As the Congressional lobbying scandal deepens, the White House is having to play some defense of its own, as over the weekend both Washingtonian and Time magazines reported the existence of a half dozen photographs showing President Bush in the company of disgraced felon-lobbyist Jack Abramoff."
Purely "coincidence," say the White House spinmeisters. Abramoff was simply invited to a few large holiday gatherings at the White House, and according to White House counselor Dan Bartlett, “any suggestions by critics or anyone else to suggest the president is doing something nefarious with Abramoff is absurd." President Bush has said he doesn’t recall ever meeting Abramoff, and Bartlett added that Bush “doesn’t have a personal relationship" with Abramoff, who recently pled guilty to several charges in a wide-ranging corruption probe.
You’d think that if someone raised more than $100,000 for you – Abramoff was a Bush campaign “Pioneer” in the 2004 election – and helped push your legislative agenda through Congress with his extensive lobbying efforts, you’d at least be kind enough to say you remember meeting them. Maybe there was just too much lobbyist-bundled money flowing through the White House for Mr. Bush to remember little details like who it all came from? Regrettably, that might well be his answer.
Mr. Bush did send $6,000 contributed to his campaign by Abramoff, his wife and an Indian tribe he represented to the American Heart Association just days after Abramoff pled guilty. No response yet to our request that the president account for the other $100,000 the corrupt lobbyist raised for him, though….