Committee report finds Abramoff influenced White House

Nick Juliano
Published: Monday June 9, 2008

Contrary to the White House's claims, corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff had access to the highest reaches of the Bush administration and influenced numerous decisions within the executive branch, a draft report from the House Oversight Committee has concluded.

"The testimony and documents obtained by the Committee ... confirm that Mr. Abramoff had access to the White House," reads the report, which was released Monday. "Further, the record before the Committee contradicts White House claims that with respect to his White House contacts, Mr. Abramoff got 'nothing out of it.' Not only did Mr. Abramoff achieve some positive results from his White House lobbying, but White House officials sought out the views of Mr. Abramoff and his colleagues on matters of official business."

Abramoff was convicted in 2006 on several corruption charges related to his fraudulent dealings with Indian tribes he represented. Fallout from revelations of Abramoff's influence peddling rippled through Congress and contributed to several Republican lawmakers losing their seats in the Democrats' takeover that same year.

The 35-page report documents a two-year investigation by the committee into Abramoff's influence within the White House. It uncovered six photographs of the corrupt lobbyist and members of his family shaking hands with President Bush; the committee also found evidence of more than 70 previously unknown contacts between Abramoff and his associates and administration officials.

The report was issued with the approval of Oversight Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Ranking Member Tom Davis (R-VA). The full committee is slated to mark-up the report Thursday.

A .pdf copy of the full report is available here