U.S. House of Representatives
Committee on Government Reform
109 th Congress
Tom Davis, Chairman
Henry A. Waxman, Ranking Member
September 29, 2006
Table of Contents
Executive Summary ................................................................- 1 -
I. Background................................................................- 3 -
A. Jack Abramoff’s Lobbying Practice .................................- 3 -
B. Senate Report ................................................................- 5 -
C. Guilty Pleas .............................................................- 10 -
D. The Committee’s Investigation..................................................- 11 -
E. Document Production...........................................................- 12 -
F. Policy Objectives and Lobbying and Financial Disclosure Reform.....................- 12 -
II. The Lobbyists.................................................................- 13 -
A. Jack Abramoff.................................................................- 13 -
B. Abramoff’s Associates ....................................................- 15 -
C. Americans for Tax Reform and Grover Norquist ...................................- 22 -
D. Ralph Reed.................................................................- 23 -
III. Description of the Documents Reviewed ........................................- 24 -
A. The Billing Records ..........................................................- 24 -
B. The E-mails .....................................................................- 30 -
IV. The Lobbying..................................................................- 31 -
A. Office of the Senior Advisor....................................................- 32 -
B. Ken Mehlman and the Office of Political Affairs ..................................- 44 -
C. Jennifer Farley and the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.......................- 44 -
D. Other White House Lobbying......................................................- 46 -
E. Events and Meetings.......................................................- 46 -
F. White House Initiative to Work Directly With Tribes ...........................- 50 -
V. The Results.........................................................................- 51 -
A. Successes..........................................................................- 52 -
B. Failures ..........................................................................- 66 -
VI. Meals, Drinks, and Tickets .......................................................- 78 -
A. Meals and Drinks ...............................................................- 78 -
B. Shawn Vasell’s Meals and Drinks ............................................- 80 -
C. Tickets ..........................................................................- 83 -
VII. Conclusion...................................................................- 91 -
In the wake of numerous guilty pleas by Jack Abramoff and his lobbying
associates relating to defrauding his clients and his law firm and to public corruption
charges, the Committee on Government Reform commenced an investigation into the
nature and extent of their lobbying of White House officials. The Committee obtained
billing records and e-mail communications of Abramoff and his associates at his lobbying
firm, GreenbergTraurig L.L.P., relating to instances of lobbying officials at the White
House. The e-mail and billing data provided to the Committee by Abramoff’s firm
spanned three years, included the dealings of approximately 20 lobbyists. In total, it
amounted to more than 14,000 pages.
This review of more than three years of Abramoff/Greenberg Traurig, LLP billing
records and e-mails offers an unusually detailed glimpse into a sordid subculture of fraud
and attempted influence peddling. The questions of primary concern to the Committee in
this review: To what extent were executive branch officials influenced by Abramoff’s
elaborate schemes? And, in view of Abramoff’s admitted crimes, what reforms would
better protect the integrity and increase the transparency of government processes and
Constitutionally protected freedoms of speech and association guarantee citizens
and their paid advocates the right to petition their government in an effort to influence the
outcome of public policy deliberations. At the same time, in recognition of the public
trust bestowed by government service, federal employees are bound by statutory and
regulatory prohibitions and affirmative disclosure requirements to ensure adherence to
fundamental ethical principles in the conduct of public business. Those ethics laws and
disclosure regimes operate to ensure that official acts are undertaken for public, not
private, benefit and that influence exerted by citizens and their organized representatives
is neither undue nor improper.
In this instance, those legal, regulatory and reporting requirements on lobbyists
and the public officials they sought to influence proved inadequate to protect Abramoff’s
clients from fraudulent business practices and kickback schemes. The same safeguards
also failed to protect public officials from the ethical undertow generated by Abramoff’s
claims of access to executive branch deliberations, particularly at the White House. And,
to the extent Abramoff succeeded in exerting undue influence or corrupting public
officials, current laws and regulations failed to protect the fundamental governmental
integrity every citizen rightfully expects. In effect, Abramoff was selling information and
entrée that shouldn’t need to be bought while making his clients pay inflated fees for
access and influence that shouldn’t be for sale.
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The principle that guided the preparation of this report was to let the facts speak
for themselves and to avoid characterizations, inferences, and spin. In today’s closely
divided partisan environment, different parties may draw different conclusions from the
billing records and e-mail exchanges described in this report. Indeed, in some instances,?
Chairman Tom Davis and Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman may themselves have
differing interpretations of the significance of what is described in the report.
What united Chairman Davis and Ranking Member Waxman and made this report
possible were two convictions: (1) a shared belief that members of Congress and the
public deserve an impartial presentation of what the billing records and e-mails have to
say and (2) a mutual commitment to fundamental reform of the laws governing lobbying
of the executive branch. They hope that readers of the report will come to share these
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There are certain caveats that all readers of this report should bear in mind. This
report is not intended to be viewed as the final word on Abramoff’s efforts to lobby the
White House. The documents on which the report is based are drawn from the records of
Abramoff’s former firm, Greenberg Traurig, and thus for the most part can tell only one
side of the story. In many instances, there is little or no corroboration of the events
described in the documents. In other instances, the documents are vague about who was
lobbied and what was said. While the documents described in this report are authentic,
that does not mean that the events actually transpired or that Abramoff and his associates
did not exaggerate or misrepresent their actions.?I. Background
On January 3, 2006, lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty in federal district
court in the District of Columbia to four counts of conspiracy, one count of mail fraud,
and one count of tax evasion. Under the conspiracy provisions of the plea agreement, he
admitted to conspiracy to commit (1) honest services wire and mail fraud, (2) mail and
wire fraud, (3) bribery and honest services fraud of a public official, and (4) violations of
post-employment restrictions for former Congressional staff members.1
In an attachment to the plea agreement, he admitted that he had defrauded clients
by concealing from them that payments to other organizations whose services he had
recommended were shared with him, that he had defrauded his own law firm by
accepting payments for services directly from clients, that payments to organizations
controlled by him were diverted to his personal use, and that he conspired to offer and
“provided things of value to public officials in exchange for a series of official acts and
influence and agreements to provide official action and influence.”2 The disclosure in
the plea agreement that these crimes had been committed as long ago as 1999 3 raised
serious questions about the adequacy of lobbying and financial disclosure requirements.
Consequently, the Committee on Government Reform initiated an investigation
into the effectiveness of laws governing executive branch lobbying and financial
disclosure by examining the nature and extent of lobbying by Jack Abramoff and his
associates of White House officials. To conduct this inquiry, the Committee obtained
and reviewed billing records and e-mail communications since 2001 of Abramoff’s
former employer, the law and lobbying firm Greenberg Traurig, L.L.P.
A. Jack Abramoff’s Lobbying Practice
Jack Abramoff maintained a federal and state governmental lobbying practice
since at least 1994, 4 and from January 2001 through March of 2004, Jack Abramoff
presided over a substantial lobbying practice from his position as a partner at Greenberg
Traurig L.L.P. (Greenberg). Largely representing Indian tribes and insular territories,
Abramoff’s practice grew rapidly in the late 1990s following successful engagements
1 Plea Agreement at ¶3, U.S. v. Jack A. Abramoff, No. CR-06-001 (D.D.C. Jan. 3, 2006)
[hereinafter Abramoff D.D.C. Plea Agreement].
2 Id. at ¶3(A), Attachment A, ¶33.
3 Id. at ¶6. newsfollowup.com steve francis
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4 Id. at Attachment A, ¶1.?with clients such as the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
(Choctaw) and the territory
of the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).
Abramoff’s Choctaw and CNMI representations built a foundation for a
significant lobbying practice. During the mid to late 1990s, Abramoff was responsible
for a number of successful initiatives for the Choctaw. The tribe, which operates a large
hotel and casino in Mississippi, found itself as the third-largest employer in Mississippi.5
Given the sophisticated nature of the Choctaw’s interests, they sought Abramoff’s
services as their federal lobbyist. One of Abramoff’s early successes in representing the
Choctaw was to arrange for support in the Congress to exempt the tribe from federal
taxation on gambling revenues. With respect to the proposed taxes, Abramoff reportedly
told then-Majority Whip Tom DeLay, “[r]egardless of what you feel about gaming, what
you are creating here is a tax on these people, and conservatives should never be in favor
of new taxes.”6
Similarly, Abramoff achieved some early successes for the CNMI. In 1995,
Abramoff achieved a major victory for the territory by working to retain the territory’s
exemption from U.S. minimum wage and immigration laws.7 Avoiding the U.S. labor
laws allows the territory to retain its competitive position in the low-cost textile industry.
On the heels of these successes, Abramoff became the steward of a fast growing
lobbying practice. As has been well-chronicled in The Washington Post 8 and by the
Senate Indian Affairs Committee, however, Abramoff began defrauding these clients as
5 David E. Rosenbaum, At $500 an Hour, Lobbyist’s Influence Rises with GOP, N.Y.
TIMES, Apr. 3, 2002, at A2; S. COMM. ON INDIAN AFFAIRS, 109
CONG., “GIMME FIVE”—
INVESTIGATION OF TRIBAL LOBBYING MATTERS, at 18 (Comm. Print 2006) [hereinafter
“GIMME FIVE” S. COMM. Report].
6 Corporate Cronies, Bottomless Pockets, and the Republican Culture of Corruption,
U.S. FED. NEWS, June 22, 2005.
7 Philip Shenon, Ex-Delay Aide Pleads Guilty In Lobby Case, N.Y. TIMES, Apr. 1, 2006,
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8 See generally, James V. Grimaldi & Susan Schmidt, Logs Show 2 Abramoff Trips to
White House: Secret Service Entries Indicate Visits by Former GOP Lobbyist in 2001,
2004, WASH. POST, May 11, 2006, at A4; Susan Schmidt & James V. Grimaldi, The Fast
Rise and Steep Fall of Jack Abramoff: How a Well-Connected Lobbyist Became the
Center of a Far-Reaching Corruption Scandal, WASH. POST, Dec. 29, 2005, at A1; Susan
Schmidt & James V. Grimaldi, Lawmakers Under Scrutiny in Probe of Lobbyist: Ney and
DeLay Among the Members of Congress Said to Be a Focus of Abramoff Investigation,
WASH. POST, Nov. 26, 2005, at A1; Susan Schmidt & James V. Grimaldi, Witness May
Have Pivotal Role in Probe of Alleged Corruption, WASH. POST, Nov. 20, 2005, at A8.
Susan Schmidt, A Jackpot From Indian Gaming Tribes, WASH. POST, Feb. 22, 2004, at
A1.?early as 1999 using conduit service providers, excessively marking up fees for
services, and receiving fees from those providers that were not disclosed to his
A principal technique for Abramoff in winning and retaining clients was to
convince clients that his contacts with relevant government policy-makers were so strong
they would be foolish not to retain his firm. In the world of lobbying, perceived
influence often carries just as much weight as actual influence.
B. Senate Report
The U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs reports (Senate Report) in
substantial detail the schemes employed by Abramoff and his business partner,
“grassroots” political consultant Michael Scanlon, and some of their colleagues to
defraud clients out of enormous amounts, nearing $70 million.9
The Senate Report describes the Abramoff-Scanlon scheme as follows:
As a general proposition, the scheme involved the following:
getting each of the Tribes to hire Scanlon as their grassroots
specialist; dramatically overcharging them for grassroots and
related activities; setting aside for themselves an unconscionable
percentage of what the Tribes paid at a grossly inflated rate -- a
rate wholly unrelated to the actual cost of services provided; and
using the remaining fraction to reimburse scores of vendors that
could help them maintain vis-a-vis the Tribes a continuing
appearance of competence. One example of this fee-splitting
arrangement arises from a payment of $1,900,000 from the
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Michigan. On or about July 9, 2002,
Scanlon assured Abramoff, “800 for you[,] 800 for me[,] 250 for
the effort the other 50 went to the plane and misc expenses. We
both have an additional 500 coming when they pay the next
9 “GIMME FIVE” S. COMM. Report at 10 (The total cost of doing business with Abramoff
was actually much higher than the amounts paid to the Scanlon entities. “To determine
that cost, one must add to the $66,000,000 figure, payments made by the Tribes to the
lobbying firms with which Abramoff was associated and payments made by the Tribes
directly to [the Scanlon entities.]”)
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10 “GIMME FIVE” S. COMM. Report at 9.?Indeed, on July 12, 2002, after that payment arrived,
Scanlon made three
payments to Abramoff, including a payment of $800,000. 11
1. The Sales Pitch
Over a three-year period from 2001 through 2003, Abramoff and Scanlon
collected $66 million from six tribal clients, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
(Choctaw), the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana (Coushatta), the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe
of Michigan (Saginaw Chippewa), the Agua Caliente Band of Cahullia Indians (Agua
Caliente), the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo of Texas (Tigua), and the Pueblo of Sandia of New
Mexico (Sandia Pueblo).12
In pitching his services to the Coushatta tribe, Abramoff traded on his ties to Rep.
Delay.13 In meeting with Coushatta officials, Abramoff described his background,
political connections, and capabilities. In particular, he mentioned that he knew “how to
get things passed through the legislature” and could get “line items” for the Tribe.14
Working to sign the Agua Caliente tribe, one tribal official reported to the Senate
Committee staff that “Abramoff boasted that he was part of the lobbying team that had
secured self-regulation of Class III gaming under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act” for
the Choctaw.15 That tribal official stated that Abramoff’s comments were the reason why
she was interested in hiring him.16 As the possibility of retaining Abramoff became more
of a reality, Abramoff frequently exchanged correspondence with tribal officials
promising political power for the tribe. He wrote, “I think what we have in mind is
helping the tribe set up the kind of political strength we have done for others, but doing it
very carefully so that you are the ultimate controller of the political power.”17
When Abramoff first met with the Sandia Pueblo tribe in New Mexico, he
“stressed his Republican connections, going back to his days working on grassroots
activities for President Reagan.”18 One tribal representative recalled in an interview with
12 Id. at 10.
13 Id. at 46.
14 Id. at 47.
15 Id. at 105.
17 Id. at 115.
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18 Id. at 186.?Senate Committee staff that Abramoff “impressed the tribal leaders with his aggressive
approach, specifically recalling Abramoff ‘talk[ing] about breaking bones and busting
In persuading the Tigua to hire him, Abramoff “told the Tigua how he planned
anonymously to slip language into a legislative vehicle that would allow the Tigua to
reopen its casino.”20 Abramoff’s promise did not pan out. Despite his best efforts, the
Tigua language he promised was never included in any legislation. On reporting this
failure, Abramoff reportedly stated, “Congressman Ney had reported Senator Dodd had
gone back on his word and stripped the measure from the committee report.”21
The Abramoff-Scanlon scheme ordinarily began with Abramoff establishing a
lobbying relationship with the client. As the federal and state lobbyist for the client, the
firm performed traditional government relations services, such as advising the client on
tax and environmental issues and obtaining earmarks through the federal appropriations
process. With the tribal and territorial clients, Greenberg lobbied the federal government,
both the legislative and executive branches, including specifically officials at the
Department of Interior and at the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, the
two principal executive branch policy making entities for relations between the United
States and the client tribes and territories.
In situations where Abramoff was not able to commence a lobbying engagement
with a prospective tribal client, he, with the assistance of Scanlon, would agree to provide
campaign-related services to prospective candidates in tribal elections.22 The purpose of
the free campaign assistance was to install a favorable slate of tribal leaders. With
friends in high places within the tribe, the hope was for the tribe to commence a lucrative
lobbying and grassroots political consulting engagement.23 Sometimes Abramoff also
obtained tribal lobbying clients by working both sides of an issue. In early 2002, for
example, working through intermediaries, Abramoff urged the State of Texas to close
Tigua casinos, while simultaneously appealing to the Tigua tribe that their only hope for
survival is to hire him as their lobbyist.24
19 Id. at 187.
20 Id. at 210.
21 Id. at 178.
22 Id. at 65 -74, 109-115.
23 Id. at 9.
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24 Id. at 9, 140-141.?2. Kickbacks Paid to Abramoff
Any examination of Abramoff’s billing records must be informed by the findings
of the Senate Committee. Integral to the Abramoff fraud were the kickbacks he received
after persuading his clients to hire Scanlon for his grassroots political services.
According to the Senate Committee’s findings, Scanlon’s operation allowed Abramoff to
wrongfully obtain tens of millions of dollars. The most expensive element of Scanlon’s
services related to what the Committee described as a “purportedly elaborate political
database.”25 Scanlon’s mark-up, according to the Committee was “unconscionable”:26
For example, while Scanlon told the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana
that their “political” database would cost $1,345,000, he ended up
paying the vendor that actually developed, operated and
maintained that database about $104,560. The dramatic mark-ups
were intended to accommodate Scanlon’s secret 50/50 split with
After its two year investigation, the Senate Committee concluded Scanlon’s services were
“pathetic” and “incompetent.”28 The Senate Committee stated that, with respect to the
Sandia Pueblo, their “experience with Scanlon gave them new meaning to the phrase
‘take the money and run.’”29 The Agua Caliente tribe did not believe that Scanlon
actually performed any of the work they paid him, and unwittingly, as it turned out,
The revelation that Abramoff was being paid under the table by Scanlon took his
clients by surprise. When asked what she would say to Abramoff now that his scheme
was revealed, Choctaw official Nell Rogers told the Senate Committee staff:
I would tell them that – there are a lot of things that I could say
about being angry or bitter. But I think the worst is that they
betrayed the tribe. They betrayed the Chief who had a great deal
of confidence in them. They betrayed me ... But I think at the end
of the day, it’s the betrayal that’s worse. And I think of the people
whose lives they’ve destroyed. I think of all those young kids who
25 Id. at 9.
28 Id. at 193.
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30 Id. at 128-29.?worked at Greenberg and Preston Gates with them, who, fairly or
unfairly, are going to have to bear that burden. And I think about
the other tribes. I mean, you know, let’s face it. The tribes they
dealt with were not the poorest of the poor tribes. Of all those
tribes, Choctaw, though, probably has the greatest needs, the
biggest tribe, was the poorest tribe. And they used the success they
had with Choctaw to gain entrée with the other tribes. You know,
not only did they betray Choctaw but they betrayed the tribe’s
good name and Chief’s reputation. And, you know, Phillip Martin
has spent his life working for not only this tribe but for Indian
people. And for him to have to be smeared like this is intolerable.
I’ve spent my whole life working. You know, it’s the lack – it’s
the lack of care for people and just the personal greed. And who
knows? I don’t understand that point of view.31
In total, “having collected about $15,000,000 from the Choctaw during the
relevant period, Scanlon secretly kicked back to Abramoff about $6,364,000—about 50
percent of his total profit from the Tribe.”32
Even when asked directly, Abramoff lied to keep his Scanlon ties a secret from
his clients.33 A Tigua official observed, “A rattlesnake will warn you before it strikes.
We had no warning. They did everything behind our back.”34
With respect to his work for the Coushatta tribe, the Senate observed:
In the course of their three-year business relationship with the
Tribe, Abramoff and Scanlon were indifferent to the trust that the
Louisiana Coushatta put in them as their paid representatives and
advocates. At no time did they ever tell the Tribe that Abramoff
had a financial interest in CCS [that is, Capitol Campaign
Strategies, a Scanlon entity] or that Abramoff received a hefty
percentage of the millions of dollars that the Tribe paid CCS or
AIC. Similarly, the Tribe never knew that the cost of services
charged by Scanlon was dramatically inflated so that Abramoff
could get a big piece of a big pie. The Tribe likewise never knew
most of the money it paid Scanlon actually went to finance
31 Id. at 15-16.
32 Id. at 10.
33 Id. at 151. newsfollowup.com steve francis
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34 Id. at 182.?Scanlon’s private investments and to float Abramoff’s business
The schemes were not limited to the Scanlon services. Problems surfaced with
Abramoff’s Greenberg invoices too. On November 12, 2002, Abramoff’s associate
Duane Gibson, who was responsible for the Agua Caliente account, discovered charges
on the account with which he was unfamiliar. Gibson inquired of Abramoff:
[O]n the Agua bill, there are two items – $10K for consulting from
Michael Chapman and $5K for consulting for Sierra Dominion
Financial Resources. These were part of the itemized expenses on
the draft bill that I am reviewing. I do not know what the
arrangements are for work by these people, and want to make sure
that they are authorized. These items constitute $15K of the $25 K
in expenses. Is this ok?
Abramoff replied, “One is the finders [sic] fee for Chapman and
the other is one I will tell you about. they [sic] come out of our
retainer, and should not be listed to the client ever. Please make
sure they are never on the bill which goes to them.” When Gibson
alerted Abramoff to the possibility that Chapman’s fees might have
appeared on the previous bill, Abramoff panicked: “This is a
disaster!!!!!!” Gibson subsequently allayed Abramoff’s fears by
assuring him Chapman’s fees had only appeared on the draft bill.
Just what was the nature of the payments to Chapman and Sierra
Dominion, and why was Abramoff determined for them not to
appear on the Agua Caliente’s bill?36
The Chapman fee was not a consulting fee, but a finder’s fee.37
C. Guilty Pleas
On November 22, 2005, Michael Scanlon pleaded guilty to corruption charges
relating to his schemes with Abramoff. Shortly thereafter, on January 3, 2006, Abramoff
pleaded guilty to charges of mail fraud, income tax evasion, and conspiracy to violate
statutes concerning wire and mail fraud, bribery, and post-employment restrictions on
congressional staff members.38 The plea agreement included Abramoff’s admissions
35 Id. at 41.
36 Id. at 130-31.
37 Id. at 134.
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38 Abramoff D.D.C. Plea Agreement ¶ 3.?that, among other crimes, he conspired to defraud his
clients and his law firm and to offer
public officials things of value in exchange for official acts.39
Several Abramoff associates have also pleaded guilty to public corruption
charges. Tony Rudy, the former deputy chief of staff to House Majority Leader Tom
DeLay, worked for Abramoff at Greenberg from 2001 to 2002. On March 31, 2006,
Rudy pleaded guilty to multiple criminal acts, including conspiring to receive while a
public official and to provide while a lobbyist things of value to influence official
action.40 Neil Volz, the former chief of staff to Rep. Bob Ney, worked for Abramoff at
Greenberg from 2002 to 2004. On May 8, 2006, Volz pleaded guilty to conspiring to
receive while a public official and to provide while a lobbyist things of value to influence
official action, among other unlawful actions.41
On September 15, 2006, a plea agreement with Rep. Ney was announced by the
Department of Justice. According to the Department, Rep. Ney agreed to plead guilty to
a two-count criminal information charging him with conspiracy to commit multiple
offenses – including honest services fraud, making false statements, and violations of his
former chief of staff’s one-year lobbying ban – and with making false statements to the
U.S. House of Representatives.”42
D. The Committee’s Investigation
As these events unfolded, Government Reform Committee Chairman Tom Davis
and Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman decided that an examination of Jack
Abramoff’s lobbying of White House officials could provide further insight into the
schemes of the now convicted former lobbyist and his associates. Such insight could
assist the Congress in evaluating the effectiveness of lobbying and financial disclosure
laws in protecting the public against the corrupt influence of unscrupulous lobbyists.
