NYT Editorial - The White House & Mr. Abramoff
The White House and Mr.
The New York Times | Editorial
Monday 09 October 2006
The sordid Mark Foley controversy has diverted public attention from another major Washington ethics scandal - the influence peddling involving the disgraced former superlobbyist Jack Abramoff. That's good news for the Bush administration, given freshly heightened suspicion that its dealings with Mr. Abramoff and his sleazy K Street operation were far cozier than it is willing to admit.
The White House has consistently played down the ties key officials like Karl Rove had with Mr. Abramoff, who pleaded guilty last January to conspiring to bribe public officials. But the administration has declined to publicly provide detailed answers or grant full access to relevant documents needed to establish the truth.
A newly released report, prepared with unusual bipartisan backing by the House Government Reform Committee, paints a different reality. It reveals that between January 2001 and March 2004, Mr. Abramoff and members of his staff had some 485 contacts with key White House officials, including at least 10 direct contacts between Mr. Abramoff and Mr. Rove. Billing records and e-mail messages unearthed by the committee indicate that Mr. Abramoff and his colleagues spent nearly $25,000 on meals and tickets for White House officials.