of the White House, visiting more than 450 times, openly seeking jobs for clients and contacts and at least nine meetings with Presidential guru Karl Rove.
Reports George Stephanopolis of ABC News:
A Congressional report due out tomorrow is expected to show now-convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his associates had far more extensive contacts with the White House than President Bush’s staff ever acknowledged.
The report from the Republican-led House Government Affairs Committee will state that Abramoff had as many as 450 contacts with the White House, and prime among his lobbying targets was former White House political director Ken Mehlman, and Bush’s adviser Karl Rove.
Mehlman is now the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, which issued this statement in response to the report: "In his capacity as Political Director of the White House, it is not unusual that Mr. Mehlman would be in contact with supporters who had interest in administration policy."
The investigation is based on a detailed examination of the billing records and the e-mails the committee received from Abramoff and his associates, which indicated far more extensive contacts than investigators were led to believe in the past between the lobbyist and both the White House and the Republican National Committee.
It also presents circumstantial evidence that Abramoff was able to have some action taken on behalf of his clients and details offers from Abramoff and his associates of dinners, concert tickets and other meals and drinks to White House officials.
After Abramoff pled guilty to illegal lobbying, officials at the White House said they barely new him and all they knew was what they read in the papers.
The report finds 450 contacts with White House officials, including nine with the president’s chief political adviser, Karl Rove.
It also shows that Abramoff tried to get 20 people hired in the administration, but was only successful once.
The White House says what this demonstrates is that Abramoff was singularly unsuccessful as a lobbyist, even though he was trying very hard.
But it remains to be seen if there were any instances of illegal lobbying and if the alleged offers to White House officials of concert tickets, meals violated the gift ban.
The White House also points out that this investigation is largely based on Abramoff’s billing records and e-mails and that he’s been shown to have lied in the past.
Abramoff and his business partner, Adam Kidan, both pled guilty to conspiracy and wire fraud in March, and were each sentenced to five years and 10 months in federal prison. Abramoff’s sentence is scheduled to begin Nov. 15.