Bush campaign to give Abramoff money to charity


(Gold9472: Considering Abramoff once charged someone $9,000,000.00 to meet with Bush, I'd say the chances are that they've met before.)

Wed Jan 4, 2006 09:37 AM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush's re-election campaign will give to charity several thousand dollars in contributions linked to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the White House said on Wednesday.

Abramoff pleaded guilty to fraud charges on Tuesday and agreed to help U.S. prosecutors in a corruption probe that could involve several top Republican lawmakers, including former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the money, for which he did not have a precise figure, came from either Abramoff, his wife or American Indian tribal interests that Abramoff represented.

The Bush-Cheney '04 campaign will give the money to the American Heart Association, said McClellan. He said giving the money to charity was consistent with past practice by the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign with campaign contributions from controversial individuals.

Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean on Tuesday called on Bush to return to donors what he said was more than $100,000 in campaign contributions raised by Abramoff, whom he described as a major fund-raiser for the president's 2004 re-election bid.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers seeking to distance themselves from Abramoff and his clients have returned more than $200,000 in campaign contributions in recent weeks.

McClellan said Abramoff attended three Hannukah receptions at the White House over the past several years.

"The president does not know him and does not recall meeting him. It is possible that he could have met him at a holiday reception or some other widely attended event," he said.

McClellan, as he said on Tuesday, noted that Abramoff "needs to be held to account, punished for his wrongdoing that he has acknowledged."

"It is outrageous, and beyond that I don't think I want to speculate. The Justice Department continues to investigate the matter," he said.