White House Withholds Hundreds of Abramoff Documents
The text of the letter follows:
Dear Mr. Fielding:
The White House is withholding hundreds of pages of documents about the activities of convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff on the grounds that these documents involve internal White House deliberations. Unless the President is prepared to assert executive privilege over these documents, they should be turned over to the Oversight Committee without further delay.
When Mr. Abramoff pleaded guilty to corruption charges in January 2006, White House officials stated emphatically that Mr. Abramoff was a virtual stranger to the White House. President Bush said, "I don't know him." White House spokesman Scott McClellan asserted that "there were only a couple of holiday receptions that he attended, then a few staff-level meetings on top of that." Through a spokesperson, Karl Rove, then Senior Advisor to the President, said, "Mr. Rove remembers they had met at a political event in the 1990s. … Since then, he would describe him as a casual acquaintance." Ken Mehlman, the former Director of the White House Office of Political Affairs, said: "Well, Abramoff is someone who we don't know a lot about. … We know what we read in the paper." More...