On March 2, 2006, Chairman Davis and Ranking Member Waxman wrote a letter
to Greenberg requesting all billing records of Abramoff and individuals working with
him at the firm, as well as “all records relating to contacts between Abramoff, or
individuals working with Abramoff at Greenberg , and officials in the White House.”43
40 Criminal Information, U.S. v. Tony C. Rudy, No. CR-06-082 (D.D.C. Mar. 31, 2006).
41 Criminal Information, at ¶ 1, U.S. v. Neil G. Volz, No. 06-119 (D.D.C. May 8, 2006).
42 Press Release, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Congressman Robert W. Ney Agrees to Plead
Guilty to Charges Involving Corruption and False Statements (Sept. 15, 2006).
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43 Letter from Chairman Tom Davis and Ranking Minority Member Henry A. Waxman
to Kevin M. Downey, Williams and Connolly L.L.P. (Mar. 2, 2006). Williams and
Connolly represents Greenberg Traurig with respect to investigations of Abramoff.?They
also sent a letter to Preston Gates & Ellis L.L.P. (Preston Gates), where Abramoff
worked from 1994 to 2000, requesting similar information.44 The Committee did not
pursue the document request with Preston Gates after the firm responded that Abramoff
had virtually no contacts with White House officials during his tenure at the firm.
E. Document Production
Greenberg Traurig has fully cooperated with the Committee. After the firm
notified the Committee that many of the documents sought by the Committee implicated
the attorney-client privilege and could not be produced without a subpoena, the
Committee issued a subpoena to the firm on May 2, 2006. 45 In response to the document
request and subpoena, Greenberg produced in excess of 14,300 pages of documents. This
production included in excess of 6,600 pages of Greenberg billing records and more than
7,700 pages of e-mails relating to contacts with White House officials. The documents
produced largely relate to Greenberg engagements with several tribal and territorial
clients, namely the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (Choctaw), the Coushatta Tribe
of Louisiana (Coushatta), the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Michigan (Saginaw
Chippewa), the Pueblo of Sandia of New Mexico, the Commonwealth of Northern
Mariana Islands (CNMI), and Guam.46
As of the date of this report, document production is not complete. According to
Greenberg Traurig’s records, 13 of the 24 Abramoff clients with documents responsive to
the Committee subpoena have produced documents, while the other clients are in
discussions with Greenberg Traurig and the Committee regarding the Committee’s
F. Policy Objectives and Lobbying and Financial
The billing records and e-mails, whether they reflect events that happened or not,
raise serious questions regarding the effectiveness of our lobbying and financial
disclosure laws. The billing records and e-mails provide more information about
Abramoff’s lobbying efforts at the White House than is disclosed in the publicly
44 Letter from Chairman Tom Davis and Ranking Minority Member Henry A. Waxman
to Emanuel L. Rouvelas, Chairman, Preston Gates & Ellis L.L.P. (Mar. 2, 2006).
45 Subpoena to Custodian of Records, Greenberg Traurig, L.L.P., signed by Chairman
Tom Davis, House Committee on Government Reform (May 2, 2006).
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46 Although the Committee received documents relating to Abramoff lobbying activities
related to CNMI, the Committee has not received a full set of responsive documents from
CNMI.?available lobby disclosure forms. If the billing records are fraudulent – claiming
meetings, telephone calls, and meals or drinks with White House officials that did not
happen – existing disclosure laws did nothing to protect clients from this fraud or public
officials from false claims that they had such contacts that they did not have. If the
billing records and e-mails accurately reflect events that happened, the fact that they are
not publicly released and insufficiently detailed does not allow the public a full
understanding in each instance which official was lobbied, what benefits, such as meals
or entertainment, that official may have received, whether that official is permitted to
receive those benefits without charge, and whether that official paid for any benefit.
Likewise, the vagueness of the billing records and lobbying disclosure reports combined
with their lack of corroboration and their relative infrequency, prevents public officials
from disclaiming meetings on a real-time basis.
Lobbying and financial disclosure laws could work together to address these
issues. Disclosure by public officials of lobbying efforts could give clients of lobbyists a
way to verify the billings of their lobbyists. More detailed and real-time disclosure by
both lobbyists and government officials of meals, drinks, and other entertainment could
also act to ensure that the public is informed of those benefits received by public officials
that are permitted or those benefits that, although provided by lobbyists, are paid for by
recipient officials. Such disclosure could also ensure that government officials accept
only those benefits that are permitted and, again, prevent lobbyists from billing clients for
meals or entertainment that either were not provided or if provided, were paid for by
officials. Legislation cosponsored by Chairman Davis and Ranking Member Waxman,
H.R. 5112, the Executive Branch Reform Act of 2006, addresses some of these issues and
was reported out of the Committee 32-0 on April 27, 2006.
II. The Lobbyists
A. Jack Abramoff
For ten years, from 1994 to 2004, Jack A. Abramoff was a Washington, D.C.
lobbyist with a sizable practice. From 1994 through 2000, Abramoff was with Preston
Gates, and from January 2001 until his ouster in March 2004, with the Greenberg firm.47
Abramoff solicited and obtained lobbying business from groups and companies
throughout the United States, focusing especially on Native American tribal government
clients and the insular territories.48
47 Criminal Information at ¶ 1, U.S. v. Jack A. Abramoff, No. CR-06-001 (D.D.C. Jan. 3,
- 13 -
48 Id. at ¶ 2.?In 1999, Preston Gates was listed by The National Journal as the fifth largest
Washington lobbying firm with $11.7 million in revenues.49 More than 25 percent of
which, or $3.1 million, was collected from the Mississippi Choctaw, according to the
publication.50 The National Journal observed that, after Abramoff moved to Greenberg ,
“three of [Preston Gates’] top seven clients in 2000 belonged to Abramoff,” including the
Choctaw and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.51
The Senate Report describes Abramoff’s lobbying practice in 2000, when he
joined Greenberg , as being valued at $6 million annually.
When he left the premier Washington, D.C. offices of the lobbying
firm Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meed in December 2000 for a
relatively new Washington lobbying group at Greenberg Traurig,
Abramoff brought with him a book of business worth more than $6
million annually, according to Abramoff’s own estimates. This
helped Greenberg Traurig generate a 500 percent increase in
lobbying fees over the previous year. With that increase,
Greenberg Traurig reportedly vaulted into the top ten Washington
lobbying firms—jumping from sixteenth place to fourth.52
In 2001, after a year with Greenberg, Abramoff was able to make significant
inroads with the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana. The Coushatta was Greenberg’s second
largest lobbying client, paying the firm $2.2 million.53 In 2004, The National Journal
described Abramoff’s lobbying practice as
the engine that transformed a midsize lobbying practice at the law firm
Greenberg Traurig into one of K Street's top money machines. Since early
2001, when Abramoff joined Greenberg Traurig's Washington office --
bringing with him six colleagues and several high-paying clients -- the
firm's annual lobbying revenues have soared, exceeding $25 million in
2003 and landing the firm at No. 4 in revenues among all K Street firms.54
49 Shawn Zeller, Cassidy Keeps Its Crown, NAT’L J., Apr. 20, 2000, at 1288.
51 Shawn Zeller, For the Big 10, Income Keeps Rising, NAT’L J., Apr. 14, 2002, at 1112.
52 “GIMME FIVE” S. COMM. Report at 3.
53 Shawn Zeller, Top Lobbying Firms Got Richer in 2001, NAT’L J., Apr. 13, 2002, Vol.
34, No. 15.
- 14 -
54 Peter H. Stone, K Street Stumble, NAT’L J., Mar. 27, 2004, Vol. 36, No. 13.?In e-mails,
Abramoff had a tendency to describe his clients in a disparaging way
and use foul language. In November 2002, for example, he wrote to Todd Boulanger
about the Saginaw Chippewa tribe in Michigan, “I hate these f***ing ingrates. I told the
Cherokee to come up with the dough or prepare for another trail of tears!!! :)”55 In the
same e-mail exchange with Todd Boulanger, Abramoff expresses his contempt for a
potential client, Guam, and its newly elected Governor Felix Camacho.
I met with [Camacho’s] his staffer tonight (!!!). the f***ing
mother f***er didn’t even have the courtesy to call me or meet
with me himself. I told the little twerp that they are off to a rip
roaring start, with losers aplenty helping them. he basically told
me that they too have concluded that everyone is a bullsh***ter
here and that they want to hire us. I said ‘I am not sure you can
afford us and frankly, I am none too happy by this little parade.’
He kept pushing, obviously having been given orders to tie up
something. He is going to send me their wish list. I told him that
we don’t charge anything less than six figures per month and that I
just got done telling the biggest indian tribe in the Midwest to f**k
off since they wanted a slight discount. Let’s see what these pieces
of s**t say. I am f***ing pissed. What disrespect.56
B. Abramoff’s Associates
1. Kevin Ring
According to one e-mail, Kevin Ring served as a “quasi-team leader” for the
Abramoff lobbying practice.57 In 2002 and 2003, [Ring] was named a “Top Rainmaker”
by The Hill newspaper in its annual rankings of Washington’s premier lobbyists.” 58 In
1993, Ring began working for Rep. John T. Doolittle, and in 1998 Ring moved to the
Senate. At the Senate, Ring served as counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s
subcommittee on Constitution, Federalism and Property Rights, under the chairmanship
of Senator John Ashcroft.59 He returned to the House a year later to work as the
55 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Todd Boulanger (Nov. 19, 2002) (GTG-R001022)
56 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Todd Boulanger (Nov. 19, 2002) (GTG-R001022)
57 E-mail exchange between Jack Abramoff to Kevin Ring (May 6, 2003) (GTG-R001292)
(Ring speaks of responsibilities of being a team leader).
58 Kevin Ring-Barnes & Thornburg L.L.P. Biography,
http://www.btlaw.com/Person.asp?Personnel_ID=385 (last visited Sept. 18, 2006).
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59 Id.?“executive director of the Conservative Action Team … a caucus comprised of 70 House
Republicans.”60 Ring published a book in November 2004 entitled, Scalia Dissents:
Writings of the Supreme Court’s Wittiest, Most Outspoken Justice.61
Kevin Ring did not escape criticism in the Senate Report. Ring was reportedly
paid on the side by Abramoff and Scanlon for work on behalf of the Pueblo of Sandia
client.62 Fred Baggett, Managing Shareholder at Greenberg, told the Senate staff that the
firm’s internal investigation, “has found, and as we have informed Federal authorities and
I believe this committee, we found a number of other instances where members of Mr.
Abramoff’s team had received compensation outside of the firm.”63 According to the
Senate Report, “[o]ne of those Baggett named was Kevin Ring.”64 The Senate’s
investigation found, “Kevin Ring, who the [Pueblo of Sandia] trusted and respected, did
not disclose his financial arrangement . . . to the Tribe until 2004, months after the
publication of the Washington Post article that initially exposed the Abramoff” scandal.65
2. Todd Anthony Boulanger
Also a top aide to Abramoff, Todd Boulanger handled much of the day to day
lobbying for the Greenberg team. After a short career as a congressional staff member,
Boulanger joined the Preston Gates firm in 1999 to work as lobbyist with tribal and
territorial clients.66 Later he moved on to Greenberg with Abramoff in early 2001. 67
After the Abramoff scandal broke, Boulanger moved to Cassidy & Associates, where he
62 “GIMME FIVE” S. COMM. Report at 188-89.
63 Id. at 189.
66 Todd Anthony Boulanger-Cassidy & Associates Biography,
http://www.cassidy.com/about/biodetail.asp?Id=103&Office=dc (last visited Sept. 18,
2006) [Boulanger Biography].
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67 Jonathan E. Kaplan, The Lobbyist and the Lobsterman, THE HILL, Mar. 15, 2005, at
Business and Lobbying.?currently remains.68 Recently, he was called a “rising star on K
Street” by The Hill
newspaper and a “powerful lobbyist” by The National Journal.69
3. Neil Volz
In February 2002, Neil Volz joined Abramoff’s practice at Greenberg.70 Prior to
becoming a lobbyist, Volz had a career as a House staffer. Volz was named to Roll
Call’s “50 Most Powerful Capitol Hill Staffers” three times.71 From 1995 through
February 2002, Volz served as Communications Director and then (in 1998) Chief of
Staff for Rep. Bob Ney.72 In January 2001, Volz also became staff director of the House
Administration Committee, when Rep. Bob Ney became the chairman.73
In May 2006, Volz pleaded guilty to public corruption charges stemming from the
federal investigation examining the Abramoff lobbying scandal. Under the plea
. . . Volz admitted that beginning in approximately 2000 and
continuing throughout his time as the chief of staff in
Representative [Ney]'s office and as Committee staff director, Volz
corruptly accepted a stream of things of value from Abramoff and
others while he took official action on their behalf. Volz concealed
his receipt of this largesse, which was in excess of the limits
established by the House of Representatives, by failing to disclose
the gifts on his annual financial disclosure forms. Once Volz
became a lobbyist with Abramoff, Volz's role in the conspiracy
changed to providing a stream of things of value to other public
officials, including Representative [Ney]. 74
68 Boulanger Biography.
70 Press Release, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Former Lobbyist Neil Volz Pleads Guilty to
Corruption and Fraud Conspiracy (May 8, 2006) [hereinafter Volz Press Release].
71 Neil G. Volz- Barnes & Thornburg L.L.P. Biography, http://www.btlaw.com (Volz’s
biography has now been removed from this website).
72 Criminal Information, Attachment A at ¶ 1, U.S. v. Robert W. Ney, No. CR-06-622
(D.D.C. Jan. 3, 2006).
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74 Volz Press Release.?Volz also admitted that, when he became a lobbyist, he, Abramoff,
Scanlon, Rudy and others continued to engage in an honest
services fraud scheme by providing a stream of things of value to
other public officials with the intent to influence and reward
official action. The plea agreement and information set forth
examples of such conduct, namely the provision by Volz and his
co-conspirators of a stream of things of value to Representative
[Ney] and members of his staff in order to influence them to take
official action. According to Volz's plea, the stream of benefits
included foreign and domestic travel, numerous tickets to concerts
and sporting events, regular meals and drinks at expensive
restaurants, and unreported use of Abramoff's box suites at the
MCI Center Arena and Camden Yards Stadium for political fund
For example, Volz admitted that the co-conspirators provided
Representative [Ney] and members of his staff with all-expenses-paid
and reduced-price trips to Scotland and London in August
2002; to the Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, Arizona, in January 2003; to
New Orleans, Louisiana, in May 2003; and to Lake George, New
York, in 2004. In exchange for this stream of things of value, Volz
and his co-conspirators sought and received Representative [Ney]'s
agreement to perform a series of official acts, including
Representative [Ney’s] agreement to support and pass legislation,
to support or oppose actions taken by other agencies and
departments of government, and to assist Abramoff in securing
additional clients. The plea papers allege that in March 2002,
[Ney] agreed that, as the Co-Chairman of a Conference Committee
of House and Senate Members of Congress, he would introduce
and seek passage of legislation to lift a federal ban against gaming
by a client of Abramoff, a Native American Tribe in Texas.75
Volz faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.76
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76 WASH. POST, “Unraveling Abramoff: Key Players in the Investigation of Lobbyist
Jack Abramoff” available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/
content/custom/2005/12/23/CU2005122300939.html (last visited Sept. 16, 2006)
[hereinafter WASH. POST Key Players].?4. Tony Rudy
From 1995 through December 2000, Tony Rudy worked in the leadership office
of Rep. Tom DeLay.77 He served in the office as press secretary until 1998 and then as
deputy chief of staff until his departure.78 According to Washington Post reports, Rudy
played a major part in stopping an anti-gambling bill in July 2000 – the opposition to
which was spearheaded by Abramoff: “Rudy e-mailed Abramoff internal congressional
communications and advice, according to documents and the lobbyist's former
associates.”79 In December 2000, Rudy left the leadership office and in early 2001
joined Abramoff’s lobbying practice at Greenberg , where he worked until late July
In March 2006, Rudy pleaded guilty in federal court to corruption charges
stemming from the federal investigation of Abramoff.81 In his plea agreement, Rudy
“admitted that, as a lobbyist working for Abramoff, he violated the conflict of interest
post-employment restrictions by lobbying staff members in the leadership office of [Rep.
Tom DeLay] within one year of having left his position as Deputy Chief of Staff to that
5. Shawn Vasell
Shawn Vasell worked at both Preston Gates and Greenberg with Abramoff where
according to his resume, he “directe[d] and manage[d] public policy agendas for firm
clients.”83 During 2002, Vasell was on the staff of Senator Conrad Burns, as Burns’s
state director, in Billings, Montana.84 He returned to Greenberg in January 2003.
According to Vasell’s resume which was produced to the Committee, other than his stint
77 Criminal Information, U.S. v. Tony C. Rudy, No. CR-06-082 (D.D.C. 2006).
79 WASH. POST Key Players.
80 Press Release, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Former Lobbyist Tony Rudy Pleads Guilty to
Corruption and Fraud Conspiracy (Mar. 31, 2006) [hereinafter Tony Rudy Press
81 WASH. POST Key Players.
82 Tony Rudy Press Release.
83 Shawn Michael Vasell, Resume (GTG-R004009).
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84 Id.?with Senator Burns in 2002, he was employed mostly as a lobbyist except for one year as
a staff assistant to Senator Spencer Abraham from August 1995 to July 1996. 85
6. Duane Gibson
Duane Gibson, before joining Greenberg, spent fifteen years as a staff member in
both the House and Senate, working on the staffs of Rep. Don Young and Sen. Ted
Stevens of Alaska, and several House Committees including the Committee on
Transportation & Infrastructure and the Committee on Appropriations.86 Gibson,
currently of the Livingston Group, markets himself as someone with experience in issues
ranging from “natural resources, defense/national security, transportation, Native
Americans, tax, appropriations and education.”87
7. Padgett Wilson
Padgett Wilson joined Greenberg after working as a House and Senate staff
member for two members of the Georgia delegation, Rep. Nathan Deal and Sen. Paul
Coverdell.88 Wilson is currently the Federal Affairs Director in Washington, D.C. for
Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue.89
8. Michael E. Williams
Michael E. Williams joined Greenberg in 2001 after eleven years as a lobbyist
with the National Rifle Association.90 He remains at Greenberg today.
86 Judy Sarasohn, Berger's Firm to Aid Oil Interests in Iraq, WASH. POST, Sept. 16,
2004, at A29; Duane R. Gibson-Livingston Group Biography,
http://www.livingstongroupdc.com/corporateoverview/team.html (last visited Sept. 16,
87 Duane R. Gibson-Livingston Group Biography,
http://www.livingstongroupdc.com/corporateoverview/team.html (last visited Sept. 16,
88 Press Release, Office of the Governor, Ga. State Capitol, Governor Perdue Announces
Director of Federal Affairs (Feb. 1, 2005).
- 20 -
90 Michael E. Williams-Greenberg Traurig L.L.P. Biography,
http://www.gtlaw.com/people/biography.aspx?id=1588&detail=1 (last visited Sept. 17,
2006).?9. Stephanie K. Leger Short
Stephanie K. Leger Short joined Greenberg in October 2001 91 after more than six
years as legislative aide to Senator John Breaux.92 Presently, Leger Short serves as
Louisiana’s Washington lobbyist for Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco in the state’s
10. Abramoff’s Executive Assistants
Susan Ralston was Abramoff’s executive assistant at Preston Gates and
Greenberg until she left to become Karl Rove’s assistant in the White House in February
2001. Abramoff required his assistants, like Ralston, to perform mostly administrative
and secretarial duties. His assistants, for example, were required to keep a running
“wrap-up sheet” or “Daily Work Activities” list identifying every task performed during
the day.94 On January 21, 1999, Ralston’s Daily Work Activities reflected she performed
28 tasks.95 Among these were,
2. Called Linda at Ralph Reed’s office re 4:30 conf call today.
Confirmed that the e-mail address you had was correct instead of
what she gave me before.
* * *
7. Faxed order forms to Nextel for your new phone
* * *
9. Called David Scavone to set up meeting today
* * *
91 Press Release, Greenberg Traurig L.L.P., Greenberg Traurig L.L.P. Adds Associate in
Washington, D.C., Governmental and Administrative Law Practice (Oct. 15, 2001).
92 Press Release, Governor Announces Director of State/Federal Relations available at
UNCES_DIRECTOR.htm (last visited Sept. 17, 2006).
94 See, e.g., E-mail from Susan Ralston to Jack Abramoff (Jan. 21, 1999) (28 tasks on e-mail
titled “1/21 Daily Work Activities”) (GTG-R006622); E-mail from Rodney Lane to
Jack Abramoff (Mar. 7, 2001) (48 tasks on “Wrap-up” e-mail) (GTG-R000682-000683);
Holly Bowers, Wrap-Up Sheet, June 20, 2003 (34 tasks) (GTG-R005072); Linsey
Crisler, Wrap-Up Sheet, June 4, 2003 (29 tasks) (GTG-R005113); Holly Bowers, Wrap-Up
Sheet, July 8, 2003 (40 tasks) (GTG-R005073).
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95 E-mail from Susan Ralston to Jack Abramoff (Jan. 21, 1999) (“1/21 Daily Work
Activities”) (GTG-R006622).?15. Faxed Bush for President press release to your dad
* * *
27. Updated Ed Buckham’s office address 96
After Ralston left Greenberg , Abramoff used several individuals as assistants,
including Rodney Lane, Holly Bowers, and Allison Bozniak. Abramoff gave these
assistants similar daily tasks. Daily task lists for Abramoff produced to the Committee
include the following entries: “Called L’Etoile to make reservations at noon,”97
“Changed golf on the 1 st to Lowes Island with Williams, et al,”98 “Order set of Seinfeld
DVDs online,”99 “Put through call from Ralph Reed,”100 “Took message from your
father and sent you e-mail,”101 “Checked your voice-mail – no messages,”102 and “Called
Sigs to let them know your meal scheduled for today.”103
C. Americans for Tax Reform and Grover Norquist
Grover Norquist is the president of the anti-tax group, Americans for Tax Reform
(ATR). An acquaintance of Abramoff for many years, the two men shared a long-time
interest in conservative political causes. Both men knew each other in college and were
involved with the College Republicans at the national level.104 Norquist’s ATR had
successfully emerged as one of the leading Washington-based interest groups.105 In
describing Norquist and his group, The National Journal wrote:
96 E-mail from Susan Ralston to Jack Abramoff (Jan. 21, 1999) (“1/21 Daily Work
97 E-mail from Rodney Lane to Jack Abramoff (Mar. 7, 2001) (GTG-R000682-000683).
98 Holly Bowers, Wrap-Up Sheet, June 20, 2003 (34 tasks) (GTG-R005072).
99 Linsey Crisler, Wrap-Up Sheet, June 4, 2003 (29 tasks) (GTG-R005113).
102 Holly Bowers, Wrap-Up Sheet, July 8, 2003 (40 tasks) (GTG-R005073).
104 WASH. POST Key Players.
- 22 -
105 Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, Lobbyists Foresee Business as Usual, WASH. POST, Mar. 19,
2006, at A1.?About once a month since 2001, Grover Norquist has invited a top
Bush administration official or a Republican congressional leader
to dine with him and some 20 or 30 corporate lobbyists who help
subsidize Americans for Tax Reform, the anti-tax group that
The dinners at Norquist's Washington, D.C., home aren't cheap:
The lobbyists pay ATR between $10,000 and $25,000 a year for
the privilege of attending several of the intimate get-togethers,
which have featured the likes of White House political guru Karl
Rove and Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, according to several
lobbyists who have attended.
