First, Bush never met him. Then, he didn't really know him. Now, he's going down the memory hole.
Bush administration has been busily trying to distance itself from
convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The latest move is especially
White House and the Secret Service quietly signed an agreement last
spring in the midst of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal declaring
records identifying visitors to the White House are not open to the
The Bush administration did not reveal the existence of the memorandum of understanding until last fall.
White House is using it to deal with a legal problem on a separate
front, a ruling by a federal judge ordering the production of Secret
Service logs identifying visitors to the office of Vice President Dick
In a federal appeals court filing three weeks ago, the
administration's lawyers used the memo in a legal argument aimed at
overturning the judge's ruling. The Washington Post is suing for access
to the Secret Service logs.
The five-page document dated May 17
declares that all entry and exit data on White House visitors belongs
to the White House as presidential records rather than to the Secret
Service as agency records.
Therefore, the agreement states, the material is not subject to public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.
You know what they say, where there's smoke...
Bush administration's agreement with the Secret Service "at a minimum
will serve to postpone a final resolution of who these records belong
to," said Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government
Secrecy for the Federation of American Scientists told CNN. "This memo
reflects the Bush administration's view of American government, which
is that the people's business should be conducted behind closed doors."
A house investigation found 485 contacts between the White House and Abramoff, including 10 with Karl Rove.