Democratic National Committee sues Secret Service for records in Abramoff lobbying scandal
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Monday May 8, 2006
The Democratic National Committee filed suit against the Secret Service today in an effort to obtain entry and exit logs for several prominent figures in the Abramoff lobbying scandal, RAW STORY has learned.
Jack A. Abramoff, once Washington’s richest lobbyist, fell victim to his own success after a federal investigation uncovered widespread fraud and influence peddling by him and his aides among senior Republican members of Congress. Democrats have tried, with limited success, to pin the scandal on Republicans as part of a 2006 election strategy.
Following the successful prosecution of the Secret Service for Abramoff’s files by the conservative legal watchdog group Judicial Watch, the DNC is suing to obtain records for Grover Norquist; a personal friend of Abramoff who arranged visits between Indian tribal leaders and President Bush; Patrick Pizzella, an undersecretary of labor who worked on Abramoff’s lobbying team until he was appointed by President Bush; and Ralph Reed, an Abramoff friend and former Christian Coalition director who used his religious credentials to provide cover for Abramoff’s Indian gaming crusade.
They are also seeking entry and exit records for David Safavian, formerly President Bush’s chief procurement officer, who was arrested late last year for allegedly obstructing the Abramoff probe, and Michael Scanlon, Abramoff’s business partner, who recently pled guilty to bribing members of Congress and their aides.
The suit will be filed today in the United States District Court in Washington, D.C. Judicial Watch recently won their case to acquire Abramoff's records; it seems likely that the DNC will win this case as well.
The Secret Service has stalled requests for the records, which they must turn over by law under the Freedom of Information Act. RAW STORY has also filed Information Act requests with the Secret Service on Abramoff, Pizzella and Norquist without success.
The DNC first sought the records in January.
If you are an attorney in Washington and would consider filing suit for one or more of our Information Act requests pro bono, please email us at [email protected] RAW STORY has several outstanding Information requests with the Secret Service and the Department of Defense, among other agencies.