Before things went sour for Abramoff, however, the lobbyist had
steered nearly $1.8 million in donations to Norquist's ATR from
Indian tribes and other clients, according to former colleagues of
both men and to sources familiar with their financial dealings.
"Grover gave Abramoff priceless credentials as a conservative
lobbyist loyal to conservative Republican causes," said Michael
Waller, a vice president of the right-leaning Center for Security
Policy, who for several years was an occasional participant at
Norquist's Wednesday meetings. In some cases, according to
Waller, "ATR was acting as a front organization for some of
Abramoff's clients and operations."106
From time to time, Abramoff had the opportunity to introduce a client to
important officials such as Karl Rove by providing an invitation to a Grover Norquist-arranged
D. Ralph Reed
Ralph Reed is president of Century Strategies, a “public relations and public
affairs firm” which he founded in 1997. 107 Reed and Abramoff have known each other
since the early 1980s, when Reed was executive director and Abramoff was national
chairman of the College Republicans, and Reed introduced Abramoff to the woman
Abramoff married.108 Reed also served as executive director of the Christian Coalition
106 Peter Stone, Grover and Jack's Long Adventure, NAT’L JOURNAL, Oct. 1, 2005, Vol.
37, No. 40.
107 Century Strategies, http://www.censtrat.com/index.cfm?FuseAction=Team.Home (last
visited Sept. 27, 2006).
- 23 -
108 Adam Zagorin, Karen Tumulty, and Massimo Calabresi, An Unholy Alliance?, TIME
Oct. 31, 2005.?from 1989 to 1997 and as chairman of the Georgia Republican Party in 2002. 109 After
leaving the Christian Coalition, Reed reached out to Abramoff about business
opportunities: “Hey, now that I’m done with electoral politics, I need to start humping in
corporate accounts! I’m counting on you to help me with some contacts.”110 He waged
an unsuccessful campaign to be the Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor of
Georgia in 2006. 111
III. Description of the Documents Reviewed
A. The Billing Records
In response to the Committee’s subpoena, nearly 6,600 pages of billing
documents were produced, covering 13 clients from the beginning of 2001 to spring
2004. 112 Most of the records are copies of monthly bills sent to each client by Greenberg .
While there are some variations, bills typically include several pages of brief descriptions
of the lobbying work performed by the Abramoff team and the amount of time (in tenth-hour
increments) each member spent on each assignment. An attachment notes any
related expenses incurred by individual lobbyists. Other pages provide a summary and
specify the balance due. There is also miscellaneous accounting paperwork (including
canceled checks) and payment instructions, usually involving details for wiring funds
directly into the firm’s bank account.113 A handful of bills note past-due balances.114
109 Century Strategies, http://www.censtrat.com/index.cfm?FuseAction=Team.Home (last
visited Sept. 27, 2006); Thomas B. Edsall, In Ga., Abramoff Scandal Threatens a
Political Ascendency, WASH. POST, Jan. 16, 2006, at A1.
110 “GIMME FIVE” S. COMM. Report at 23.
111 Chris Cillizza, Republican Candidate Linked to Abramoff Loses in Ga. Primary,
WASH. POST, July 19, 2006, at A3.
112 The clients were the American International Center, SunCruz Casino, Atlantic Coast
Technologies, Inc., DH2, Howard Hills bills, Unisys, International Interactive Alliance,
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana, Sandia Pueblo,
Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, and the Saginaw
Chippewa Indian Tribe of Louisiana.
113 Miscellaneous accounting paper work: Saginaw Chippewa Billing Records
(GTG000322-000359-ACCT-SG); Wiring Instructions: Saginaw Chippewa Billing
Records (Nov. 10, 2003) (GTG000393-ACCT-SG).
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114 Saginaw Chippewa Billing Records (Bill Date: Mar. 12, 2003) (GTG000505-ACCT-SG);
Saginaw Chippewa Billing Records (Bill Date: Dec. 11, 2002) (GTG000590-
ACCT-SG).?The records also include draft versions of some bills, which allows comparisons
to be made between proposed charges and those which were actually levied. A few drafts
have handwritten notations about changes incorporated into the final versions.115 Copies
of a few engagement letters, outlining the services which Abramoff and associates were
to undertake on behalf of each client, are also in the files.116 In most instances, records
address lobbying activities (or “Washington representation” in the lexicon of K Street)
conducted by the team. However, legal work was also apparently performed, and there
are some separate bills for these activities among the records.117
For their large clients, the Abramoff group typically charged a $150,000 monthly
retainer for lobbying.118 Expenses added as much as $10,000 to the fee.119 According to
the records, about twenty individuals worked approximately four hundred total hours on
an account in each billing cycle.120 Some devoted as many as 80 hours to the client, and
others worked as little as 1.5 hours.121 Significantly, however, it is nearly impossible to
corroborate many of these details.122
115 Saginaw Chippewa Billing Records (Bill Date: Nov. 4, 2003) (GTG000060-ACCT-SG);
Saginaw Chippewa Billing Records (Bill Date: Aug. 4, 2003) (GTG000170-ACCT-SG);
Saginaw Chippewa Billing Records (Bill Date: Jul. 15, 2003) (GTG000207-ACCT-SG);
Saginaw Chippewa Billing Records (Bill Date: June. 3, 2003) (GTG000237-ACCT-SG);
Choctaw Billing Records (Bill Date: Dec. 2, 2003) (GTG002735-002754-ACCT-CW);
Choctaw Billing Records (Bill Date: Oct. 7, 2003) (GTG002808-002828-ACCT-CW).
116 Letter from Jack Abramoff to Chief Kahgegab, Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribal
Council (Dec. 6, 2001) (GTG000317-000319-ACCT-SG); Letter from Jack Abramoff to
Chief Phillip Martin, Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (Jan. 5, 2001) (GTG003178-
117 Coushatta Billing Records: Blue Lake Transaction (Nov. 26, 2002) (GTG002078-
ACCT-CS); Coushatta Billing Records: Legal Services (Dec. 18, 2002) (GTG002049-
118 Three clients had an average of $165,768.40 per month. The Committee examined the
Saginaw Chippewa engagement over 15 months; the Coushatta engagement over 17
months; and the Agua Caliente engagement over 14 months.
Client: Saginaw Chippewa
Date Amount Identifier
Sept. 22, 2003 $187,949.99 GTG000325-ACCT-SG
Oct. 8, 2003 $186, 317.39 GTG000327-ACCT-SG
Aug. 14, 2003 $189,768.97 GTG000329-ACCT-SG
June. 13, 2003 $191,089.18 GTG000331-ACCT-SG
May 15, 2003 $190,004.69 GTG000333-ACCT-SG
Apr. 14, 2003 $190,096.00 GTG000335-ACCT-SG
Feb. 14, 2003 $190,000.00 GTG000337-ACCT-SG
Mar. 12, 2003 $191,971.08
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GTG000339-ACCT-SG?Jan. 21, 2003 $161,630.82 GTG000341-ACCT-SG
Dec. 11, 2002 $326,389.24 GTG000343-ACCT-SG
Oct. 10, 2002 $164,138.21 GTG000345-ACCT-SG
Sept. 16, 2002 $163,480.19 GTG000345-ACCT-SG
Aug. 8, 2002 $157,332.13 GTG000347-ACCT-SG
July 10, 2002 $319,238.20 GTG000349-ACCT-SG
May 21, 2002 $158,668.41 GTG000351-ACCT-SG
Date Amount Identifier
Apr. 15, 2003 $120,340.30 GTG001293-ACCT-CS
Feb. 13, 2003 $261,140.81 GTG001405-ACCT-CS
Apr. 17, 2002 $127,906.03 GTG001509-ACCT-CS
Feb. 11, 2004 $125,000.00 GTG001688-ACCT-CS
Nov. 6, 2003 $250,000.00 GTG001748-ACCT-CS
June 4, 2003 $125,000.00 GTG001875-ACCT-CS
Apr. 16, 2003 $125,000.00 GTG001925-ACCT-CS
Feb. 24, 2003 $125,000.00 GTG001997-ACCT-CS
Jan. 23, 2003 $125,000.00 GTG002121-ACCT-CS
Dec. 16, 2002 $125,000.00 GTG002055-ACCT-CS
Nov. 18, 2002 $125,000.00 GTG002082-ACCT-CS
Oct. 28, 2002 $125,000.00 GTG002106-ACCT-CS
Sept. 11, 2002 $125,000.00 GTG002161-ACCT-CS
Aug. 12, 2002 $125,000.00 GTG002189-ACCT-CS
July 22, 2002 $125,000.00 GTG002215-ACCT-CS
June 12, 2002 $125,000.00 GTG002223-ACCT-CS
Apr. 17, 2002 $125,000.00 GTG002277-ACCT-CS
Client: Agua Caliente
Date Amount Identifier
Sept. 17, 2002 $157,654.07 GTG004298-ACCT-AC
Oct. 8, 2002 $160,988.28 GTG004349-ACCT-AC
Jan. 21, 2003 $160,948.51 GTG004407-ACCT-AC
Feb. 4, 2003 $156,877.43 GTG004340-ACCT-AC
Apr. 29, 2003 $167,459.71 GTG004487-ACCT-AC
Apr. 29, 2003 $152,459.71 GTG004498-ACCT-AC
May 13, 2003 $165,717.13 GTG004527-ACCT-AC
June 3, 2003 $149,813.42 GTG-004559-ACCT-AC
July 2, 2003 $161,670.77 GTG004595-ACCT-AC
July 16, 2003 $161,670.77 GTG004606-ACCT-AC
Sept. 4, 2003 $156,967.83 GTG004516-ACCT-AC
Sept. 25, 2003 $168,564.73 GTG004649-ACCT-AC
Oct. 3, 2003 $158,767.16 GTG004763-ACCT-AC
Dec. 12, 2003 $148,897.58 GTG004704-ACCT-AC
- 26 -?119 Three clients had average expenses of $4,438.71. The Committee examined expenses
over a 15 month period for the Choctaw, for a 5 month period for SunCruz Casino L.L.C.
and for a ten month period for Atlantic Coast Technologies, Inc. The average, however,
does not fully convey the range of expenses in the universe of all bills provided. Some
bills had relatively high expense amounts, while others did not. In general, expenses
correlate to the fees levied for professional services in any given month.
Client: Choctaw Expenses
Date Amount Identifier
Feb. 3, 2004 $3309.47 GTG002698-ACCT-CW
Jan. 6, 2004 $15,418.50 GTG002729-ACCT-CW
Dec. 2, 2003 $7,117.88 GTG002763-ACCT-CW
Nov. 4, 2003 $8,115.02 GTG002801-ACCT-CW
Oct. 7, 2003 $10,471.50 GTG002840-ACCT-CW
Sept. 4, 2003 $3,482.34 GTG002869-ACCT-CW
Aug. 4, 2003 $3,847.89 GTG002906-ACCT-CW
July 3, 2003 $4,993.88 GTG002944-ACCT-CW
June 16, 2003 $10,379.08 GTG002982-ACCT-CW
May 5, 2003 $19,983.32 GTG003073-ACCT-CW
Feb. 11, 2003 $10,520.90 GTG003076-ACCT-CW
Feb. 24, 2004 $12,983.11 GTG003250-ACCT-CW
Jan. 20, 2004 $16,844.65 GTG003275-ACCT-CW
Dec. 9, 2003 $12,928.06 GTG003295-ACCT-CW
Nov. 11, 2003 $13,252.03 GTG003319-ACCT-CW
Client: SunCruz Casino L.L.C.
Date Amount Identifier
Mar. 22, 2001 $850.25 GTG025458-ACCT-SC
Apr. 24, 2001 $845.44 GTG025464-ACCT-SC
Apr. 26, 2001 $1,789.20 GTG025473-ACCT-SC
May 2, 2001 $1,061.71 GTG025482-ACCT-SC
Dec. 5, 2001 $200.52 GTG025509-ACCT-SC
Client: Atlantic Coast
Technologies, Inc. Expenses
Date Amount Identifier
Feb. 7, 2002 $102.55 GTG025521-ACCT-ACT
July 15, 2002 $1,767.50 GTG025529-ACCT-ACT
Sept. 25, 2002 $3,066.33 GTG025533-ACCT-ACT
June 11, 2003 $156.35 GTG025578-ACCT-ACT
July 15, 2003 $1,163.57 GTG025583-ACCT-ACT
Aug. 14, 2003 $3,650.57 GTG025588-ACCT-ACT
Sept. 12, 2003 $5,000 GTG025593-ACCT-ACT
Oct. 8, 2003 $2,788.55 GTG025598-ACCT-ACT
Nov. 13, 2003 $2,683.25 GTG025599-ACCT-ACT
Dec. 2, 2003 $3,157.85 GTG025604-ACCT-ACT
120 Saginaw Chippewa Billing Records (July 3, 2003) (GTG000200-ACCT-SG).
- 27 -?In general, the billing records are characterized by relative brevity and vagueness,
and a timekeeping methodology which aggregates many activities into a single listing,
making it difficult to use these records to discern the specific events they describe.
The bills note various tasks performed by each lobbyist in the course of a work
day and the total amount of time spent on these activities. But, in many cases, it is not
possible to determine what portion of this total was spent on each discrete task. An April
2003 Greenberg document illustrates this difficulty. The firm billed the Saginaw
Chippewa $725.90 for 2.1 hours of work performed by Shawn Vasell. Using the present
tense to describe Vasell’s activities, the document says:
Meet with Breaux staff regarding tax bill, regional gaming issues
and IGRA; meet with Tauzin staff regarding the same; meet with
Rep. John staff regarding the same; discussion with White House
staff regarding supplemental; discussion with Senate
Appropriations staff regarding the same; review materials.123
This item covers six separate activities in five organizations across two branches of
government. There is no indication if each action took approximately equal time (.35
hours) or if one or more accounted for a greater percentage.
The repeated use of the word “staff” also complicates the interpretation of the
records. Because in common English usage it can be both singular and plural, in many
cases it is not even possible to determine if an engagement involved one individual or a
group. The meaning of “staff” is especially important in assessing expenditures. A $200
meal for a single person might be noteworthy; the same amount spent for a group is not.
Also, in some cases the billing records use the word “office” without specifying
whom in the office the meeting was with. For example, April 2002 documents note that
121 Saginaw Chippewa Billing Records (July 3, 2003) (GTG000200-ACCT-SG).
122 For example, in May and June 2003 Saginaw bills include identical charges based on
precisely the same description of the same four activities putatively undertaken by Shawn
Vasell. [“Meeting with K. Gumerson (Senate GOP Policy Committee) regarding Sag.
Chip.; meeting with Senate Leadership and WH Leg. Aff. Staff regarding tax bill;
discussion with GR Chamber regarding Gun Lake; review materials.”] See Saginaw
Chippewa Billing Records (June 16, 2003) (GTG000213-ACCT-SG); Saginaw Chippewa
Billing Records (May 15, 2003) (GTG000433-ACCT-SG). This begs the question: did
Vasell repeat the same meetings in the exact order with the same individuals thirty days
123 Saginaw Chippewa Billing Records (Mar. 29, 2003) (GTG000498-ACCT-SG).
- 28 -?Tony Rudy had a “[m]eeting with Karl Rove’s office [emphasis added] at the White
House” but do not identify whom Rudy met.124
In at least one case, there is a discrepancy between the “prebill memo” and the
final bill. In this instance, a Greenberg “prebill memo” indicated that Vasell had a
“breakfast meeting with Bush-Cheney 2004 staff” while the final billing record was
amended to read with a “White House official.”125
In numerous instances, the brevity and vagueness of the entries raise questions
about the nature of the contact with White House officials described in the billing
records. For example, bills sent to the Coushatta and Saginaw Chippewa in November
2002 reflected the following activities (accounting for 1.9 hours) for Linsey Crisler in the
Attend ATR meeting to discuss issues relevant to client
representation; participate in conference call with K. Rove (White
House) and K. Mellman (White House) concerning political
landscape; review daily clips and publications for Indian Affairs
developments and distribute same to GT Saginaw team.126
This description is insufficient to identify who participated in the conference call with
White House officials. There is a significant difference between participating in a large
conference call that is a component of the meeting of political activists convened by the
Americans for Tax Reform and participating in a private conference call. The records do
not make clear which type of call it was or the nature of Crisler’s role in the call.
Another example involving the same two clients occurs the following month,
when the clients were charged for Neil Volz’s discussion of “tribal priorities” with “WH
and Congressional contacts” at an “ARMPAC event.”127 It is impossible to discern from
the description in the billing records whether Volz was billing the clients for little more
than a social encounter or whether Volz used the opportunity to engage in a prolonged
124 Coushatta Billing Records (Apr. 17, 2002) (GTG002261-ACCT-CS).
125 Choctaw Billing Records (Aug. 4, 2003) (GTG002849-ACCT-CW). Another
Choctaw pre-bill memo originally noted that Gregory J. McDonald spent one hour on a
“review of tribal funding opportunities.” This phrase was scratched out and replaced
with the handwritten statement: “meet with House Dem staff regarding client issues.”
See Choctaw Billing Records (Oct. 22, 2003) (GTG002783-ACCT-CW).
126 Coushatta Billing Records (Oct. 30, 2002) (GTG002095-ACCT-CS); Saginaw
Chippewa Billing Records (Oct. 30, 2002) (GTG000658-ACCT-SG).
127 Saginaw Chippewa Billing Records (Nov. 5, 2002) (GTG000595-ACCT-SG);
Coushatta Billing Records (Nov. 5, 2002) (GTG002058-ACCT-CS).
- 29 -?substantive conversation. Other Abramoff team members also billed clients for
conversations with White House aides at various unspecified “events.”128
This report is focused on the instances of lobbying by Abramoff and associates to
White House officials. According to the billing records, these contacts represent only a
fraction of the lobbying contacts for Abramoff billed his clients. An analysis of six
months of billing records for the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe illustrates this point.
Between May and October 2002, the Abramoff group billed nearly $1 million for more
than 3,000 hours working on behalf of the Saginaw Chippewa. Of these 3,000 hours,
only about 30 hours involved some sort of contact with White House officials.129 Of the
158 entries on the May bill, for example, seven (for 14.7 hours) related to the White
House. The lobbyists claimed to have spent the vast majority of their time, however,
meeting with senators, representatives, and their staff and the party organizations of both
B. The E-mails
In response to the Committee’s subpoena, over 7,000 pages of e-mails were
produced. In the case of the billing records, the Committee requested all Abramoff
billing records, including records for billings that did not involve White House contacts.
In the case of the e-mails, however, the Committee requested only e-mails relating to
“contacts between Mr. Abramoff, or individuals working with Mr. Abramoff, … and
officials in the White House.”131 To facilitate searches of Greenberg database of
Abramoff e-mails, the Committee staff provided Greenberg with specific terms to search
for, which included the names of multiple White House officials.
Most of the e-mails received by the Committee are internal e-mails sent by
Abramoff or an Abramoff associate to someone else on the Abramoff team at Greenberg .
The e-mails include, however, over two hundred e-mail exchanges between Abramoff
and his associates and White House officials. Some of the e-mail exchanges address
policy or political issues. Others are nonsubstantive e-mails related to social events or
128 Saginaw Chippewa Billing Records (Jan. 29, 2003) (GTG000559-ACCT-SG);
Saginaw Chippewa Billing Records (Nov. 25, 2003) (GTG000049-ACCT-SG);
Coushatta Billing Records (Nov. 25, 2003) (GTG001670-ACCT-CS).
129 Because it is impossible to disaggregate entries with multiple activities aggregated
into one description for a finite amount of time, this analysis attributed the full time noted
in such cases to White House contact. It must be understood, however, that this likely
exaggerates time spent communicating with the White House officials.
130 Committee Document: Six Month Billing Records Summary Chart, Saginaw
Chippewa Tribe (May-Oct. 2002).
131 Letter from Chairman Tom Davis and Ranking Minority Member Henry A. Waxman
to Kevin M. Downey, Williams and Connolly L.L.P. (Mar. 2, 2006).
- 30 -?planning for meetings. The nonsubstantive e-mails are not counted in this report as
White House contacts.
Many of the e-mail exchanges between Abramoff and his associates and White
House officials were sent to nongovernmental e-mail accounts. According to the e-mails,
the Abramoff team and White House officials used these nongovernmental accounts,
including accounts maintained by the Republican National Committee and
Georgewbush.com, to discuss official business, including appointments and agency
IV. The Lobbying
According to the billing records and e-mails, Abramoff and his Greenberg
associates had 485 lobbying contacts with White House officials between January 2001
and March 2004. Of these instances of lobbying, 405 are described in the billing records
and were billed to Abramoff clients. An additional 80 are described in the e-mail records
produced by the firm.
Of the 485 instances of lobbying, 345 (71 percent) are described in the documents
as meetings or other in-person interactions; 71 (15 percent) are described as phone
conversations, and 69 (14 percent) are e-mail exchanges. In counting e-mail exchanges
as instances of lobbying, a series of back-and-forth e-mail exchanges addressing a single
subject is counted as a single contact.133
More than half of the in-person interactions described in the documents (186)
involved meals or drinks with White House officials. These meals and drinks with White
House officials are discussed in more detail in part VI.
132 See, e.g., E-mail from Susan Ralston to Jack Abramoff (Aug. 23, 2001) (GTG-R001233)
(noting Clark Dean Horvath as a potential nominee for OIA); E-mail from Jack
Abramoff to Susan Ralston (Feb. 6, 2003) (GTG-R002246) (regarding a gaming compact
under consideration by the Department of Interior); E-mail from Barry Jackson to Neil
Volz (March 12, 2003) (GTG-R004877) (asking about a recommendation for the medal
133 In counting instances of lobbying over e-mail with White House officials, a number of
contacts identified in the Greenberg documents were excluded. Excluded were (1) e-mails
that appear to involve purely social events such as happy hours or birthday parties,
(2) phone calls described in the e-mails as being placed to White House officials that may
not have been returned, (3) e-mails to White House officials that did not appear to garner
a response, and (4) e-mails on subjects unrelated to client issues, such as White House
tours for family and friends. The e-mails contain over 200 contacts that were excluded
for these reasons.
- 31 -?Abramoff is identified in the documents as having 66 contacts with White House
officials. Abramoff’s contacts include 17 meetings or other in-person interactions with
White House officials, 7 phone conversations, and 42 e-mail exchanges. More than half
of Abramoff’s White House contacts were with his former assistant, Susan Ralston.
Shawn Vasell, one of the Greenberg lobbyists associated with Abramoff, has the
largest number of appearances in the billing records and e-mails. The billing records and
e-mails identify 213 lobbying contacts between Vasell and White House officials,
including 108 involving meals or drinks with White House officials.
