White House records show just two visits by convicted lobbyist; Records omit Bush meetings
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Wednesday May 10, 2006
Records omit visit to Old Executive Office Building on May 9, 2001
"Secret Service records released today under court order show that convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff made only two visits to the White House since President Bush took office in January 2001," Cox News Service is reporting (Article).
"On March 6, 2001, Abramoff entered at 4:23 p.m. and left at 4:49 p.m. On Jan. 20, 2004, he went in at 10:42 a.m. and left at 11:29 a.m. The records do not show who he saw or what the topic was," Cox reported. "Bush delivered a State of the Union address on Jan. 20, 2004."
The Secret Service records, however, do not square with what is already in the public record. The New York Times reported that Bush met with Abramoff and an Indian tribal leader in the Old White House Executive Office Building on May 9, 2001 -- which is not in the Secret Service logs (Article).
The Old Executive Office building is adjacent to the White House. It is possible that the Secret Service has not turned over records for buildings other than the White House proper. TIME has a photo of Bush with Abramoff here.
Abramoff also visited the White House for two Chanukah events in 2001 and 2002.
Andrew Blum, Abramoff's legal spokesman, said he had "no comment" about whether the records were accurate in response to a RAW STORY inquiry.
The records were acquired by Judicial Watch, a government watchdog group. A federal judge ordered the records released and the Secret Service said they would comply Apr. 25.
Abramoff, once Washington's top conservative lobbyist with annual accounts approaching $30 million, pled guilty to wire fraud in a Florida gambling boat deal and was recently sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison. He has also pled guilty to bribing members of Congress and their staffs; sentencing has not yet occurred in that case.
“At first glance, these documents seem incomplete when compared to other White House visitor logs obtained by Judicial Watch. We therefore have reason to believe there are additional details about Jack Abramoff’s visits to the White House that have not been disclosed,” Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch president, told Cox. “However, now we know there are at least two visits by admitted felon Jack Abramoff that the White House must explain. What was Jack Abramoff doing at the White House? With whom did he meet? The public deserves to know answers to these questions.”
White House spokeswoman Erin Healy gave no further information about the visits to a Cox News Service inquiry. The erstwhile lobbyist raised upwards of $200,000 for President Bush's reelection campaign in 2004.