Monday, January 23, 2006

McClellan Decides to Run and Hide In Face of Tough New Questions...

.... about Abramoff's Connections to White House


News from DNC:

Washington, DC - Less than one week after White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan refused to answer questions about White House staff meetings with Republican super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff until reporters had "something specific" to ask about, Time Magazine reported that at least five photos of President Bush with Abramoff have been discovered and that Abramoff met with White House staffers, including Karl Rove. [Time, 1/23/06] McClellan's response in the face of "specific questions" was to not schedule today's daily White House press briefing.

Democratic National Committee Communications Director Karen Finney today issued the following statement on McClellan's decision to duck tough new questions:

"After stonewalling reporters last week, McClellan apparently decided it was better to run and hide from reporters' questions, rather than stand up and face tough questions raised by reports about photos of President Bush and Republican super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The American people deserve answers to the questions that have been raised about the true nature of meetings held with Jack Abramoff and the White House."

A Coincidence? Bush White House Blocked Construction Of Casino By Rival Tribe Of Abramoff Client. The Coushatta Indians of Louisiana paid Abramoff's former law firm, $1.76 million "in the last sixth months of 2001." A month after Abramoff's law firm received the payment, the Bush White House blocked a rival tribe's attempt to construct a casino near the Coushatta casino. "William Worfel, vice chairman of the Coushattas, views the administration's decision as a direct benefit of the eye-popping lobbying fees his tribe paid Mr. Abramoff." [New York Times, 4/3/02]

200 Coincidences! Abramoff and His Lobbying Team Had 200 Separate Contacts With Administration Officials. According to his lobbying firm's billing records, Jack Abramoff and his Marianas Islands lobbying team had almost 200 contacts with Bush Administration officials. The records include meetings with Cheney policy advisers Ron Christie and Stephen Ruhlen, Attorney General Ashcroft at the Justice Department, White House intergovernmental affairs chief Ruben Barrales, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, Deputy Interior Secretary Steven Griles and others. While records show that many of the meetings were handled by Abramoff's lieutenants, Abramoff personally met with Top Interior Department officials, "whose Office of Insular Affairs oversees the Mariana Islands and other U.S. territories." [AP, 5/6/05]

Fancy Meeting You Here! Abramoff Arranged White House Meeting in Exchange for Donation to Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform. A lawyer for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian tribe in Michigan revealed that tribal leaders had "three or four" meetings at the White Houseincluding one with Bush and another with Roveafter they gave a $25,000 donation to Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform at Jack Abramoff's request. ATR later confirmed that Norquist arranged White House meetings for Indian tribal leaders and others who were "supportive of the president's agenda." [Newsweek, 5/2/05]

More Than One "Staff Level" Meeting, Apparently Abramoff Met With Rove. "He was also admitted to the White House complex for meetings with several staff members, including one with presidential senior adviser Karl Rove, one of the most coveted invitations in Washington." [Time, 1/23/06]




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