Other Greenberg lobbyists with multiple instances of lobbying White House
officials include Kevin Ring (86 instances), Padgett Wilson (36 instances), Neil Volz (24
instances), Todd Boulanger (31 instances), Brigham Pierce (16 instances), Tony Rudy
(12 instances), and Michael Williams (6 instances).
In many cases, the descriptions of the instances of lobbying the White House are
too vague to identify the subject matter of the lobbying. Of the 485 instances of lobbying
described in the billing records and e-mails, 252 (52 percent) have no meaningful
description to discern the subject matter of the lobbying.
A. Office of the Senior Advisor
1. Karl Rove
The documents describe ten contacts between Abramoff and Rove, seven of
which were instances of lobbying. According to the documents, nine of the contacts
occurred after the inauguration of President Bush, and one occurred before the
inauguration. These ten instances are described below.
The documents also contain e-mails that Abramoff sent to Rove or that describe
calls he said he placed to Rove, but for which there is no evidence that Rove responded
by e-mail or spoke with Abramoff by phone. These communications are not counted as
separate lobbying contacts, but are included in the chronology where relevant.
- 32 -
Rove’s position in the White House after the inauguration of President Bush was
Assistant to the President, Deputy Chief of Staff, and Senior Advisor. Rove’s prolific
web of outside contacts and advisors has been reported in The Washington Post: “Rove
has developed a web of contacts in Washington and across the country to give him the
latest intelligence on politics and policy . . . . With access to Rove’s ear and e-mail,
these advisors help fashion everything from abortion to tax policy, shape the content
of?legislative initiatives, propose appointees to key boards and commissions and suggest
political strategies and tactics.”134
On October 31, 2000, shortly before the 2000 election, Abramoff forwarded Rove
an e-mail noting that the Redskins lost their last home game, which has historically
predicted a change in party control of the White House. Rove responded: “Jack – I will
rest much easier between this and the Halloweek mask test.”135
In December 2000, one month before President Bush took office, Abramoff e-mailed
Rove offering to be help where necessary:
I know you are inundated with all sorts of craziness, but I just
wanted let you know that, although I do not want to enter
government, I am at your disposal for anything you need here in
DC. I have a lot of resources at my disposal and am happy to place
them at your service if need be. I am sure you are well covered
with everything, but just in case, please do not hesitate to ask me
for anything you might need. I hope we’ll have a chance to see
each other when you (finally!) arrive. Regards.136
No e-mails after October 31, 2000, from Rove to Abramoff have been identified
in the documents.
b) March 6, 2001
On March 6, 2001, Abramoff wrote in an e-mail to Dennis Stephens that he had a
“great meeting” with Karl Rove to discuss an appointment to the Department of Interior
134 Thomas B. Edsall and Dana Milbank, White House’s Roving Eye for Politics;
President’s Most Powerful Advisor May Also Be the Most Connected, WASH. POST, Mar.
10, 2003, at A1.
135 E-mail from Karl Rove to Jack Abramoff (Oct. 31, 2000) (GTG-R000583). The
earliest record of an attempted contact in documents occurs in February 1999, when e-mails
reflect that Abramoff and Rove traded phone calls. E-mail exchange between Jack
Abramoff and Ralph Reed (Feb. 3, 1999) (GTG-R000883).
136 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Karl Rove (Dec. 12, 2000) (GTG-R000585).
- 33 -?for Stephens.137 The same day, Abramoff sent a similar e-mail to Glen Nager, who was
seeking a judicial appointment.138 Other e-mails indicate that this meeting took place in
the White House.139
On February 21, 2001, in advance of the meeting with Rove, Abramoff sent an e-mail
to his entire department at Greenberg, stating: “I have a meeting this Thursday with
Karl Rove. I am going to restrict my discussion to things which are very important to us,
but I wanted to solicit from you a list of items for the agenda. Please let me know if you
have any such items.”140 The morning of the meeting with Rove, Abramoff sent an e-mail
to his assistant asking the assistant to print the following agenda for the “Rove
1. OIA position – Zack
2. pro free market Indian agenda – Tim Martin
3. Norton – ANWR – CREA
4. Florida – Bush anti-cruise
5. Glen Nager
6. Miller/dodd proposals out of house/senate education bills – new
federal mandates – anti local control
7. how can I help 141
After the meeting, Abramoff drafted the following thank you note to Rove:
Dear Karl, Thanks for taking the time to see me this week. Per our
discussion, attached please find a paper on the Miller amendment
to the Education bill.
I appreciate anything you can do regarding the candidates we
137 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Dennis Stephens (Mar. 6, 2001) (GTG-R000694).
Abramoff’s efforts to secure an appointment for Stephens are discussed further in part
138 E-Mail from Jack Abramoff to Glenn Nager (March 6, 2001) (GTG-R000697).
Abramoff’s efforts to secure an appointment for Nager are discussed further in part
139 See E-Mail exchange between Jack Abramoff and Rodney Platt (March 1, 2001)
(GTG-R000734) (with Abramoff noting that on March 6 th , “I have a 4:30 at the WH with
Karl Rove and must leave by no later than 4:10 to get through security there”).
140 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Greenberg Washington, D.C. Government Affairs
Dep’t (Feb. 25, 2001) (GTG-R00630).
141 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Rodney Lane (Mar. 6, 2001) (GTG-R000709).
- 34 -?c) March 24, 2001
On March 25, 2001, Abramoff sent an e-mail with the subject “Re: Update on
AS/IA position.” In the e-mail, Abramoff wrote: “I saw Rove last night at the Gridiron
dinner and told him he has to intervene in this if possible.”143
d) April 10, 2001
On April 10, 2001, Abramoff sent an e-mail to Glen Nager, who was seeking a
judicial appointment, about a phone conversation with Rove. In the e-mail, Abramoff
wrote: “Got through to him (on his cell, I believe). He did not commit, but said he
would call over and see where it was.”144
e) May 3, 2001
On May 3, 2001, Abramoff sent an e-mail to Ben Fitial, who at the time was
running for Governor of the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands against Juan
Babauta. In the e-mail, Abramoff writes: “I met with Rove tonight. They are not going
to allow Babauta to have his way and they are looking forward to your arrival.”145 An
entry in an electronic calendar indicates that the event probably occurred at a “Tax Policy
Dinner” at Grover Norquist’s home.146
142 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Rodney Lane (Mar. 8, 2001) (providing instructions to
assistant regarding a thank you note following March 6, 2001, meeting) (GTG-R000659).
143 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Jana McKeag (Mar. 25, 2001) (GTG-R000847).
144 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Glen Nager (Apr. 10, 2001) (GTG-R000834).
Abramoff’s efforts to secure an appointment for Nager are discussed further in part
145 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Ben Fitial (May 3, 2001). On May 3, 2001, Fitial e-mailed
Abramoff that Babauta was trying to claim credit for congressional earmarks that
Abramoff had obtained for CNMI. E-mail exchange between Jack Abramoff and
Benigno Fitial (May 3, 2001) (GTG-R001895) (Fitial’s e-mail is dated May 4, but CNMI
is one day ahead of the United States).
146 Outlook Calendar Entry, 2001 Tax Policy Dinner with Karl Rove (May 3, 2001)
- 35 -?f) March 12, 2002
On March 12, 2002, Abramoff sent an e-mail to Susan Ralston describing his
seeing Rove at an event and offering an invitation to Rove to join him at an NCAA
I just saw Karl at the KOMPAC reception and mentioned the
NCAA opportunity, which he was really jazzed about it. If he
wants to join us in the Pollin box, please let me know as soon as
you can, since it’s filling up. The invite is good for others who
might want to come as well.147
g) March 17, 2002
On March 18, Abramoff wrote in an e-mail that he was “sitting yesterday with
Karl Rove … at the NCAA basketball game discussing Israel” when an e-mail about a
suicide bomber attack came in.148 When Tony Rudy inquired on March 17, 2002,
whether Abramoff got “anything interesting” out of Rove, Abramoff replied “Not really,”
but that he “touched base on all issues,” including “about Jena.”149 Abramoff added:
he’s set to help us when we need it. … He’s a great guy. Told me anytime we
need something just let him know through susan.150
h) April 16, 2002
On April 5, 2002, Abramoff sent an e-mail to his assistant asking the assistant to
add to his schedule “a Karl Rove/SagChip breakfast on the 16 th at 8 am. Location tbd.”151
147 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Susan Ralston (Mar. 12, 2002) (GTG-R001104).
148 E-Mail from Jack Abramoff to unknown recipient (March 18, 2002) (GTG-R001092);
see also E-mail exchange between Jack Abramoff and Susan Ralston (Mar.
19, 2002) (GTG-R001091). Rove’s attendance at this game and his offer to pay for the
tickets are discussed further in part VI.C.
149 E-mail exchange between Tony Rudy and Jack Abramoff (Mar. 17, 2002) (GTG-R001093).
Abramoff’s efforts on the Jena matter are discussed further in part V.A.3.
150 E-mail exchange between Tony Rudy and Jack Abramoff (Mar. 17, 2002) (GTG-R001093).
151 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Ilisa Gertner (Apr. 5, 2002) (GTG-R005433).
- 36 -?According to the documents, this was an event with Karl Rove and “tribal representatives
and leaders” from the Saginaw Chippewa tribe.152
i) May 6, 2003
On May 6, 2003, Abramoff e-mailed Kevin Ring that he had “the Rove dinner at
j) December 5, 2003
On December 6, 2003, Abramoff e-mailed Michael Williams, a lobbying
associate, about seeing Rove the day before. Abramoff writes about appointments to the
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.154 In the e-mail, Abramoff wrote: “I saw
Rove … and he asked if we could have LaPierre [head of the NRA] call him and confirm
that Mike Bregman (our guy) is the guy he wants.”155
k) Other E-mails About Rove
There are several e-mails in the documents in which Abramoff comments about
Rove and his relationship with Rove. In a September 10, 2001, e-mail, Abramoff writes
to Malaysian Ambassador Dennis Ignatius:
just spoke on the phone with Rove’s office. … I think we have a
bit of a breakthrough. The Rove guys, as you know, are our
friends, so they are trying to help make this happen, but getting
152 E-mail exchange between Jack Abramoff and Chris Petras (Mar. 27, 2002 to Apr. 5,
153 See E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Kevin Ring (May 6, 2003) (GTG-R001292). An
electronic calendar entry described this as a “Dinner with Karl Rove” scheduled to begin
at 5 pm on May 6, 2003. Outlook Calendar Entry, Dinner with Karl Rove (May 6, 2003)
154 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Michael Williams (Dec. 5, 2003) (GTG-R004306).
The documents are not clear whether Abramoff saw Rove at the White House or at an
event in Baltimore, Maryland. See E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Michael Williams
(December 5, 2003) (GTG-R004306); E-mail from Alan Slomowitz to Joanna Bianco
(Dec. 7, 2003) (noting that the meeting occurred at the White House) (GTG-R006505-
6506); But cf. E-mail from Susan Ralston to Jack Abramoff (Dec. 7, 2003) (indicating
Abramoff saw Rove in Baltimore) (GTG-R001813).
155 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Michael Williams (Dec. 5, 2003) (GTG-R004306).
- 37 -?control of this to the White House political guys, and away from
State/NSC is critical.156
In one e-mail to a client, Abramoff expressed the view that Rove did not want to
be perceived publicly as taking actions that benefited Abramoff. On December 13, 2002,
Abramoff sent an e-mail to Saginaw Chippewa representative Chris Petras regarding the
tribe’s efforts to stop development of a rival tribe’s casino at Gun Lake in Michigan.
Abramoff told Petras about a recent report that a Michigan businessman planned to sue to
block the rival casino, indicating that this report could provide “cover”:
This is so beautiful. It gives me a lot of cover, which is one of the
things Karl was worried about. It does not benefit them to be
doing stuff on this publicly for me, as you can imagine, and he was
really worried that we would cause a NYT like piece (remember
the stuff about Louisiana). Fantastic.157
A number of the e-mails discuss appearances by Rove at Abramoff’s restaurant,
Signatures. On learning in an e-mail that, “Karl Rove [i]s coming in [to Signatures]
tonight with a party of 8-10,” Abramoff responds, “I want him to be given a very nice
bottle of wine and have Joseph whisper in his ear (only he should hear) that Abramoff
wanted him to have this wine on the house.”158
In one e-mail discussing where to have an event with Rove and representatives of
the Sagninaw Chippewa tribe, Abramoff wrote: “Recommend to them to have the
breakfast at Signatures. I am not kidding. Karl loves the restaurant (he’s been there a
lot) and we could do the back room. Clear it with Jacob and I’ll get Karl on board.”159
On another occasion, when Abramoff learned that Rove was coming to Signatures, he
wrote: “Please put Karl Rove in my usual table, and put me at the table on the other side
of the coat rack in the corner.”160
156 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Ambassador Dennis J. Ignazias, Malaysia (Sept. 10,
157 E-mail from Karl Rove to Chris Petras (Dec. 13, 2002) (GTG-R005333). The
reference to a “NYT like piece” may be a reference to an April 2002 article in the NEW
YORK TIMES that connected Abramoff to an Administration decision that benefited the
Louisiana Coushatta tribe, one of Abramoff’s clients. See David E. Rosenbaum, At $500
an Hour, Lobbyist’s Influence Rises with GOP, N.Y. TIMES, Apr. 3, 2002, at A2.
158 E-mail exchange between Rodney Lane and Jack Abramoff (July 5, 2002) (GTG-R006323).
159 E-Mail exchange between Jack Abramoff and Chris Petras (Apr. 8, 2002) (GTG-R005443).
160 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Joseph Hurst (Mar. 13, 2002) (GTG-R006305).
- 38 -?l) Use of Ralph Reed to Lobby Rove
In addition to making direct lobbying contacts with Rove, Abramoff also used
Ralph Reed to communicate with Rove, according to the documents. The documents
contain at least 14 references to Abramoff asking Reed to contact Rove. These include
requests for assistance in securing including political appointments 161 and obtaining
favorable actions on client matters.162
2. Susan Ralston
After the President was elected, Abramoff’s executive assistant, Susan Ralston,
left Greenberg to work in a similar position for Karl Rove.163 Shortly after joining
Rove’s staff in the White House, she reported to Abramoff, “I’m trying to keep up
w/barrage of calls, mail and work . . . . It isn’t difficult work; in fact I tell everyone that
this is kind of a vacation after w/ you!”164
The documents reflect that Abramoff and his associates often contacted Susan
Ralston for assistance. The documents produced to the Committee reflect 69 lobbying
contacts between Ralston and her former colleagues at Greenberg .165 There are also a
161 See, e.g., E-mail exchange between Glen Nager and Jack Abramoff (Feb. 1, 2001)
(noting Abramoff will “ping [Reed] next week” to see if he had reached Karl Rove about
a judicial appointment for Nager) (GTG-R006737); E-mail exchange between Jack
Abramoff, Ralph Reed, and Kevin Ring (March 21, 2001) (asking Reed to “weigh in with
Karl” regarding a rumor that a “DEMOCRAT from CA might be picked for Indian
Affairs”) (GTG-R005182); E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Elie Pieprz (Jan. 10, 2001)
(offering to “get in contact with Rove through Ralph Reed”) (GTG-R000600).
162 See, e.g., E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Ralph Reed (May 21, 2002) (asking Reed to
get to Rove on an issue affecting the Northern Mariana Islands) (GTG-R001905); E-mail
from Jack Abramoff to Ralph Reed (February 20, 2002) (regarding the need to get
Rove’s office to communicate a message about the “gambling compact” to Secretary
Norton) (GTG-R001066); E-mail exchange between Jack Abramoff and Ralph Reed
(Nov. 8, 2001) (Reed tells Abramoff that he would be “happy to help” in getting to Rove
on a funding issue) (GTG-R005206).
163 Peter H. Stone, K Street Stumble, NAT’L JOURNAL, Mar. 27, 2004, Vol. 36, No. 13.
164 E-mail from Susan Ralston to Jack Abramoff (Feb. 21, 2001) (GTG-R000722).
165 See, e.g., E-mail from Susan Ralston to Jack Abramoff (Aug. 23, 2001) (alerting
Abramoff that Clark Dean Horvath is a possible candidate for Office of Insular Affairs
- 39 -?significant number of social contacts between Ralston and Abramoff and his associates
that are described in the documents but not included in this count.
In some instances, according to the documents, Ralston passed communications
or documents between Abramoff and his associates and Rove. On February 21, 2001, for
example, Ralston e-mailed Abramoff lobbyist Todd Boulanger: “Thanks for breakfast. I
showed KR the binder . . . . He gave the binder to Mehlman to read cover to cover and
to be prepared. Mehlman will be at the meeting.”166
In another example, Ralston e-mailed Abramoff on October 21, 2001, that Rove
had read Abramoff’s memo regarding a political endorsement and had follow-up
questions.167 Abramoff responded that he would provide another memo.168 In an e-mail
the next day on the same subject, Ralston reported back to Abramoff that Rove had
agreed to the position advocated by Abramoff.169
The documents also indicate that she helped the team secure access to the White
House and to obtain photo opportunities for clients.170 On one occasion, when Abramoff
was seeking an invitation to the White House Chanukah reception in 2001, he wrote
Hi Susan. I understand that they are doing a ceremony for
Chanukah on Monday night. I was wondering if you could
possibly arrange for Pam, the kids and me in to that?171
According to the documents, Abramoff did attend the Chanukah reception.172
166 E-mail from Susan Ralston to Jack Abramoff (Feb. 21, 2002) (GTG-R001055-56).
167 E-mail exchange between Susan Ralston and Jack Abramoff (Oct. 30, 2001) (GTG-R001840).
168 E-mail exchange between Susan Ralston and Jack Abramoff (Oct. 30, 2001) (GTG-R001840).
169 E-mail from Susan Ralston to Jack Abramoff (Oct. 31, 2001) (GTG-R001836). The
subject of this exchange of e-mails is discussed further in part V.A.5.
170 See e.g., E-mail exchange between Susan Ralston and Jack Abramoff (Apr. 2-3, 2001)
(scheduling a meeting with White House staff and a send-off of the President at the
White House for Ben Fitial) (GTG-R001912).
171 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Susan Ralston (Dec. 5, 2001) (GTG-R002371).
172 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Mark Zachares (Dec. 11, 2001) (GTG-R000558)
(telling Zachares, “I was at the WH last night”).
- 40 -?On other occasions, according to some e-mails, Ralston informed the Abramoff
team about political appointees under consideration.173 The documents do not indicate
whether Rove approved of these actions or even knew about them.
The e-mails indicate that Abramoff and Ralston discussed future business plans
on more than occasion.174 In February 2002, for example, Ralston, Abramoff, and Ben
Waldman had an e-mail exchange about a business opportunity involving leasing an
In November 2002, Ralston e-mailed about the possibility of forming a defense or
homeland security-oriented company, acknowledging, “I . . . lack the experience to run
the day-to-day operations of a defense company.”176 She continued, “it would take a
significant amount of money for me to be lured away [from the White House] so unless
you’re really serious and can make it worth my while, let’s wait until 2005.” Abramoff
responded, “I am not in a position to offer you serious money for this right now.”
The extent of Ralston’s influence with Karl Rove is not definitively known. In
discussing the strategy of getting Glen Nager an appointment to the federal bench,
Abramoff told Nager, “Let me feel out Susan. She has been understandably reticent to
advocate anything to Karl . . . .”177 This e-mail was sent when Ralston had been with
Rove for two months.
On some occasions, according to the documents, Ralston was not able to obtain
the result sought by Abramoff. For example, in April 2001, Abramoff reached out to
Ralston to seek a meeting for the Foreign Minister of the government of Qatar:
Hi Susan. Per our discussion yesterday, Khalid Safuri saw Karl
on a plane and asked if Karl would be willing to meet with the
Foreign Minister of Qatar (who is the de facto ruler of the country)
173 See, e.g., E-mail from Susan Ralston to Jack Abramoff (Aug. 23, 2001) (alerting
Abramoff that Clark Dean Horvath is a possible candidate for Office of Insular Affairs
174 E-mail exchange between Susan Ralston, Jack Abramoff, and Ben Waldman (Feb. 19-
23, 2002) (GTG-R001045); E-mail correspondence between Jack Abramoff and Susan
Ralston (Nov. 24, 2002) (GTG-R001011).
175 E-mail exchange between Susan Ralston, Jack Abramoff, and Ben Waldman (Feb. 19-
23, 2002) (Ralston also discusses a business opportunity relating to the “patent industry,”
querying if “we’ve identified a hugely underserved market”) (GTG-R001045).
176 E-mail exchange between Jack Abramoff and Susan Ralston (Nov. 24, 2002) (GTG-R001011).
177 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Glen Nager (Apr. 4, 2001) (GTG-R000744).
- 41 -?. . . . Please let me know, if you can, when this meeting would
most likely take place. Thanks.178
This meeting never occurred, according to the documents. Abramoff wrote in an
e-mail to Kevin Ring: “Rove said no. Thanks susan.”179
In November 2003, Abramoff e-mailed Susan Ralston about Iraqi bonds
apparently being issued by one of Abramoff’s clients, American Bondholders
Foundation. Abramoff sent her a follow-up e-mail about his inquiry on December 5,
2003. In response, Ralston indicated that the National Security Council had not “gotten
back to me yet.”180 Six days later, she e-mailed him with additional information:
The NSC is very suspect of this proposal particularly since Iraq
does not owe anything near $100 billion to China. The White
House will not support it. They cannot imagine any representative
of the Iraqi GC being authorized to approve such a deal, so I would
be suspicious of any contract they say is pending. The CPA will
not agree to it either.181
3. Barry Jackson
Barry Jackson is the Deputy Assistant to the President, Deputy to the Senior
Advisor and Director of Strategic Initiatives.182 As Rove’s deputy, Jackson joined the
White House staff in 2001, after a career as a House staffer, which included a stint as the
chief of staff for Rep. John Boehner.183 In 1994 Jackson became the Director of
“Contract with America,” the campaign plan Republicans used to successfully recapture
control of the U.S. House of Representatives.184 From 1995 to 1998, Jackson also served
178 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Susan Ralston (Apr. 24, 2001) (GTG-R000860).
179 E-mail exchange between Jack Abramoff and Kevin Ring (Apr. 27, 2001) (GTG-R000849).
180 E-mail from Susan Ralston to Jack Abramoff (Dec. 5, 2003) (GTG-R001813).
181 E-mail from Susan Ralston to Jack Abramoff (Dec. 11, 2003) (GTG-R002131).
182 The U.S. Government Manual, 2006-2007, at 87.
TH newsfollowup.com steve francis
CONGRESS (FIRST AND SECOND SESSION) OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL DIRECTORY:
at 573, 573; Barry Jackson-White House Biography,
http://www.whitehouse.gov/results/leadership/bio_228.html (last visited Sept. 17, 2006)
[hereinafter Jackson Biography].
184 Jackson Biography.
- 42 -?as Executive Director of the House Republican Conference (chaired by Rep. Boehner),185
helping to craft legislative and communications activity for Republican Representatives
of the Congress.186
According to the documents, Jackson met with or was contacted by Abramoff
lobbyists six times as part of their lobbying activities. Five of these contacts were with
Neil Volz, who had worked as a senior staff member for one Ohio congressman (Rep.
