Abramoff, Bush Together on Camera
Trolling through the House oversight committee’s report this afternoon, it became clear that Jack Abramoff was a bad influence on U.S. policy in the Northern Mariana Islands. Otherwise, the report, which said upfront that it was limited by key players taking the 5th, left more questions than answers. Here are a couple of the biggest questions (and a few photos of Abramoff and Bush):
– Why were White House personnel officials sending emails to Stephen Hadley in 2001 about a politically motivated State Dept. firing? The current National Security Adviser was deputy national security adviser at the time, putting him in a position where he would have nothing to do with Abramoff’s political dealings (along with the Mariana Islands, Abramoff’s top clients were four American Indian tribes). From what we know, Hadley’s involvement doesn’t make any sense.
– That leads to another question: Did Abramoff’s influence extend beyond helping his specific clients? The committee has six (low quality) pictures of him with President George Bush. (We published a handful of our favorites below.) We know Abramoff had extensive interactions with Bush’s political adviser Karl Rove. There’s also a lot of amusing stuff at the end of the report about Abramoff’s lobbying firm, Greenberg Traurig, buying tickets for people like Rove and former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman to events like Washington Wizards games and U2 and Bruce Springsteen concerts on Abramoff’s dime.
– Last, was Abramoff elaborately bribing top officials to help his lobbying clients? Or was he more broadly trying to shape the Republican Party?
At least thanks to the oversight committee we know a little more.