January 9, 2006
Abramoff's Close Encounters With The Bush AdministrationIt looks like the Bush Administration welcomed Abramoff with open arms, as many as 200 times:
WASHINGTON (AP) — In President Bush's first 10 months, GOP fundraiser Jack Abramoff and his lobbying team logged nearly 200 contacts with the new administration as they pressed for friendly hires at federal agencies and sought to keep the Northern Mariana Islands exempt from the minimum wage and other laws, records show.In the course of these "contacts", Abramoff saw many of his people get important political appointments:
In addition, two of Abramoff's lobbying colleagues on the Marianas won political appointments inside federal agencies.Not mentioned in the article is Susan Ralston, Abramoff's former secretary who became Karl Rove's personal assistant and one of the players in the Fitzgerald investigation.
Apparently, the contacts were mutually beneficial:
Abramoff and his wife each gave $5,000 to Bush's 2000 recount fund and the maximum $1,000 to his 2000 campaign. By mid-2003, Abramoff had raised at least $100,000 for Bush's re-election campaign, becoming one of Bush's famed "pioneers."With a paper trail like this, the White House's reported efforts to gather up all photos of Bush with Abramoff to put distance between the two seems moot.
And this is only the beginning.
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