Ney) at the same time that Jackson had worked in a similar position for another (Rep.
Boehner). Of the six lobbying contacts reflected in the documents, two involved dinner
at the Hawk and Dove.187 Volz lobbied Jackson three times on behalf of the Mississippi
Choctaw with regard to obtaining a Presidential Medal of Freedom for Choctaw Chief
Phillip Martin.188 Volz also saw Jackson on the weekend of October 18, 2003, in
Columbus, Ohio at the Iowa v. Ohio State college football game.189 In an e-mail prior to
his trip to Ohio, Volz told his lobbying associate Kevin Ring: “I’m spending the
weekend with Barry Jackson… if you want me to bring up LETN stuff per previous
In April 2002, Volz had an e-mail exchange with Jackson’s secretary, Kimberly
Ellison, about setting up a lunch with Jackson.191 Although the lunch was scheduled for
April 10 at 1:00 p.m., the documents do not confirm whether it occurred or, if it did,
whether it included substantive lobbying efforts.
CONGRESSES OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL DIRECTORY, at 449; Jackson
186 Jackson Biography.
187 Choctaw Billing Records (Mar. 14, 2002) (GTG003864-ACCT-CW); Saginaw
Chippewa Billing Records (Dec. 12, 20020 (GTG0000588-ACCT-SG).
188 E-mail from Neil Volz to Kevin Ring (Dec. 16, 2002) (GTG-R005170); Choctaw
Billing Records (Mar. 12, 2003) (GTG-003521-ACCT-CW); E-mail from Neil Volz to
Jack Abramoff (Feb. 3, 2004) (GTG-R005252).
189 E-mail from Neil Volz to Barry Jackson (Oct. 20, 2003) (GTG-R004931) (Volz tells
Jackson it was good to see him over the weekend).
190 E-mail from Neil Volz to Kevin Ring (Oct. 15, 2003) (GTG-R006420).
191 E-mail exchange between Neil Volz and Kimberly Ellison (Apr. 3-5, 2002) (GTG-R004976-
- 43 -?B. Ken Mehlman and the Office of Political Affairs
The documents reflect Abramoff and his team claimed to have lobbied the White
House Office of Political Affairs in 17 instances. In six of these instances, the
documents describe a direct contact with Ken Mehlman, who was the office director from
January 2001 to May 2003. Matt Schlapp replaced Mehlman as the office director from
May 2003 through February 2005.
The lobbying of Mehlman described in the documents includes a dinner with
Shawn Vasell, at Signatures Restaurant,192 a discussion between Abramoff and Mehlman
regarding political appointments at a White House reception,193 and a meeting with Tony
Rudy regarding efforts to secure federal funds for the Mississippi Band of the Choctaw
Indians, an Abramoff client.194 After this latter meeting with Mehlman, Rudy wrote
Abramoff: “Mehlman said he would ‘take care of this.’ He was a rock star.”195
The lobbying of Mehlman by Abramoff and his colleagues has also been
examined by the Inspector General (IG) at the Department of Justice (DOJ). The DOJ IG
reports that a relationship between Abramoff and Mehlman existed. According to the IG,
an official in the White House Office of Political Affairs, Leonard Rodriguez, “kept
Abramoff aware of information relevant to Guam ... at the behest of Ken Mehlman, the
White House Political Director, who ‘recommended or suggested that I reach out to make
Jack aware’ of issues related to Guam.”196
C. Jennifer Farley and the Office of Intergovernmental
The White House office designated as the liaison with Indian tribes is the White
House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs (OIA).197 According to the billing records
192 Agua Caliente Billing Records (Apr. 22, 2003) (GTG004617-ACCT-AC) (“Vasell,
Shawn M.; Signatures Restaurant with White House Political Director on 4-22-03”).
193 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Mark Zachares (Dec. 11, 2001) (GTG-R000558).
194 E-mail from Tony Rudy to Jack Abramoff (Nov. 8, 2001) (GTG-R006588); E-mail
from Tony Rudy to Jack Abramoff (Nov. 8, 2001) (GTG-R007031).
195 E-mail from Tony Rudy to Jack Abramoff (Nov. 9, 2001) (GTG-R006923).
196 U.S. DEP’T OF JUSTICE, Office of the Inspector General, Report of Investigation into
Allegations Relating to the Selection of the U.S. Attorney for Guam and the Northern
Mariana Islands, at 13 (June 2006).
197 White House Offices, http://www.whitehouse.gov/government/off-descrp.html (last
viewed Sept 18, 2006).
- 44 -?and e-mails obtained by the Committee, Abramoff’s team lobbied officials with this
office on 35 occasions during the time period of January 2001 through March 2004. The
documents reflect that the Abramoff lobbyists had four meetings with the director of the
office, Ruben Barrales, and 27 lobbying contacts with the deputy associate director,
Jennifer Farley. According to The National Journal directory of White House staff, the
OIA consists of the following positions: one Director, three Special Assistants to the
President, one Associate Director, and one Deputy Associate Director.198
The documents reflect Farley discussed possible candidates for political positions
at the Department of the Interior with the Abramoff team,199 met with Greenberg clients
when they came to Washington,200 and discussed potential employment at Greenberg .201
On one occasion, the documents reflect Farley may have expressed concerns
about appearing to be too close to the Abramoff team. In a February 7, 2003, e-mail to
Abramoff, Kevin Ring wrote:
Your e-mail to Susan was forwarded to Ruben Barrales and on to
Jen Farley, who read it to me last night. I don’t know what to
think about this, but she said it is better not to put this stuff in
writing in their e-mail system because it might actually limit what
198 THE NAT’L JOURNAL, White House Directory, Capital Source 2006, at 10.
199 See, e.g., E-mail from Kevin Ring to Duane Gibson and Jack Abramoff (Dec. 12,
2002) (GTG-R006113) (noting that Farley asked if a person named Milanovich would be
interested in the Assistant Secretary position).
200 See, e.g., E-mail exchange between Kevin Ring and Jennifer Farley (Sept. 5, 2003)
(GTG-R005881) (scheduling time for Chris Petras and a “few new councilmen” from the
Saginaw Chippewa tribe to meet with Farley).
201 In Feb. 2003, in an e-mail to Jack Abramoff, Kevin Ring wrote that Jennifer Farley
“talked about possibly wanting to join our firm at some point too.” E-mail exchange
between Jack Abramoff and Kevin Ring (Feb. 6, 2003) (GTG-R004459); Later in the
year, Ring told Abramoff that he was having lunch with Farley, and that “I believe she is
going to reiterate interest in leaving – and I know she is interested in coming here.” E-mail
from Kevin Ring to Jack Abramoff and Todd Boulanger (Dec. 16, 2003) (GTG-R004817).
- 45 -?they can do to help us, especially since there could be lawsuits, etc.
… Just letting you know what she said.202
Abramoff responded, “Dammit. It was sent to Susan on her rnc pager and was
not supposed to go into the WH system.”203
D. Other White House Lobbying
The billing records reflect 159 instances of lobbying the White House Office of
Legislative Affairs. Often, there is little detail about these contacts. The billing records
frequently note time billed for a “meeting with White House Legislative Affairs staff,”
without elaboration.204 In 157 of the total instances of lobbying, it is not possible from
the documents to identify even the office in the White House the Abramoff team claimed
to have contacted. For example, on October 17, 2003, Neil Volz billed the Choctaw tribe
for 2.1 hours of his time in “Discussion with key White House staff regarding client
issues,” but does not identify the “key White House staff.”205
E. Events and Meetings
According to the documents produced to the Committee, Abramoff’s clients
attended Americans for Tax Reform events at the White House where the President
appeared and made remarks. One of these events occurred on May 9, 2001. 206 While the
Committee does not have complete records of attendance at the May 9 event, it appears
202 E-mail from Kevin Ring to Jack Abramoff (Feb. 7, 2003) (GTG-R002245); One day
earlier, Abramoff had sent Susan Ralston an e-mail entitled “Louisiana” stating: “I don’t
want to bother you guys with a meeting request, so I was hoping you could pass on to
Karl that Interior is about to approve a gaming compact and land in trust for a tribe which
is an anathema to all our supporters down there. It’s called the Jena tribe, and the
politicos (!) at Interior (low-mid level) are agreeing to this. It will cause a major backlash
from our coalition and is something which they should not do on the merits. I believe
that Steve Griles over there would be opposed, but it’s important, if possible, to get some
quiet message from WH that this is absurd.” E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Susan
Ralston (Feb. 6, 2003) (GTG-R002246).
203 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Kevin Ring (Feb. 7, 2003) (GTG-R002245).
204 Saginaw Chippewa Billing Records (May 23, 2003) (GTG-000436-ACCT-SG).
205 Choctaw Billing Records (Oct. 17, 2003) (GTG003328-ACCT-CW).
206 Coushatta Billing Records (May 9, 2001) (GTG002480-ACCT-CS); Choctaw Billing
Records (May 9, 2001) (GTG005902-ACCT-CW); see also E-mail from Shawn Vasell to
Terry Martin (June 22, 2001) (GTG-R005323).
- 46 -?that representatives of the Chitimacha and Coushatta tribes attended the event where the
President appeared.207 The documents reflect that Greenberg lobbyists were also in
A second such event with the President occurred on October 11, 2002. It appears
from the documents that Choctaw and Agua Caliente representatives were in attendance
at this event.209
State legislators from states that had adopted resolutions supporting President
Bush’s agenda were also present at events of this type,210 and Abramoff’s tribal clients
were urged by Abramoff and Norquist to pass similar resolutions.211
207 Abramoff’s Kodak Moment, TIME, Feb. 20, 2006 (article includes photo of Raul Garza,
then chairman of the Kickapoo tribe, participating in the meeting); E-mail
correspondence from Shawn Vasell to Terry Martin (June 22, 2001) (describes photos of
representatives of the Chitimacha tribe at the White House as “awesome”) (GTG-R005323).
Billing records reflect that Tony Rudy escorted Chief Poncho of the
Coushatta tribe to the meeting and that Jack Abramoff was an attendee. Coushatta
Billing Records (May 9, 2001) (GTG002480-ACCT-CS).
208 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Duane Gibson (Sept. 26, 2002) (GTG-R007924)
(noting state legislators would be at the Oct. 11, 2002, meeting); E-mail from Jack
Abramoff to Terry Martin (Sept. 27, 2002) (GTG-R005324) (noting that speakers of
houses from across the country had participated in the previous year’s meeting with the
President); Draft invitation letter and surrounding e-mails between Jack Abramoff,
Jennifer Kuhn, and Grover Norquist (Oct. 1, 2002) (GTG-R007940-43) (noting that
legislators attending the previous year’s meeting had passed tax resolutions).
209 See E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Grover Norquist (Oct. 9, 2002) (GTG-R005963)
(discussing the upcoming White House meeting and stating that “only Choctaw … and
Agua Caliente … are going to be able to be there”); E-mail from Duane Gibson to Jack
Abramoff (Oct. 11, 2002) (GTG-R006136); E-mail from Duane Gibson to Jack Abramoff
(Oct. 11, 2002) (GTG-R007931) (Gibson sent Abramoff a draft press release: “Agua
Caliente Meeting with President Bush, October 11, 2002. A delegation of three Agua
Caliente Tribal Council Members, met today with President Bush to discuss the war on
terrorism and important tax issues related to the economy…”).
210 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Duane Gibson (Sept. 26, 2002) (GTG-R007924)
(noting state legislators would be at the Oct. 11, 2002, meeting); E-mail from Jack
Abramoff to Terry Martin (Sept. 27, 2002) (GTG-R005324) (noting that speakers of
houses from across the country had participated in the previous year’s meeting with the
President); Draft invitation letter and surrounding e-mails between Jack Abramoff,
Jennifer Kuhn, and Grover Norquist (Oct. 1, 2002) (GTG-R007940-43) (noting that
legislators attending the previous year’s meeting had passed tax resolutions).
- 47 -?According to the documents, Abramoff sought the payment of significant
contributions to ATR, Grover Norquist’s organization, to arrange these events. In a July
3, 2002, e-mail to Abramoff, Norquist wrote:
Can the tribes contribute $100,000 for the effort to bring state
legislators and those tribal leaders who have passed the Bush
resolutions to Washington. When I know I have funding, I will ask
Karl Rove for a date with the President. karl has already said yes
in principle and knows that you organized this last year and hope
to this year.212
Abramoff responded, “Got it. … Let me make some calls and line up the $. … I
think I’ll hit four tribes for $25K each. Ok with you?” Norquist replied, “That is
The documents indicate that at least some of the tribes paid the amount sought by
Abramoff. In an April 10, 2003, e-mail to Kevin Ring, Chitimacha representative Terry
Martin stated: “Chitimacha later made a contribution through ATR for us to have a
small group meeting with Bush in the White House.”214 When the Agua Caliente tribe
accepted the invitation to the meeting, their representative wrote: “Tribal Council
approved participation with the October 11 th meeting with President Bush. Please advise
information for the $25,000.00 check so I can prepare a check request from accounting
The documents reflect that Abramoff also worked with Norquist to arrange for a
representative of the Congo to meet with Karl Rove at a July 9, 2002, dinner held by
211 E-mail exchange between Jack Abramoff and Grover Norquist (Apr. 27-30, 2001)
(GTG-R007003-04) The subject of the 2001 resolutions appears to have been a tax bill
supported by the President; The subject in 2002 appears to have been a mix of issues
including, in Norquist’s words, “the war on terrorism, supporting a missile defense
system, to keep the 2001 tax cuts permanent, to permanently repeal the death tax, and to
pass the economic stimulus package.” Draft invitation letter and surrounding e-mails
between Jack Abramoff, Jennifer Kuhn, and Grover Norquist (Oct. 1, 2002) (GTG-R007940-
212 E-mail from Grover Norquist to Jack Abramoff (July 2, 2002) (GTG-R006137-39).
213 E-mail exchange between Jack Abramoff and Grover Norquist (July 2, 2002) (GTG-R006137-
214 E-mail from TMartincdc to Kevin Ring (Apr. 10, 2003) (GTG-R005326).
215 E-mail exchange between Duane Gibson, Judi Simon, and Jack Abramoff (Sept. 24-
25, 2002) (GTG-R007926-27).
- 48 -?Norquist. On July 5, 2002, Abramoff instructed his assistant to send the following letter
“asap” to Joseph Kabila, the President of Congo:
I want to take this opportunity to make an urgent request of Your
Excellency to send your closest and most trusted advisor to a
special meeting with the Honorable Karl Rove. … This meeting is
very restricted and has been set for a long time, however, I have
been able to obtain one invitation to this meeting.216
According to the documents, Abramoff discussed soliciting funds from the Congo
for ATR in connection with the Rove dinner. On July 9, 2002, Abramoff told Norquist:
I think Holly from my office has been in touch with Jennifer about
another possible attendee tonight. I am not sure we can pull it off
on our end, but if we can, it will be a representative of the Congo.
I have asked them for $100K for ATR. If they come, I think we’ll
Norquist later replied, “I am assuming this is important and therefore we are
making it happen.”218 The documents do not indicate whether Abramoff ever received
the $100,000 payment he anticipated from the Congo.
An e-mail from the Saginaw Chippewa Legislative Affairs Director Chris Petras
to Shawn Vasell shows that the purpose of some meetings was to obtain photos with
Please try to arrange for a quick photo and greeting with Tom
Delay and Bill Frist. These greetings do not have to be more than
5 minutes. Also I would like to introduce my new staff to Jennifer
Farley at WH Intergovernmental Relations. I know these are
major asks but I want to get these meet and greets in while
everyone is in town. The Chief and Sub-chief will have less time
to visit DC as the elections get closer. Also, my staff are working
on major projects that will be greatly facilitated if I can get them
on the web with a few key people. When I post the photos with
officials it makes a significant difference. For example, one week
after we posted the story and photos of the Chief with officials
such as Inhofe, a major highway project we are working on was
reinstated by the Governor’s office. She originally took it off the
list for completion. My intel explained that the Governor’s office
216 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Holly M. Bowers (July 5, 2002) (GTG-R008045).
217 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Grover Norquist (July 9, 2002) (GTG-R006649).
218 E-mail from Grover Norquist to Jack Abramoff (July 9, 2002) (GTG-R006649).
- 49 -?saw the story and photos and made a last minute shift in her policy
position on the project. Thanks Shawn.219
F. White House Initiative to Work Directly With Tribes
The documents point to a potential initiative by the White House to work with the
Indian tribes directly, without using lobbyists as a go-between.220 It began on March 1,
2003, when Kevin Ring reported to his associates “a disturbing problem” he had heard
about from the White House:
Just wanted to let everyone know of a disturbing problem I just
learned about at the White House. The Intergovernmental Affairs
Office just received their ethics briefing, and when all was said and
done, they concluded that they should NEVER call lobbyists
anymore – will call tribes directly – and will NEVER have
lobbyists sit in meetings, EVEN WHEN the client is meeting with
the IGA Office.
Finally, it is scary that the White House ethics advisor – a Nanette
Everson – told the IGA folks that tribes shouldn’t even need to
have lobbyists, anyway – and that it is wrong for them to pay so
much money for lobbyists when people in the government should
be meeting with them as needed. Those are fighting words!!!!221
Abramoff responded, “This is horrible. Why would they f**k us like this?”222
219 E-mail from Chris Petras to Shawn Vasell (Sept. 5, 2003) (GTG-R005930).
220 This was not the first instance where Greenberg lobbyists wrote in e-mail about the
status of their relationship with the White House. In May 2002, while considering
whether to represent a client involved with the Crusader program, Kevin Ring discussed
with Abramoff and Tony Rudy that the White House was not being as helpful as they
were hoping in further the Greenberg business opportunities. Ring observed “I know
they don’t send us business, but shouldn’t we verify that Rove, schlapp, Mehlman, et al
are not going to make us personas non gratas for the next 6.5 years?” E-mail from Kevin
Ring to Tony Rudy, Jack Abramoff et al (May 23, 2002) (GTG-R006310).
221 E-mail from Kevin Ring to Greenberg Gov’t Affairs Dep’t (Mar. 1, 2003) (GTG-R002247).
222 E-mail exchange between Kevin Ring, Jack Abramoff, Neil Volz, Michael Williams,
and Shawn Vasell (Mar. 1, 2003) (GTG-R004670) (expletives omitted).
- 50 -?Over the weekend, the team developed a game plan in a series of e-mails to
“straighten out” this matter:
Kevin Ring: It’s not about us, but we’re included. … Neil, this is
definitely something Barry Jackson needs to hear about.
Michael Williams: WH folks are getting really arrogant lately. Not sure who
is driving the train but they need to remember who there
friends are ... or they risk the fate of Bush 1.
Shawn Vasell: I will talk with Matt as well. This is bulls**t.
Neil Volz: I will call Barry Jackson with this today. Unacceptable.223
Duane Gibson: 1) find out if there is any basis whatsoever in the advice
from the ethics person. Get this in house if possible, not
from the WH.
2) get everson fired, because I cqnnot imagine any
basis for such advice.
3) act quickly to find out as much as possible about
4) start a phone bank and give everson 1000 calls a
day from every tribe with a problem.224
V. The Results
In lobbying the White House, the results Abramoff and his associates achieved
were mixed. In advocating for appropriations matters for the Choctaw and Saginaw
Chippewa tribes, the team achieved the results they were seeking. Similarly, the team
had successful advocacy projects for the Coushatta and Sandia Pueblo clients. The team
was able to work with the White House in securing some endorsements for insular
territorial officials. In other areas, such as presidential appointments and nominations,
they were often not successful.
223 E-mail exchange between Kevin Ring, Jack Abramoff, Neil Volz, Michael Williams,
and Shawn Vasell (Mar. 1, 2003) (GTG-R004670) (expletives omitted).
224 E-mail from Duane Gibson to Kevin Ring (Mar. 2, 2003) (GTG-R004046).
- 51 -?A. Successes
1. Choctaw Jail
According to the documents, Abramoff and his team lobbied the White House on
multiple occasions as part of an effort to secure $16.3 million in funding from the
Department of Justice for the construction of a jail by the Mississippi Band of the
Choctaw. In total, the billing records reflect 73 instances of lobbying between the
Abramoff team and White House officials that were billed to the Choctaw in the six
months between June 2001 and January 2002. Sixteen of those lobbying contacts were
billed as specifically addressing the jail issue, and another 18 were on the topic of
appropriations, which could also have involved the issue of jail funding.
In one e-mail to Ralph Reed, Abramoff explained the Choctaw issue and the
importance of securing the jail funding, writing:
They were supposed to get funds to build a jail facility. Justice has
screwed them around for years during Clinton (they didn’t want
jails I guess) and there are people at Justice (holdovers) who have
made it very tough on them to get the funding. …
I need to push to get this done because it is the main thing we are
doing for them this year in DC. If we fail, while I don’t think I’d
lose the client, it would be a huge blow and make our efforts
harder, if you know what I mean.225
According to the documents, some of the lobbying by the Abramoff team with the
White House were part of an effort to obtain an earmark for the jail in the Commerce,
Justice, State Appropriation for Fiscal Year 2002. On November 6, 2001, for example,
Abramoff associate Todd Boulanger expressed concern to a Senate contact that the House
was trying to strip out “all Senate earmarks from the conferenced bill” and informed him
that Matt Kirk from the White House Office of Legislative Affairs “is weighing in” with
James Morhard, the staff director of the Senate Commerce, Justice, State and the
Judiciary Appropriations Subcommittee.226
In the final bill, the funding for the jail facility was included as a discretionary
grant under the Office of Justice Programs at the Department of Justice. Specifically, the
legislation provided that the Office of Justice Programs was to evaluate the proposal and
225 E-mail exchange between Jack Abramoff and Ralph Reed (Nov. 8, 2001) (GTG-R005206);
Reed replied that he would be “happy to help.” Id.
226 E-mail from Todd Boulanger, Greenberg , to Jim Hirni, office of Senator Hutchinson
(Nov. 6, 2001) (GTG-R007053).
- 52 -?make the grant “if warranted.”227 According to the documents, the Abramoff team then
focused their efforts on ensuring that the Department of Justice made the full grant to the
The documents indicate that the Abramoff team learned that the senior Justice
Department official responsible for the decision, Tracy Henke, the Principal Deputy
Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Justice Programs, opposed providing full
funding to the tribe. In an e-mail, Kevin Ring told his colleagues:
Just got off the phone with Tracy Henke at DOJ. Geez! We are
not there. She has seen letters and clearly is not impressed enough.
… OJP is going to offer Choctaw $9 million again with
understanding that Congress may push for remainder.
