OF PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS - Bush Reports Contacts with Abramoff

(03/11/2006)

By Tony Russell

 Washington, Feb. 16 -

       Celebrity lobbyist Jack Abramoff met President Bush in almost a dozen different settings over the past five years and was invited to the President’s Crawford, Texas, ranch in the summer of 2003, the President told a reporter in an e-mail last month.

Bush’s claim directly contradicts assertions by the Abramoff’s aides that the lobbyist doesn’t know the President and has no recollection of ever having met him, assertions made as Abramoff attempts to distance himself from the numerous scandals and controversies surrounding the administration.

     In mentioning the invitation to Texas in 2003, Bush was apparently referring to a private barbecue he hosted for his biggest fundraisers at the Broken Spoke Ranch, down the road from the president's rustic compound near Crawford, on Aug. 9 of that year. About 350 Republicans who had raised at least $50,000 each for Bush were invited, including Abramoff. 

  In the e-mail, Bush says that Abramoff was a Pioneer who gave at least a hundred thousand dollars to his campaign war chest. “Of course we knew each other!” he asserts. “Do you think any politician doesn’t know and cultivate somebody who drops that kind of change on him? Besides, his name begins with an ‘A’ followed by a ‘B.’ Whenever I looked at a list of big donors, they were arranged alphabetically, and he was the first guy on the list.”

       “I don’t know why he’s claiming he doesn’t know who I am. Abramoff has one of the best memories of any lobbyist I have ever met," Bush told Ken Eye of Districian magazine. "The guy saw me in almost a dozen settings, and joked with me about a bunch of things, including details of my kids. We both have twins, and we used to swap stories about crazy things they’d done. My wife Laura has a picture of herself with Jack’s wife. I picked him as a member of the transition team to launch my administration, for crying out loud." ... Continued at   readtonyrussell.blogspot.com


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