Similarly, Todd Boulanger reported:
Tracey Hanke was at [a Senate] staff retreat today. My friends
over there weighed in with her pretty hard and told her [the
Senator] was aware and supportive of the project – which wasn’t
true because he doesn’t know what is going on, really – but he
wanted to feel her out how adamant her position was. … They
also played the political angle up with her … she didn’t seem
Trevor said that she is 100 percent not going to budge with what
we’ve hit her with thus far. Her excuse was that they are already
taking 1/3 of the budget – which isn’t totally true because of the
unobligated FY01 funds – and because “they’re one the richest
tribes in the country” yadda yadda yadda. …
She knows that we’re gonna go above her and Trevor didn’t think
that would bother her, but as long as the decision is hers and hers
alone to make, you can be certain that $9 mill is all we’re
227 Committee of Conference, Making Appropriations for the Dep’ts of Commerce,
Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies for the Fiscal Year Ending Sept.
30, 2002, and for Other Purposes (Nov. 9, 2001) (H. Rept. 107-278).
228 E-mail from Kevin Ring to Todd Boulanger, Jack Abramoff, and Tony Rudy (Jan. 16,
229 E-mail from Todd Boulanger to Jack Abramoff et al. (Jan. 17, 2002) (GTG-R007082-
- 53 -?According to a report on Indian jails released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics in
July 2000, the existing jail on the Choctaw reservation was one of the few Indian jails
that was neither overcrowded nor understaffed.230 A Justice Department spokesman
commenting on the report after its release said that the jail was renovated as recently as
1996 and operated efficiently.231
As soon as it became clear that the earmark would be included in the bill as a
“soft” earmark conditioned on the Department of Justice releasing the funds, Abramoff
and his associates began to reach out to the White House and others to ensure the release
of the funds. On November 8, Tony Rudy e-mailed Abramoff that he would be meeting
with Ken Mehlman about the issue and would inform Mehlman about the tribe’s
Republican political contributions. According to FEC records, the Choctaw tribe had
contributed $100,000 to Republicans by that time in the 2001-2002 election cycle.232
The ask is to have the people who administer the tribal justice
account release the money. That is what I am asking mehlman
tomorrow with the list of dollars they give.233
After this meeting, Rudy reported to Abramoff: “Mehlman said he would ‘take
care of this.’ He was a rock star.”234 Abramoff’s reply: “He’s great.”235
In a subsequent memorandum, Rudy elaborated, writing:
Late yesterday afternoon we had a great meeting with Karl Rove’s
office that will hopefully bear fruit shortly. Ken Mehlman, the
Deputy Political Director at the Bush White House, promised to
begin a campaign immediately to get Justice to release some of the
Fiscal Year 2001 money that still remains unspent from the Tribal
Justice Fund at the State Department.236
230 See Bureau of Justice Statistics, Jails in Indian Country, 1998-1999, available at
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/jic99.htm (last visited Sept. 18, 2006).
231 Indian Jails Often Crowded, Understaffed Justice Dept. Says Choctaw Jail One of the
Few with Room, ASSOC. PRESS, July 11, 2000.
232 Total based on analysis of Federal Election Commission Records maintained by
PoliticalMoneyLine available at, www.tray.com.
233 E-mail from Tony Rudy to Jack Abramoff (Nov. 8, 2001) (GTG-R007031).
234 E-mail from Tony Rudy to Jack Abramoff (Nov. 9, 2001) (GTG-R006923).
236 E-mail from Tony Rudy to Jack Abramoff (Nov. 10, 2001) (GTG-R005229-5231).
- 54 -?In the same memorandum, Rudy suggested five steps that Abramoff’s team
should take in order to “turn the screws even further,” including “Another Round of
Donations.”237 Several days later, Rudy wrote to Abramoff suggesting $100,000 in end-of-
the-year donations for the Choctaw to make to the Republican National Committee,
various Republican candidates, and conservative causes. Of that $100,000, he
recommended to “give to Mehlman” two checks totaling $20,000, including one to the
While Tony Rudy was approaching Ken Mehlman, other members of the
Abramoff team approached the White House from other angles. In a November 15,
2001, e-mail, Shawn Vasell tasked Abramoff lobbyists with coordinating calls and letters
to the White House, including to the Office of Legislative Affairs and Ken Mehlman,
from various congressional officials, Republican and Democrat.239
On January 17, 2002, Abramoff asked Karl Rove’s executive assistant, Susan
Ralston, if he could have five minutes of Rove’s time regarding the Choctaw, stating that
“they are getting screwed by a liberal R at Justice about funding for their jail project.”240
Abramoff wrote that the Choctaw have “been one of the party’s best helpers, and this is
totally incredible.”241 Ralston told Abramoff that Rove was unavailable due to
preparation for the State of the Union address, but recommended that Abramoff meet
with Ruben Barrales, the Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental
Affairs, who “works directly under karl.”242
238 Tony Rudy wrote to Jack Abramoff “Per Your Request” with a suggested “new end-of-
year giving list of the Choctaws.” Suggested donations total $100,000, including
$15,000 to the Republican National Committee with the notation, “Lets give the check to
Ken Mehlman at White House” and “[Senator] Soft Money PAC $5,000 (Give to
Mehlman).” E-mail exchange between Tony Rudy and Jack Abramoff (Nov. 13, 2001)
(GTG-R007079). Other suggested recipients included the National Republican
Senatorial Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and several
congressional candidates. Id. Abramoff responded “Fine” and requested contact
information for each recipient. Id.
239 See, e.g., E-mail from Shawn Vasell to Jack Abramoff et al. (Nov. 15, 2001) (GTG-R005254-
5255); E-mail from Congressional Staffer to Tony Rudy (Nov. 29, 2001)
240 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Susan Ralston (Jan. 17, 2002) (GTG-R005316).
242 E-mail from Susan Ralston to Jack Abramoff (Jan. 17, 2002) (GTG-R005316).
Abramoff asked his associate Kevin Ring to hold this meeting, which took place on Jan.
- 55 -?When Abramoff learned on January 18, 2002, that Reed was at a luncheon with
Rove, he asked Reed to bring up the “urgent matter” of the Choctaw jail funding with
Rove.243 Abramoff wrote that he needed “some serious swat from Karl” on the jail and
that he had “asked Susan to get me in to see him on this, but if you could mention it,
perhaps I could get him the materials and save the need to meet?”244 Reed responded
that he could not raise the issue at the luncheon due to the format, but was “following
By early February 2002, the Department of Justice released the full $16.3 million
earmark for the Choctaw jail.246
2. Sandia Pueblo Boundary Dispute
According to the Senate Report, the Pueblo of Sandia hired Abramoff to help
them with the lobbying aspects of a dispute related to lands on the Sandia Mountain that
the tribe considers sacred.247 In discussing this engagement, the Senate Report states:
In February 2002, the Pueblo of Sandia, a Tribe located on the
northern boundary of Albuquerque, was facing perhaps the most
significant legal challenge of its 700-year existence in New
Mexico. In the late 1980’s, with development beginning to
encroach on the sacred Sandia Mountain, the Tribe appealed to the
Department of the Interior to correct a survey conducted in 1859.
The correction would designate the main ridge of the Sandia
Mountain as the Pueblo’s eastern boundary. Years of litigation
ensued that involved the Pueblo of Sandia, government agencies,
and area residents, culminating in a settlement agreement on April
4, 2000 that, by its terms, required Congressional ratification by
28, 2002; E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Kevin Ring (Jan. 17, 2002) (GTG-R007084);
E-mail from Kevin Ring to Jack Abramoff (Jan. 28, 2002) (GTG-R002173).
243 E-mail exchange between Jack Abramoff and Ralph Reed (Jan. 18, 2002) (GTG-R005191).
245 Id. newsfollowup.com steve francis
246 Dep’t of Justice, Mississippi FY 2002 Office of Justice Programs & Office of
Community Oriented Policing Services Grants Listed Alphabetically by City (undated)
(online at: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/archive/topics/fy2002grants/map/ms.htm); E-mail
from Kevin Ring to Padgett Wilson (Feb. 4, 2002) (GTG-R001253).
247 “GIMME FIVE” S. COMM. Report at 12.
- 56 -?November 15, 2002. The settlement agreement was of monumental
importance to the Tribe. Having the Sandia Mountain as its
boundary signified more than a property settlement. The
Mountain’s significance is described on the Tribe’s web site:
For centuries, the people of Sandia Pueblo have
lived in the shadow of the mountain. The mountain
has served as our church and our spiritual
sustenance for hundreds of years. The mountain is
the highest priority of the people of Sandia Pueblo,
a sacred responsibility of every generation. This is
not a question of ownership for the Pueblo, it is a
question of preservation and protection of the
mountain, and the ability to practice religious and
culture traditions unrestricted by government
The documents produced reflect Abramoff and his colleagues lobbied the White
House on behalf of the Pueblo of Sandia. In one e-mail, Kevin Ring reported:
Jennifer Farley at White House Intergovernmental Affairs Office
called Shelley in [a Senator’s] office last week at our urging.
Jennifer did not get a return call. She tried again today and Shelly
wasn’t taking the call, so Jennifer said that she would hold and told
receptionist that it was an urgent matter. Receptionist came back
on line and said that Shelly said the Chief of Staff was the person
to talk to and that he would call her back.
FYI: Jennifer is calling to tell [the Senator’s] people that the
President is planning to go to NM for Wilson again and wants to
know if the mountain issue will be completed by time of visit. …
Goal here obviously is to show NM delegation that there is some
interest from parties other than Pueblo.249
Todd Boulanger replied to Ring, “Wow, that would be huge … and a nice, sly
way to get the project jump started.”250
On February 20, 2003, the President signed legislation that provided land
protections sought by the Sandia tribe.251
248 Id. at 183-184.
249 E-mail from Kevin Ring to Stuwart Paisano (July 17, 2002) (GTG-R008283).
250 E-mail from Todd Boulanger to Kevin Ring et al. (July 17, 2003) (GTG-R008283).
- 57 -?According to the Senate Report, Abramoff’s role in resolution of the boundary
dispute was ineffectual. After an analysis of the lobbying relating to the boundary
dispute, the Report concludes: “[i]n the end, the combination of support from the New
Mexico Delegation and a homegrown grassroots effort was the key to Congressional
approval. Success was achieved, but for reasons wholly unrelated to the extraordinarily
expensive pretensions of Abramoff.”252
According to an e-mail from Kevin Ring to Jennifer Farley before Farley’s calls,
however, a member of the New Mexico delegation was “leaning on the agencies to
oppose it” and the agencies were acting “strange.”253
3. Jena Casino in Louisiana
According to the documents, Abramoff and his colleagues lobbied the White
House over decisions involving a casino to be operated in Louisiana by the Jena Band of
the Choctaw (Jena). This casino, which was opposed by one of Abramoff’s clients, the
Louisiana Coushatta tribe, required approval from the Department of Interior.254
On February 19, 2002, Abramoff and Ralph Reed had the following exchange on
Abramoff: Ralph, any updates on the national Christian leaders
contacting Rove, Norton et al?
Reed: [T]he calls have been or are being placed as we speak.
Will provide info as we get reports back. we’re in
Abramoff: Checks are being cut today.255
251 It Took 255 Years, but Mountain Rift Comes to End, ALBUQUERQUE TRIBUNE (Feb.
252 “GIMME FIVE” S. COMM. Report at 194.
253 E-mail from Kevin Ring to Jennifer Farley (Apr. 15, 2002) (GTG-R008282).
254 “GIMME FIVE” S. COMM. Report at 54 and 58; Coushatta Billing Records (Apr. 1,
255 E-mail exchange between Jack Abramoff and Ralph Reed (Feb. 19, 2002) (GTG-R001069).
- 58 -?Two days later, Susan Ralston e-mailed Abramoff lobbyist Todd Boulanger to
report what she had done with briefing materials prepared by the Abramoff team for an
upcoming meeting between Mehlman and an official, who was opposing the Jena casino.
Ralston wrote: “Thanks for breakfast. I showed KR the binder and gave him a quick
brief so he is aware. He gave the binder to Mehlman to read cover to cover and to be
prepared.”256 Boulanger forwarded this e-mail to his colleagues, noting there “is meeting
with Rove on Tuesday. This meeting is confirmed. … If there are any ways to ‘bolster’
Mehlman before that time then we should do it.”257
On March 7, 2002, the Department of Interior announced that it was opposing the
Jena casino compact.258
Following the Department’s decision, the Jena tribe developed a new proposal to
develop a casino at a different location in Louisiana, and the Abramoff team launched a
campaign to oppose it.
According to the documents, it does not appear that this second Abramoff effort
was successful. On February 6, 2003, Abramoff e-mailed Susan Ralston to alert her to
the issue, asking her to “pass on to Karl” that the Department of the Interior was about to
approve the casino and requesting “some quiet message from WH that this is absurd.”
Ralston responded, “Karl and others are aware, but the WH is not going to get
involved.”259 In a subsequent e-mail to Reed, Abramoff ascribed the White House
position to the influence of one of Jena’s lobbyists, writing “I think [the lobbyist] got to
256 E-mail from Susan Ralston to Todd Boulanger (Feb. 21, 2002) (GTG-R001483).
257 E-mail from Todd Boulanger to Jack Abramoff et al. (Feb. 21, 2002) (GTG-R001483).
258 Susan Schmidt, Casino Bid Prompted High-Stakes Lobbying, WASH. POST (Mar. 13,
2005), at A1.
259 E-mail exchange between Jack Abramoff and Susan Ralston (Feb. 6 and Feb. 11,
2003) (GTG-R002264-65); In addition, in a November 7, 2003, e-mail, Kevin Ring
noted that Farley “told me her shop was staying out of this.” E-mail from Kevin Ring to
Neil Volz (Nov. 7, 2003) (GTG-R004069-72).
260 E-mail exchange between Ralph Reed and Jack Abramoff (Feb. 11, 2003) (GTG-R002264-
65). Contacts between the Abramoff team and the White House on this issue
continued throughout 2003. For example, on November 17, 2003, Neil Volz reported to
Abramoff and other colleagues:
- 59 -?The Department of the Interior approved the new Jena proposal in late December
4. School Funds for Saginaw Chippewa
In another effort, the Abramoff lobbyists worked on behalf of the Saginaw
Chippewa tribe in Michigan to secure a $3 million federal grant for school construction.
The documents indicate that this earmark was contentious. According to an
internal Greenberg memorandum, the earmark “would defy nearly two decades of BIA
efforts to prohibit schools not on the BIA Replacement Priority List from receiving
Federal construction dollars.”262 Moreover, the e-mails reflect that it was adamantly
opposed by Joel Kaplan, the Republican appropriations staffer on the House side. In one
e-mail, Abramoff lobbyist Kevin Ring complained about “the jackassedness of the people
we are dealing with at the subcommittee; namely, Joel.”263
In a June 19, 2002, e-mail, Ring reported on the likelihood of White House
intervention: “Just talked to White House Intergovernmental. I am pretty sure they will
weigh in – just trying to figure out if they should call Joel or some other player in this
drama.”264 This prompted Todd Boulanger to advise: “They should go higher so he
I talked with senior staff at WH Political Affairs about the Jena issue today.
Though I was told they will not be able to send an official notice to Interior, it was
also mentioned that ‘Interior is aware of the political implications of the Jena
issue.’ This is good. When I was asked what else could be done, it was suggested
that a phone call from Mike Stokke to Brian Waidman, … would be very helpful.
E-mail from Neil Volz to Jack Abramoff et al. (Nov. 17, 2003) (GTG-R006936). See
also, E-mail exchange between Kevin Ring and Jack Abramoff (July 10, 2003) (GTG-R007125)
(in which Ring informs Abramoff that “Friend at White House
Intergovernmental said that Concerned Women for America sent a letter to Rove that was
very anti-Indian gaming and specifically referenced Jena,” and Abramoff responded,
“Can you call me asap?”).
261 Susan Schmidt, Casino Bid Prompted High-Stakes Lobbying, WASH. POST (Mar. 13,
2005), at A1.
262 Saginaw Chippewa Work Summary (FY 03 & 04) (GTG-R005365-87, at 5372).
263 E-mail from Kevin Ring to Tony Rudy et al. (June 19, 2002) (GTG-R006140-42).
264 E-mail from Kevin Ring to Jack Abramoff, Tony Rudy, et al. (June 19, 2002) (GTG-R006140-
- 60 -?hears it from Dyer. I think she should call: leadership, Dyer for sure.”265 At the time
Jim Dyer was the Republican staff director of the Appropriations Committee.
On February 20, 2003, a consolidated appropriations measure was signed into law
that included $3 million for a tribal school construction demonstration program.266 This
measure permitted, but did not require, the release of funds specifically to the Saginaw
Chippewa. According to a report by Abramoff’s team, after the process of trying to get
the Department of Interior to award the money for the school “dragged on too long,”
Abramoff’s associates “were forced to insert a $3 million ‘hard’ earmark in the FY 04
Interior Appropriations bill.”267 On November 10, 2003, President Bush signed the
Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Act, which specifically earmarked the
$3 million for school construction sought by the Saginaw Chippewa tribe.268
5. Political Endorsements for Insular Candidates
The documents reflect several successful efforts by Abramoff to urge White
House action – or inaction – regarding political endorsements.
On October 9, 2002, Abramoff e-mailed Ken Mehlman to seek an endorsement
from President Bush for Republican candidates running in Guam.269 Within two weeks,
Susan Ralston e-mailed Abramoff: “Ken asked me to let you know that he has the quote
to be approved for your Guam candidates.”270 On the same day, Abramoff received an e-mail
from Leonard Rodriguez, who worked in the Office of Political Affairs under
Mehlman, transmitting an endorsement from President Bush. The endorsement called the
candidates “strong, effective leaders” and promised that “[m]y Administration will work
closely with them to see Guam remains a trusted friend.”271
265 E-mail from Todd Boulanger to Kevin Ring et al. (June 19, 2002) (GTG-R006140-
266 See U.S. House of Representatives, Conference Report to Accompany H.J. Res. 2,
Making Further Continuing Appropriations for the Fiscal Year 2003, and for Other
Purposes, 108 th Cong., 1 st Sess. (H. Rept. 108-010) (Feb. 13, 2003).
267 Saginaw Chippewa Work Summary (FY 03 & 04) (GTG-R005365-87, at 5373).
268 Dept. of Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, Pub. L. No. 108-108, 117
Stat. 1241 (2004).
269 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Ken Mehlman (Oct. 9, 2002) (GTG-R000984).
270 E-mail from Susan Ralston to Jack Abramoff (Oct. 23, 2002) (GTG-R001001).
271 E-mail from Leonard Rodriguez to Jack Abramoff (Oct. 23, 2002) (GTG-R002142).
- 61 -?The documents reflect the Abramoff team lobbied the administration to withhold
support for Juan Babauta, the Republican candidate for governor in the Commonwealth
of the Northern Mariana Islands in 2001. According to the documents, Babauta was
seeking an endorsement from President Bush, but was opposed by Abramoff, who was
backing candidate Benigno Fitial for governor. Fitial, then speaker of the House in the
Commonwealth, was running under the banner of a third party known as the “Covenant
Party.”272 An e-mail from Kevin Ring described Babauta as “a snake running for
Governor of the Commonwealth.”273
On October 26, 2001, Abramoff sent a memorandum to Mehlman arguing that
Juan Babauta has “undercut Congressional Republicans at every turn” and stating that an
“endorsement would be a mistake, in light of Babauta’s record.”274 On October 30,
2001, in an e-mail with the subject header “Babauta,” Rove’s executive assistant Susan
Ralston reported to Abramoff that Rove had “read your memo.”275 After further e-mail
communications with Ralston, and a phone conversation with Mehlman, Abramoff
received an e-mail on October 31, 2001, from Ralston stating: “You win :). KR said no
endorsement.”276 By all accounts Babauta was not endorsed.
Republican Juan Babauta was elected Governor of the Commonwealth in 2001.
After the election, Abramoff’s representation of the Commonwealth was terminated.277
6. Abramoff’s Transition Team Appointment
One of Abramoff’s earliest successes was in securing from the Administration an
appointment for himself. On January 2, 2001, Abramoff wrote to Ralph Reed, “Grover
was kind enough to contact Karl Rove to suggest that I be put on the Bureau of Indian
Affairs transition team. … Do you think you might be able to contact Karl, as I am sure
272 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Susan Ralston (Oct. 30, 2001) (GTG-R001840).
273 E-mail from Kevin Ring to Jack Oliver, Deputy Chairman of the Republican National
Committee (Oct. 17, 2001) (GTG-R001811).
274 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Ken Mehlman (Oct. 26, 2001) (GTG-R001854).
275 E-mail from Susan Ralston to Jack Abramoff (Oct. 30, 2001) (GTG-R001840).
276 E-mail exchange between Susan Ralston to Jack Abramoff (Oct. 31, 2001) (GTG-R001836);
E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Susan Ralston (Oct. 26, 2001) (GTG-R001851)
(phone conversation between Abramoff and Mehlman noted within this e-mail
277 Shawn Zeller, For K Street, Good Times in a Bad Year, NAT’L JOURNAL, Oct. 19,
2002, Vol. 34, No. 42. (Abramoff loses longtime client, CNMI, when they elected a new
government and decided against retaining Abramoff.)
- 62 -?you have more weight there. If possible, could I also be included on the Insular Affairs
transition team at Interior?”278 Reed replied, “be happy to.”279 Abramoff received the
appointment to the transition team for the Department of the Interior that he sought.280
7. Juan Carlos Benitez’s DOJ Appointment
On one occasion, the White House made a permanent appointment advocated by
the Abramoff team. According to the e-mail documents, Abramoff sought the
appointment of Juan Carlos Benitez to be Special Counsel for Immigration-Related
Unfair Employment Practices at the Department of Justice, and the President appointed
Benitez to that position. On March 21, 2001, Abramoff wrote that he was “able to get . . .
to Rove” the resume of Juan Carlos Benitez.281 Three months later, President Bush
announced he would appoint Benitez to be the Special Counsel for Immigration-Related
Unfair Employment Practices at the Justice Department.282 This position gave Benitez
authority over enforcing provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act and
conducting investigations relating to alleged unfair employment practices,283 issues of
importance to Abramoff clients such as the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana
8. Appointments Allegedly Quashed
The documents also describe efforts by the Abramoff team to urge the White
House to block appointments they opposed. In one instance, documents reflect that
Abramoff enlisted Ralph Reed to advocate against the nomination of Angela Williams to
be the head of the Office of Insular Affairs in the Department of the Interior, which has
authority over decisions affecting the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
On February 21, 2001, after learning that Williams was interviewing for the OIA
278 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Ralph Reed (Jan. 2, 2001) (GTG-R00587).
279 E-mail from Ralph Reed to Jack Abramoff (Jan. 2, 2001) (GTG-R00587).
280 Susan Schmidt and James V. Grimaldi, The Fast Rise and Steep Fall of Jack
Abramoff, WASH. POST, at A1 (Dec. 29, 2005).
281 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Juan Carlos Benitez (Mar. 21, 2001) (GTG-R000831).
282 Press Release, White House Office of the Press Secretary, President Bush to Nominate
Three Individuals to Serve in His Administration (June 1, 2001) (stating the President’s
intention to nominate Juan Carlos Benitez).
283 See Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices,
Overview of the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment
Practices (online at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/osc/htm/WebOverview2005.htm).
- 63 -?position, Abramoff wrote to Ralph Reed, “We need to stop her. She is anti-CNMI.”284
Abramoff followed up on March 1, 2001, writing: “Just had a meeting with the guy
[who] is going in as Asst Sec for Interior. He said that we need to get to Jody Arrington
to knock out Angie Williams and fast. Can you get to him?”285 At the time, Arrington
was the Associate Director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel. Reed
responded: “have a call into him this a.m. will report back.”286
In a December 7, 2001, e-mail to Abramoff, Reed reported: “talked to rove about
this and i think i killed it. he’s on it. keep this between us, don’t want to raise
expectations, but i banged on this one hard.”287 Williams was not nominated to the
In another example, Abramoff e-mailed his team on December 4, 2002, that the
appointment of Keller George to the position of Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs at the
Department of the Interior “would be a disaster.”288 Later that day, Abramoff sent a
follow-up e-mail to his team, announcing: “Just killed it.”289 Greenberg’s Michael
Williams replied: “Casinojack strikes again!!”290
9. Removal of State Department Official Allen Stayman
The documents also reflect that the Abramoff team urged White House officials,
including Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman, to intervene to remove from office a State
Department employee, Allen Stayman, who opposed their efforts in the Commonwealth
of the Northern Mariana Islands. Todd Boulanger wrote, “It will be a great day when
stayman is whacked.”291 Stayman was let go from his State Department post.
284 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Ralph Reed (Feb. 21, 2001) (GTG-R006628).
285 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Ralph Reed (Mar. 1, 2001) (GTG-R006628).
287 E-mail from Ralph Reed to Jack Abramoff (Dec. 7, 2001) (GTG-R000504).
288 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Kevin Ring, Todd Boulanger, and DCCasino group
(Dec. 4, 2002) (GTG-R005897A).
290 E-mail from Michael Williams to Jack Abramoff (Dec. 4, 2002) (GTG-R005897A).
291 E-mail from Todd Boulanger to Kevin Ring, Jack Abramoff, et al. (June 14, 2001)
- 64 -?Stayman was an official in the Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular
Affairs during the 1990s who advocated labor reforms for the Commonwealth of the
Northern Mariana Islands that Abramoff opposed on behalf of his client, which was the
Commonwealth.292 Beginning in 1999, Stayman served in the State Department as chief
negotiator for the compacts of free association then under negotiation regarding the
Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia.293 Stayman was serving in a
position known as a “term SES appointment,” in which government officials are hired for
renewable one-year terms to focus on a particular task. Stayman submitted the required
paperwork for a third term in early 2001 with the support of his superiors at the State
Department. According to Stayman, the compact negotiations for which he had been
hired were expected to be completed within the next two years.294
In an e-mail exchange on January 29, 2001, Tony Rudy informed Kevin Ring:
“We need to get the background material on stayman to ken mehlman,” adding “He said
he would kill him.”295 When Ring responded, “What???” Rudy said, “Mehlman said he
would get him fired.”296
On March 12, 2001, Abramoff received an e-mail from his associate Kevin Ring
laying out the “core issues for CNMI.”297 Among them was the “Stayman project,” of
which Ring said he had “made political affairs at WH aware.”298 Two months later, Ring
reported to Abramoff that Matt Schlapp in the White House Office of Political Affairs
had told a mutual friend that “obviously, this guy can’t stay.”299
Stayman says that in May or June 2001, sometime after he had filed his
paperwork to extend his tenure, his superior at the Department of State, who was among
those who had approved Stayman’s application for an extension, informed Stayman that
politics had been brought into the decision, which Stayman took to mean White House
292 William Branigin, U.S. Territory's Lobbyist Detailed Plans Against Interior Dept.
Office, WASH. POST, Mar. 31, 1998, at A15.
293 Interview with Allen Stayman by Staff of H. Comm. on Gov. Reform, 109 th Cong.
(Sept. 28, 2006) [hereinafter Stayman Interview].
294 Stayman Interview; see also Marshalls Compact Negotiations Set for Aug., Agence
France Press, July 6, 2001.
295 E-mail exchange between Tony Rudy and Kevin Ring (Jan. 29, 2001) (GTG-R00606).
297 E-mail from Kevin Ring to Jack Abramoff (Mar. 12, 2001) (GTG-R006230).
299 E-mail from Kevin Ring to Jack Abramoff (May 4, 2001) (GTG-R006278) (with the
subject heading “Stayman”).
- 65 -?involvement, and as a result Stayman’s appointment would not be renewed.300 He said
that the State Department then negotiated a transition period of four months to enable him
to train a replacement.301
Consistent with this account, in a July 9, 2001, e-mail exchange, Susan Ralston
reported to Abramoff that the Office of Presidential Personnel and the State Department
had “worked out a deal” and that Stayman would “be out in 4 months.”302
According to the documents produced to the Committee, a significant part of the
lobbying Abramoff and his associates engaged in was in relation to presidential
appointments. There are 20 or more instances where Abramoff or one of his colleagues
claimed to have weighed in with administration officials on appointments, nominations,
or awards – or told applicants that they were going to weigh in – and were not successful.
In 12 of these cases, the documents provide evidence that Abramoff or his colleagues
were in contact with the White House regarding the applicants. In eight cases, the
documents demonstrate that Abramoff or his colleagues offered to help the applicants in
their efforts to reach the White House, but do not indicate whether they followed through
on these offers.
According to the documents, the individuals for whom Abramoff advocated
appointment or nomination include:
• Tim Martin, executive director of the United South and Eastern Tribes, to
the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the Department of Interior;
• Mark Zachares, a former official with the Commonwealth of the Northern
Mariana Islands, to the Office of Insular Affairs in the Department of
Glen Nager, a lawyer, to a federal judgeship;
• Harvey Sherzer to be a federal judge on the United States Court of
300 Stayman Interview.
302 E-mail from Susan Ralston to Jack Abramoff (July 9, 2001) (GTG-R000208); E-mail
from Susan Ralston to Jack Abramoff (July 9, 2001) (GTG-R000207).
303 E-mail exchange between Jack Abramoff and Harvey Sherzer (Nov. 20-25, 2002)
- 66 -?• Brad Keena to be a compact negotiator;304
• John Ring for a Department of Labor position;305
• Lee Forsgren to be Assistant Secretary of the Army;306
• Peter Ferrara to the Insular Affairs post at Interior;307
• Arnold Leibowitz to be a compact negotiator;308
• Duane Gibson for a White House position;309 and
• Dennis Stephens to be chief of staff to Secretary of the Interior Gale
None of these individuals appear to have received the positions advocated by
1. Mark Zachares – Office of Insular Affairs
According to the documents, Abramoff lobbied hard for Mark Zachares, a former
secretary of labor for the Northern Mariana government, to be appointed director of the
Office of Insular Affairs within the Department of Interior. Given Abramoff’s insular
304 E-mail exchange between Jack Abramoff, Brad Keena, and Susan Ralston (Jan. 25,
305 E-mail exchange between Jack Abramoff and Kevin Ring (Jan. 16-17, 2001) (GTG-R000597);
E-mail exchange between Jack Abramoff and Kevin Ring (Mar. 7, 2001)
306 E-mail from Duane Gibson to Matt Schlapp (June 25, 2002) (GTG-R001781).
307 E-mail exchange between Peter Ferrara, Jack Abramoff, and Ilisa Gertner (Jan. 8,
308 E-mail exchange between Jack Abramoff, Tony Rudy, and Arnold Leibowitz (June
15, 2001) (GTG-R000770); E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Susan Ralston (June 26, 2001)
309 E-mail exchange between Jack Abramoff and Duane Gibson (Dec. 28, 2000) (GTG-R000586).
310 E-mail exchange between Dennis Stephens and Jack Abramoff (Dec. 19, 2000); E-mail
from Jack Abramoff to Dennis Stephens (Jan. 17, 2001) (GTG-R000592); E-mail
from Jack Abramoff to Ralph Reed (Feb. 1, 2001) (GTG-R000633); E-mail from Ralph
Reed to Jack Abramoff (Feb. 2, 2001) (GTG-R000672).
- 67 -?territorial clients and potential clients, such as the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam,
the appointment of the director of the Office of Insular Affairs would greatly affect his
business. In an e-mail to his associates, Abramoff, describes the Zachares appointment as
“critical. We must get him this job if possible.”311
The documents indicate that Abramoff vigorously pressed Zachares’s case. In
2001, the efforts included a March 6, 2001, meeting with Karl Rove,312 a “ten-minute”
conversation on August 28, 2001, between Kevin Ring and Associate Director of the
Office of Presidential Personnel Jodey Arrington,313 and a December 10, 2001,
discussion of the issue with Ken Mehlman at the White House.314
In a November 28, 2001 e-mail to Ralston, Abramoff wrote:
Any use to my trying to get a meeting or quick phone call with
Karl to ask his intervention in getting Zachares hired? They want
to hire him . . . . They just need to move forward and would do so
if Karl would push them. Not having him in this position is
starting to really kill us.315
Ralston responded: “I don’t think it is necessary. PPO knows Zach is a push already for
KR. Let me chk something and get back to you.”316
Kevin Ring prepared a briefing memorandum on the position. Ring states the
is responsible for coordinating federal policy for the territories,
e.g., Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) . . . .
The OIA is a place that has the potential to be a beacon of
compassionate conservatism . . . . Of the candidates currently
under consideration for OIA Director, only one can implement that
vision: Mark Zachares. . . . His knowledge and empathy earned
311 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Kevin Ring et al. (Feb. 23, 2001) (GTG-R000632).
312 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Dennis Stephens (Mar. 6, 2001) (reporting on the
meeting with Rove) (GTG-R000694).
313 E-mail from Kevin Ring to Jack Abramoff (Aug. 28, 2001) (GTG-R001829).
314 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Mark Zachares (Dec. 11, 2001) (GTG-R000004-5)
(reporting “I was at the WH last night and the political director came up to me and said
‘we are going to get your guy the position no matter what’”).
315 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Susan Ralston (Nov. 28, 2001) (GTG-R000540).
- 68 -?him such respect and support in his adopted home of the CNMI
that he was chosen to be the first non-indigenous Director of Labor
and Immigration in the CNMI.317
In January 2002, one year and two months after the Greenberg team began
lobbying for the appointment of Zachares, the OIA position had yet to be filled.
Abramoff wrote to Kevin Ring, “I am really pissed at this point. They are positioning
this to get it to Radewagen. A-holes.”318
Zachares was not appointed.
2. Peter Ferrara – Office of Insular Affairs
In December 2001, Susan Ralston e-mailed Jack Abramoff that while Zachares
was still “in the mix” for the Office of Insular Affairs position, “red flags” remained for
his candidacy.319 Abramoff responded by suggesting Peter Ferrara, a veteran of various
conservative think tank organizations, as an alternative candidate. In pushing for Ferrara,
Abramoff told Ralston, “my [replacement] candidate would be Peter Ferrara. He feels
very badly that he did not get anything in the administration . . . . My thought was that
this could be a great compromise for OIA, and we would find something else for Mark
[Zachares] . . . .”320
It was later reported that Abramoff had paid Ferrara to write op-eds favoring his
Ferrara was not appointed.
3. Tim Martin – Bureau of Indian Affairs
According to the documents, Abramoff repeatedly advocated the appointment of
Tim Martin, executive director of the United South and Eastern Tribes, as Assistant
Secretary, Bureau of Indian Affairs within the Department of Interior.322
317 E-mail from Kevin Ring to Jack Abramoff and Tony Rudy (Feb. 26, 2001) (GTG-R001820).
318 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Kevin Ring and Tony Rudy (Jan. 30, 2002) (GTG-R000045).
319 E-mail from Susan Ralston to Jack Abramoff (Dec. 19, 2001) (GTG-R000550-551).
321 Eamon Javers, Op-Eds for Sale, BUS. WK., Dec. 16, 2005, available at,
- 69 -?In a February 6, 2001, e-mail to several of the firm’s lobbyists, Shawn Vasell
wrote, “Other assignments from meeting: J. Abramoff/S. Ralston can get Tim’s name to
Rove (Jack, I believe you have already given it to Rove and Reed); Jim Miller to get
Tim’s materials to Norton . . . . Tony will contact Mehlman regarding Tim.”323 Later
that month, Vasell wrote to Abramoff, “Tim can be in DC on Thursday if we think it is
necessary. . . . This is why we need to know his status at the WH.”324
Martin was not named Assistant Secretary. He remained at his post as executive
director of United South and Eastern Tribes Inc. until August of this year. He is now
serving as president of Creek Indian Enterprises.
4. Dennis Stephens – Dep’t of Interior Posts (various)
The documents reflect that Abramoff pushed for the appointment of Dennis
Stephens to a post at the Department of Interior. Stephens, a former staffer to Majority
Leader Armey and former Abramoff colleague at the Preston Gates law firm, asked for
help with the White House. He wrote, “I am starting to get a good feeling about this
effort…I think we still need a Rove contact to Sec Norton to finalize it and assure her that
she will get credit with the White House for hiring me.”325
In March, 2001, one month later, Stephens wrote Abramoff asking, “Is this the
big day? The day you talk to Rove and with the incoming Asst Sec? I would be pleased
to serve as a Dep Asst Sec and assist him in his efforts. Let me know how your meetings
go. Obviously, I am available at any time to meet this Asst Sec guy to pitch myself.”326
Stephens followed up in a subsequent e-mail:
If the Asst Sec can be reasoned with and persuaded that I am the
perfect guy to be his right hand DAS, then Rove would just be
322 See, e.g., E-mail exchange between Shawn Vasell, Kevin Ring, Padgett Wilson, et al.
(Feb. 6, 2001) (discussing strategy for advancing Tim Martin nomination) (GTG-R001231-
32); E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Shawn Vasell et al. (Feb. 27, 2001) (noting
that he will see Rove soon and indicating he will ask about the status of Tim Martin)
(GTG-R001264); E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Rodney Lane (Mar. 6, 2001) (asking
Lane to print out an agenda for Abramoff’s meeting with Rove that includes the item
“pro free market Indian agenda – Tim Martin”) (GTG-R000709).
323 E-mail from Shawn Vasell to Tony Rudy, Todd Boulanger, Alan Slomowitz, Padgett
Wilson, Kevin Ring, and Jack Abramoff (Feb. 6, 2001) (GTG-R001531).
324 E-mail from Shawn Vassell to Jack Abramoff (Feb. 26, 2001) (GTG-R001264).
325 E-mail from Dennis Stephens to Jack Abramoff (Feb. 1, 2001) (GTG-R000637).
326 E-mail from Dennis Stephens to Jack Abramoff (Mar. 1, 2001) (GTG-R000732).
- 70 -?icing on the cake and grease it through the White House. That is
the key. We don’t want me to be jammed into the office of this
guy against his will. Probably wouldn’t work anyway. But if I am
the guys choice . . . and then his choice is ratified by the White
House/Rove, then this would be the smoothest personnel move
made this year. It is a small thing, but I think you are the perfect
person to convince this guy. My confidence in you knows no
Abramoff colorfully responded, “I just hope I don’t have to put a horse
head in his bed! Good thinking on this by the way.”328
Stephens updated Abramoff on April 30, 2001, about three positions for which he
was “currently in the mix,” writing:
Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary (Steve Griles –Intent, but
not formally nominated)
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Resources (both of these
DAS’s report to the Asst Sec for Policy Management and Budget
(Lynn Scarlet, Intent, but not formally nominated).329
Evidently, Stephens was not selected for any of these administration posts. He
has remained at Preston Gates from 1995 to the present.330
5. Glen Nager – Federal Judgeship (D.C.)
The documents indicate that Jack Abramoff also approached the White House in
support of attorney Glen Nager’s efforts to secure a position as a federal judge. Nager
was a frequent e-mailer to Abramoff. His e-mail was sometimes lengthy. On March 8,
2001, Nager wrote to Abramoff saying, “it seems to me that the goal here is to make the
case that I should be the next court of appeals nominee.”331
329 E-mail from Dennis Stephens to Jack Abramoff (Apr. 30, 20010 (GTG-R006808).
330 Dennis Stephens-Preston Gates & Ellis L.L.P. Biography,
http://www.prestongates.com/people/profile.asp?id=92, (last viewed Sept. 18, 2006).
According to his Preston Gates law firm, he has been with the firm since 1995.
331 E-mail from Glen Nager to Jack Abramoff (Mar. 8, 2001) (GTG-R000662).
- 71 -?Two days earlier, Nager had also written him saying, “I talked to Viet [Dinh]. He
was very supportive. He was glad to be briefed on the situation.” Three paragraphs later,
Nager reported, “[i]nterestingly, after we had talked for a while, he insisted upon cutting
the conversation off. . . . I indicated that I agreed with him completely.”332 Abramoff
responded to Nager claiming that he had just had a “Great meeting with Karl. . . . I told
him that you should be on the Court of Appeals and that you would be perfect to move up
to the Supreme Court in the second term.”333
Nine months later, after being passed over for the United States Court of Appeals
for the D.C. Circuit, Nager wrote to Abramoff:
they will make a selection to fill the opening created by Judge
Jackson’s retirement in the second week of January. I have it on
very solid source that I am the DOJ candidate and that Ashcroft is
firmly behind me. I also have it on somewhat less certain source
that Gonzales is arguing for a female, since the first three district
court nominees have been male. (As you recall, they added a black
male to bump me in the first go round).334
Glen Nager was not nominated to serve on the federal bench. Nager remains at
the Jones Day law firm where he heads the appellate practice.335
6. Arnold Leibowitz – Negotiator, Micronesian Compacts
On June 26, 2001, Abramoff e-mailed Susan Ralston to suggest Arnold Leibowitz
for the position of Lead Negotiator for the Micronesian Compacts.336 Including his
resume, Abramoff described Leibowitz as someone he had worked with for a “number of
years,” “in connection with the applicability of various federal laws to the Northern
Leibowitz was not selected.
332 E-mail from Glen Nager to Jack Abramoff (Mar. 6. 2001) (GTG-R000697).
334 E-mail from Glen Nager to Jack Abramoff (Dec. 22, 2001) (GTG-R000524).
335 Glen Nager – Jones Day Biography, http://www.jonesday.com/gdnager/ (last visited
Sept. 27, 2006).
336 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Susan Ralston (June 26, 2001) (GTG-R002405).
- 72 -?7. Choctaw Chief Phillip Martin – Presidential Medal of
In January 2003, Abramoff wrote to Jack Oliver, Deputy Chairman of the
Republican National Committee, about “the possibility of having Chief Phillip Martin of
the Choctaws receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. As I am sure you know, he has
been a HUGE supporter financially, politically, and philosophically. It would be a great
act for the President, recognizing the nation’s leading tribal chief.”338
Chief Martin was not among the 2003 recipients.
According to the documents, the Abramoff team tried again in 2004 to secure the
Presidential Medal of Freedom for Chief Martin. On February 3, 2004, Todd Boulanger
e-mailed Susan Ralston, “I believe Chief Martin is seriously being considered for a
Presidential Medal given all that he has done for the Choctaw people . . . . I wouldn’t ask
you to mention something to Barry [Jackson, a Rove staffer] if it was anyone else other
than the chief, but in this case, I wish you would.”339
Chief Martin was not among the recipients in 2004.
8. Joseph Lynch – Federal Housing Authority
On January 27, 2001, Abramoff told his Greenberg colleague, Edward Wallace,
that he would forward the resume of Joseph Lynch to Karl Rove for consideration.340
Lynch was Commissioner of the New York State Division of Housing and Community
Renewal (DHCR) at the time, and he was seeking a position with the Federal Housing
Authority. Abramoff responded that, upon receipt of Lynch’s resume, “I’ll get it to Karl
Lynch was not named to lead the Federal Housing Authority. He retired from his
position with the State of New York in June of that year, and is currently the Senior Vice
President for a real estate development and management company.342
338 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Jack Oliver (Jan. 10, 2003) (GTG-R005130).
339 E-mail from Todd Boulanger to Susan Ralston (Feb. 3, 2004) (GTG-R005272).
340 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Edward Wallace (Jan. 27, 2001) (GTG-R000629).
342 Joseph B. Lynch – Millennial Housing Commission Biography,
http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/mhc/commish.html (last viewed on Sept. 15, 2006).
- 73 -?9. Lynn Drake – Commissioner, FDA
According to the documents, Abramoff pushed for Lynn A. Drake, M.D., to be
named to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Jack Abramoff wrote to Susan
Ralston on October 4, 2001 to inquire about the status of this “possible FDA
Commissioner nominee,” attaching Drake’s resume and supporting materials.343 The
next day, Ralston informed Abramoff that Drake was “not under serious
Dr. Drake was not nominated for the position of Commissioner.
10. Duane Gibson – White House Staff
In December 2000, Duane Gibson, who would later join Greenberg ’s lobbying
practice, was seeking a position at the White House. On December 28, 2000, Abramoff
told Gibson, “your resume must have been placed in a dozen hands at or near the top by
now . . . I have a call into Karl Rove. We are turning up the juice.”345
Gibson was not named to the White House staff. He remained at Greenberg for a
number of years, and now lobbies for the Livingston Group.346
11. Erin Hass – White House Staff
Todd Boulanger apparently offered advice and support to Erin Hass in her efforts
to obtain a White House staff job. Hass, a staffer at the Senate Committee on
Environment and Public Works, notified Boulanger and others that she was not selected.
She expressed her thanks for their help and thanked her “peeps” for their
“support/advice.”347 Boulanger replied, “I hoped they’d offer it to you.348
343 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Susan Ralston (Oct 4, 2001) (GTG-R000305).
345 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Duane Gibson (Dec. 28, 2000) (GTG-R000586).
346 Duane Gibson-Livingston Group Biography,
347 E-mail from Erin Hass to Todd Boulanger et al. (Oct 10, 2001) (GTG-R003940-41).
348 E-mail from Todd Boulanger to Erin Hass (Oct 10, 2001) (GTG-R003940).
- 74 -?12. George Lowe – Assistant Secretary, Financial
Institutions, Treas. Dep’t
On March 22, 2002 Abramoff told George Lowe that he would be “delighted” to
press Lowe’s case for a Department of Treasury slot, Assistant Secretary of Financial
Institutions, saying, “I would be delighted to raise this with Karl Rove and Ken
Mehlman. Get me the info and your resume and I’ll take care of it.”349
Lowe was not named Assistant Secretary.
13. Lee Forsgren – Assistant Secretary for the Army
On June 25, 2002, Duane Gibson wrote Matt Schlapp at the White House about
Lee Forsgren saying Forsgren, “is up for the Assistant Secretary of the Army having
responsibility over the civil works program at the Corps of Engineers.” Further he states,
“you guys would be wise to select Lee.”350
Forsgren was not nominated.
14. Patricia Staiano – U.S. Trustee, 3d Cir. (reappointment)
On September 25, 2001, Abramoff sent an e-mail in which he committed to push
for Patricia Staiano’s re-appointment as United States Trustee for the Third Circuit,
writing, “I’ll try to put another call into Karl . . . .”351
Staiano was not re-appointed.
15. Harvey Sherzer – Judge, U.S. Court of Claims
On November 20, 2002, Abramoff wrote Susan Ralston about Greenberg partner
Harvey Sherzer, who was seeking an appointment to the United States Court of Federal
Claims. Abramoff said, “Harvey Sherzer from our office is close to Shelly Kamins and
me and an activist Jewish Republican. He is one of the finalists for the open slot on the
349 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to George Lowe, Van Scoyoc Associates (Mar. 22, 2002)
350 E-mail from Duane Gibson to Matt Schlapp (June 25, 2002) (GTG-R001781).
351 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Keith Shapio, Greenberg Traurig (Sept. 25, 2001)
- 75 -?US Court of Federal Claims. . . . [C]an you pass on to [Karl Rove] that both of us hope
Harvey would be considered.”352
Sherzer was not appointed and now practices law at the Dickstein Shapiro law
16. Donald Carr – Environmental Protection Agency
On December 18, 2002, Abramoff sent an e-mail in which he committed to “call
over to Karl’s office” in order to push for an appointment for Donald Carr at the
Environmental Protection Agency.354
Carr was not named to an EPA post. Carr was, and still is, a partner in the
Environmental Law and Land Use practice group at the Pillsbury Winthrop law firm.355
17. John Ring – Federal Salary Council
According to the documents, Kevin Ring inquired on behalf of his brother, John
Ring, about an appointment to the Federal Salary Council at the Department of Labor.
Kevin Ring e-mailed Ralston in January 2003, writing, “Turns out my brother isn’t sure
Karl signed off on his appointment as Chairman of the Federal Salary Council or not. I
am trying to figure out where it stands. Can you ask around when you get a moment?”356
Ralston replied: “According to Matt Schlapp, they’ve ‘pushed back’ on your brother, but
we’re still pressing on it.”357
One year later, Kevin Ring e-mailed Jack Oliver, an official with Bush-Cheney
2004. Oliver informed Ring that his brother’s appointment was stalled. “We are getting
352 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Susan Ralston (Nov. 20, 2002) (GTG-R001020).
353 Harvey Sherzer – Dickstein Shapiro L.L.P. Biography,
http://www.dicksteinshapiro.com/sherzerh/ (last visited Sept. 28, 2006).
354 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Peter Gillon, Greenberg Traurig (Dec. 18, 2002) (GTG-R000144).
355 Donald Carr-Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman L.L.P. Biography,
http://www.pillsburylaw.com/donald.carr (last visited 9/18/06).
356 E-mail from Kevin Ring to Susan Ralston (Jan. 27, 2003) (GTG-R001595).
- 76 -?push back,” Oliver reports.358 John Ring was a lawyer with the Morgan Lewis law firm
at the time of both of these e-mails, and he remains there today as a partner of the firm.359
Ring was not named to the Federal Salary Council, or any other position at the
Department of Labor.
18. Chuck Brooks – Director, Export-Import Bank
On January 9, 2003, Abramoff was advised by Chuck Brooks that he was “on the
short list for the appointment to the Board of Directors at Export Import Bank.”
Responding, Abramoff committed, “I’ll weigh in with Karl as soon as I can get him.”360
Chuck Brooks was not named to the Export-Import Bank’s board.
19. Mike Bregman – ATF Director
The documents indicate that Abramoff supported Mike Bregman to head the
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). E-mailing colleague
Michael Williams in December 2001, Abramoff reported “I saw Rove on Friday and he
asked if we could have LaPierre call him and confirm that Mike Bregman (our guy) is the
guy he wants.”361 Abramoff asked Williams if he could arrange for Wayne LaPierre of
the NRA to contact the White House on Bregman’s behalf.
Bregman was not named to lead ATF.
20. David Baker – Federal Judgeship (Jacksonville)
In a February 18, 2004, e-mail, Kevin Ring offered to help Magistrate Judge
David Baker attain the position of District Judge for the United States District Court for
the Middle District of Florida. He told Baker he would “talk to Karl Rove’s assistant
358 E-mail from Jack Oliver, Bush-Cheney 2004 to Kevin Ring (Jan. 28, 2004) (GTG-R001570).
359 John Ring – Morgan Lewis & Bockius L.L.P. Biography,
fuseaction/people.viewBio (last visited 9/18/06).
360 E-mail exchange between Jack Abramoff and Chuck Brooks (Jan. 9, 2003) (GTG-R000168).
361 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Michael Williams (Dec. 6, 2003) (GTG-R004355).
- 77 -?who will help.” At the time Baker was serving as a Magistrate judge – a position he
VI. Meals, Drinks, and Tickets
The documents received by the Committee contain multiple references to meals
that Abramoff and his associates had with White House officials. They also describe
tickets to sporting events and concerts that Abramoff and his associates offered to White
House officials. The documents describe 170 meetings over meals and 16 meetings over
drinks with White House officials, 156 of which Abramoff billed to his clients. The e-mails
describe 19 events to which Abramoff or his associates offered tickets to White
House officials, including Wizards and Capitals games and U2 and Bruce Springsteen
concerts. At current prices, the face value of some of the tickets exceeded $1,000.
A. Meals and Drinks
The billing records and e-mails indicate that the Abramoff team billed their clients
for 186 breakfasts, lunches, dinners, or drinks with White House officials between
January 2001 and March 2004. In 156 of these instances the Abramoff team billed their
clients for the meal and drink expenses. According to the billing records, 140 of these
bills were for meals with White House officials, and 16 were for drinks. The 186
instances of lobbying White House officials during meals or drinks comprise 40 percent
of the lobbying contacts recorded in the documents.
In some instances, there are e-mails or other documents that provide corroborating
evidence of meals and drinks with White House officials recorded in the billing
records.363 In numerous instances, there is no corroborating evidence in the documents
received by the Committee.
In the vast majority of instances in which meals or drinks with White House
officials were billed to clients, the documents provide no indication whether the White
House officials paid for their own food or drinks or were treated by the Abramoff team.
362 E-mail from Kevin Ring to Michael Hornreich and Joe Reeder (Feb. 18, 2004) (GTG-R006439).
363 For example, the billing records indicate that Kevin Ring billed the Choctaw and the
Saginaw Chippewa a combined total of $93.38 for “Lunch with White House official at
Morton’s of Chicago” on Mar. 27, 2003. Choctaw Billing Records (GTG-003502-ACCT-CW);
Saginaw Chippewa Billing Records (GTG-000259-ACCT-SG). In an e-mail to
Sandia Governor Stuwart Paisano that day, Kevin Ring noted that he “had lunch with
Jennifer Farley today.” E-mail from Kevin Ring to Stuwart Paisano (Mar. 27, 2003)
- 78 -?The total cost of the meals and drinks with White House officials, as billed to
Abramoff’s clients, was $24,930.03. Examples of specific billings include the following:
• On February 21, 2002, Neil Volz billed $300 for “Dinner at Shelly’s Back Room
with White House staff.”364
• On June 12, 2002, Tony Rudy billed $384 for “Dinner at Angelo & Maxie’s with
White House staffers.”365
• On December 31, 2001, Kevin Ring billed $174.32 for “Lunch at Bobby Van's
Steakhouse with White House official.”366
• On May 16, 2003, Padgett Wilson billed $222.93 for “Dinner at Bobby Van's
Steakhouse with White House policy and Rules Committee staff.”367
The most frequently visited restaurant was Signatures, which was owned by
Abramoff. The Abramoff team billed over $8,000 for 25 meals and events at Signatures
with White House officials. The single most expensive billing, which was for $2,421.33,
occurred at Signatures on June 7, 2003, for “dinner & beverages at Signatures with
House, Senate, & White House staff.”368
Other restaurants frequently used by the Abramoff team to entertain White House
officials included Bistro Bis (18 meals), Oval Room (14 meals), The Dubliner (12 meals),
Bobby Van’s Steakhouse (8 meals), Morton’s of Chicago (6 meals), Bombay Club (6
meals), Oceanaire (4 meals), and Ten Penh (4 meals).
Not all of the meals recorded in the billing records were expensive ones.
Stephanie K. Leger incurred a $12 bill for “beverages” with “White House Staff” at
364 Choctaw Billing Records (Feb. 21, 2002) (GTG003857-ACCT-CW).
365 Choctaw Billing Records (June 12, 2002) (GTG003781-ACCT-CW) (two separate
bills for $27.25 and $357.51).
366 Choctaw Billing Records (December 31, 2001) (GTG003954-ACCT-CW); Coushatta
Billing Records (July 2, 2001) (GTG002333-ACCT-CS).
367 Agua Caliente Choctaw Billing Records (May 16, 2003) (GTG004565-ACCT-AC);
Choctaw Billing Records (May 16, 2003) (GTG003453-ACCT-CW).
368 Coushatta Billing Records (June 7, 2003) (GTG001865-ACCT-CS) (noting $807.11
billed to the Coushatta tribe); Saginaw Chippewa Billing Records (June 7, 2003)
(GTG000229-ACCT-SG) (noting $807.11 billed to the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe); Agua
Caliente Billing Records (June 7, 2003) (GTG005043-ACCT-AC) (noting $807.11 billed
to the Agua Caliente Tribe).
- 79 -?Tortilla Coast, a Capitol Hill restaurant.369 Kevin Ring billed $11.94 for a Cosi sandwich
lunch with a “White House official.”370 Other inexpensive billings include Brigham
Pierce’s $7.30 lunch at Baja Fresh and his $8.99 meal at Au Bon Pain, both with “White
There is evidence to suggest that at least some White House officials did pay for
themselves. In an exchange between Kevin Ring and Jennifer Farley attempting to set up
lunch, Ring wrote, “Lunch Friday? … Same place? … I know you insist on paying for
your own meal.”372 There is also evidence to suggest that some White House officials
were offered free meals or drinks. In a December 12, 2002, e-mail to his staff at
Signatures, Abramoff explicitly instructed the staff to “comp” dinner for Matt Kirk in the
White Office of Legislative Affairs and his father.373 As discussed above, Abramoff
instructed his staff in another e-mail to provide Rove with “a very nice bottle of wine …
on the house.”374
B. Shawn Vasell’s Meals and Drinks
According to the billing records, Shawn Vasell lobbied the White House on 213
occasions. Of these billed-for lobbying efforts, 108 involved a meal or drinks. Of the
186 meals or drinks with White House officials billed in the billing records, over 55
percent were meals or drinks billed by Vasell.
The records produced reflect Vasell billed expenses of $12,118 for meals and
drinks, amounting to nearly 50 percent of the total of $24,930 in meal and drink
expenses. Vasell incurred this food and drink tab despite the fact that he was absent for
most of 2002 when he was serving as a Senate staff member in Montana.375
369 Chitimacha Billing Records (Oct. 20, 2001) (GTG018307-ACCT-CM).
370 Agua Caliente Billing Records (Aug. 7, 2002) (GTG004302-ACCT-AC).
371 Coushatta Billing Records (Oct. 27, 2003) (GTG001055-ACCT-CS); Choctaw Billing
Records (May 21, 2003) (GTG003019-ACCT-CW).
372 E-mails from Kevin Ring to Jennifer Farley (Apr. 8, 2003) (GTG-R004560).
373 E-mail from Jack Abramoff to Todd Thrasher, Joseph Hurst, and Peter Silano (Dec.
12, 2002) (stating “Matt Kirk is coming in for dinner tonight with his father and brother.
Please comp them”) (GTG-R002207).
374 E-mail exchange between Rodney Lane and Jack Abramoff (July 5, 2002) (GTG-R006323).
375 Shawn Michael Vasell, Resume (GTG-R004009).
- 80 -?In several instances, the billing records note that other Abramoff lobbyists were
present at the meals and drinks billed by Vasell. In most cases, however, the records do
not indicate whether any other Abramoff lobbyists were present.
According to the documents, Vasell billed clients for meals and drinks at some
expensive restaurants. Among the 108 meals or drinks with White House officials
expensed to his clients were five visits to The Bombay Club,376 seven visits to
Signatures,377 eleven visits to The Dubliner,378 four visits to Oceanaire,379 and three visits
376 Choctaw Billing Records (Apr. 20, 2001) (GTG005292/004182-ACCT-CW/CW);
Coushatta Billing Records (Jan. 13, 2003) (GTG001978-ACCT-CS); Choctaw/Saginaw
Chippewa Billing Records (Jan. 30, 2003) (GTG003560/000533-ACCT-CW/SG);
Coushatta/Saginaw Chippewa Billing Records (Feb. 13, 2003) (GTG001983-ACCT-CS/
SG); Saginaw Chippewa (Oct. 1, 2003) (GTG000096/000095-ACCT-SG).
377 Choctaw/Agua Caliente Billing Records (Jan. 14, 2003)
(GTG003577/005177/003558-ACCT-CW/AC/CW); Choctaw/Coushatta Billing Records
(Jan. 18, 2003) (GTG003558/001978-ACCT-CW/CS); Agua Caliente Billing Records
(Apr. 22, 2003) (GTG004617-ACCT-AC); Saginaw Chippewa/Agua Caliente Billing
Records (June 13, 2003) (GTG000212/004617-ACCT-SG/AC); Chitimacha Billing
Records (July 17, 2003) (GTG018433-ACCT-CM); Choctaw/Saginaw Chippewa Billing
Records (Aug. 25, 2003) (GTG003381/000153-ACCT-CW/SG); Choctaw/Agua
Caliente/Coushatta/Saginaw Chippewa/DH2 Billing Records (Nov. 25, 2003)
(GTG003287-ACCT-CW); Choctaw Billing Records (Jan. 23, 2004)
(GTG003272/003261-ACCT-CW/CW); Choctaw/DH2 Billing Records (Jan. 27, 2004)
378 Choctaw Billing Records (May 24, 2001) (GTG004103-ACCT-CW); Choctaw
Billing Records (June 13, 2001) (GTG004137-ACCT-CW); Choctaw Billing Records
(Aug. 11, 2001) (GTG004037-ACCT-CW); Choctaw Billing Records (Sept. 2, 2001)
(GTG004039-ACCT-CW); Choctaw Billing Records (Oct. 7, 2001) (GTG004013-
ACCT-CW); Choctaw Billing Records (Jan. 24, 2004) (GTG003559-ACCT-CW);
Saginaw Chippewa Billing Records (Sept. 26, 2003) (GTG000095-ACCT-SG); Saginaw
Chippewa Billing Records (Oct. 2, 2003) (GTG000097-ACCT-SG); Choctaw/Saginaw
Chippewa Billing Records (Oct. 25, 2003) (GTG003311/000014-ACCT-CW/SG);
Choctaw Billing Records (Jan. 13, 2004) (GTG003268-ACCT-CW).
379 Coushatta Billing Records (July 13, 2001) (GTG002426-ACCT-CS);
Choctaw/Coushatta Billing Records (July 17, 2001) (GTG004061/002426-ACCT-CW/
CS); Choctaw/Coushatta Billing Records (Oct. 18, 2001) (GTG003981/002368-
ACCT-CW/CS); Choctaw/Coushatta Billing Records (Nov. 5, 2001)
- 81 -?to Bobby Vans.380 According to the billing records, Vasell most often billed for meals or
drinks at Bistro Bis with 18 billed-for visits.381 According to the 2006 Zagat Survey,
Bistro Bis is a stylish operation specializing in “reinterpreted French favorites” and
staffed by “knowledgeable sommelier.”382
On some days, Vasell submitted bills for more than one meal with White House
officials. On February 13, 2003, Vasell billed for meals with White House officials at
both the The Bombay Club and Ruth’s Chris Steak House.383 On November 6, 2003 he,
according to his billing records, discussed “client issues” over a meal at Olives, and then
had a second meal at Bistro Bis that included the “White House Legislative Affairs
380 Choctaw/Coushatta Billing Records (Oct. 30 2001) (GTG003983/002370-ACCT-CW/
CS); Choctaw/Agua Caliente/Saginaw Chippewa Billing Records (Aug. 1, 2003)
Choctaw/Saginaw Chippewa Billing Records (Nov. 14, 2003) (GTG003285/000017-
381 Choctaw Billing Records (Jan. 3, 2003) (GTG003589-ACCT-CW); Coushatta Billing
Records (Jan. 17, 2003) (GTG001978-ACCT-CS); Coushatta/Saginaw
Chippewa/Choctaw Billing Records (Feb. 18, 2003) (GTG001969/000523/003564-
ACCT-CS/SG/CW); Coushatta/Saginaw Chippewa Billing Records (Mar. 10, 2003)
(GTG000466/001917-ACCT-CS/SG); Choctaw/Saginaw Chippewa Billing Records
(Apr. 2, 2003) (GTG003504/000472); Choctaw/Agua Caliente/Coushatta/Saginaw
Chippewa Billing Records (Apr. 4, 2003) (GTG003477/005059/001906/000452/000472-
ACCT-CW/AC/CS/SG); Saginaw Chippewa/Coushatta Billing Records (May 15, 2003)
(GTG000433/001886/001862-ACCT-SG/CS/CS); Coushatta Billing Records (June 6,
2003) (GTG001864-ACCT-CS); Agua Caliente/Coushatta/Saginaw Chippewa Billing
Records (Aug. 26, 2003) (GTG004688/001787/000089-ACCT-AC/CS/SG); Saginaw
Chippewa Billing Records (Sept. 12, 2003) (GTG000091/004690-ACCT-SG/SG);
Choctaw/Saginaw Chippewa Billing Records (Sept. 25, 2003) (GTG003338/000095-
ACCT-CW/SG); Choctaw Billing Records (Oct. 19, 2003) (GTG003329/003345-ACCT-CW/
CW); Coushatta Billing Records (Nov. 6, 2003) (GTG000961/001679-ACCT-CS/
CS); Choctaw Billing Records (December 1, 2003) (GTG003288-ACCT-CW);
Choctaw Billing Records (December 3, 2003) (GTG003288-ACCT-CW);
Choctaw/Coushatta/DH2 Billing Records (Jan. 21, 2004) (GTG003270/001706/026036-
ACCT-CW/CS/DH2); International Interactive Alliance Billing Records (Jan. 27, 2006)
(GTG023637-ACCT-IIA); Choctaw Billing Records (Jan. 31, 2004) (GTG003274-
382 ZAGAT SURVEY: 2006 WASHINGTON, D.C., BALTIMORE RESTAURANTS 27 (Shelly
Gallagher and Betsy Andrews, eds., Zagat Survey, L.L.C. 2005).
383 Coushatta/Saginaw Chippewa Billing Records (Feb. 13, 2003) (GTG001983-ACCT-CS/
SG); Choctaw/Coushatta Billing Records (Feb. 13, 2003) (GTG003564/0001983-
- 82 -?Staff.”384 Vasell also ate while he worked on January 27, 2004, dining at Signatures and
Bistro Bis courtesy of his clients.385 Other examples include:
• On July 17, 2001, Shawn Vasell billed $530.11 for “Lunch at the Oceanaire with
White House Domestic Policy staff.”386
• On April 22, 2003, Shawn Vasell billed $343.85 for “Breakfast at the Willard
Room … with WH Leg Aff staff.”387
• On August 1, 2003, Shawn Vasell billed $683.25 for “Bobby Van’s Steakhouse
with White Legislative Affairs for event.”388
According to the e-mails from Greenberg, Abramoff and his team offered White
House officials tickets to 19 sporting events and concerts. These included tickets for
floor-level seats at Wizards basketball games, ice-level seats at Capitals games, and box
seats at Orioles games, as well as tickets for U2 and Bruce Springsteen concerts.
Abramoff maintained a number of season tickets and suites at several venues
around the Washington area, including FedEx Field, MCI Center and Camden Yards.389
384 Saginaw Chippewa Billing Records (Nov. 6, 2003) (GTG000386/000373-ACCT-SG);
Coushatta Billing Records (Nov. 6, 2003) (GTG000961/001679-ACCT-CS).
385 Choctaw/DH2 Billing Records (Jan. 27, 2004) (GTG003272/026049-ACCT-CW/
DH2); International Interactive Alliance Billing Records (Jan. 27, 2006)
386 Choctaw Billing Records (July 17, 2006) (GTG004061-ACCT-CW) (noting $265.05
billed to the Choctaw Tribe); Coushatta Billing Records (July 17, 2003) (GTG002426-
ACCT-CS) (noting $265.06 billed to the Coushatta Tribe).
387 Choctaw Billing Records (Apr. 22, 2003) (GTG003509-ACCT-CW) (noting $113.42
billed to the Choctaw Tribe); Saginaw Chippewa Billing Records (Apr. 22, 2003)
(GTG000261-ACCT-SG) (noting $113.41 billed to the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe);
Coushatta Billing Records (Apr. 22, 2003) (GTG001894-ACCT-CS) (noting $113.42
billed to the Coushatta Tribe).
388 Choctaw Billing Records (Aug. 1, 2003) (GTG003378-ACCT-CW) (noting $227.75
billed to the Choctaw Tribe); Saginaw Chippewa Billing Records (Aug. 12, 2003)
(GTG000159-ACCT-SG) (noting $227.75 billed to the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe); Agua
Caliente Billing Records (GTG004997-ACCT-AC) (noting $227.75 billed to the Agua
389 “GIMME FIVE” S. COMM. Report at 288.
- 83 -?The tickets and suites were paid for through an entity called Sports Suites, a limited
liability company.390 Abramoff used the boxes extensively in his lobbying practice and
had his clients pay into the Sports Suites entity.391 The Senate Report discussed this as
follows: newsfollowup.com steve francis
For three years, the Choctaw paid into what Abramoff labeled the
“Sports Suites” program: $170,374 in 1999, $233,679 in 2000, and
$223,679 in 2001. Rogers understood that “Sports Suites
company to be a company basically that was a Jack Abramoff
company but that several tribes paid shares into so that the suites
could be used for fundraisers or similar kinds of events.” Abramoff
told Rogers that he would represent the tribal participants as the
owners of the Sports Suites. Rogers said she would find it
objectionable if Abramoff used the Sports Suites boxes for the
benefit of other clients or his family, unless they paid for their use
of the Sports Suites.392
According to the documents, one recipient of the tickets was Karl Rove. In
March 2002, Abramoff and Susan Ralston had the following e-mail exchange about
tickets for Rove in the Abe Pollin box at the MCI Center for the NCAA basketball
Abramoff: Hi Susan. I just saw Karl … and mentioned
the NCAA opportunity, which he was really
jazzed about. If he wants to join us in the
Pollin box, please let me know as soon as
Ralston: Karl is interested in Fri. and Sun. 3 tickets
for his family?
Abramoff: Done. Does he want to go Friday night or
Friday afternoon, or both?393
392 Id. at 36.
393 E-mail exchange between Jack Abramoff, Susan Ralston, and Allison Bozniak (Mar.
12-13, 2002) (GTG-R001113). In the end, it appears that Rove had conflicts on Friday
and went only to the game on Sunday, March 17, 2002. See E-mail from Susan Ralston
to Jack Abramoff (Mar. 13, 2002) (GTG-R001104); Grid for tickets to Sunday, March
17, 2002, NCAA games at the MCI Center, “Pollin’s Suite” (GTG-R006788) (listing
Karl Rove as having been requested by Jack Abramoff); E-mail from Jack Abramoff to
- 84 -?The documents reflect that Rove offered to pay for these tickets. On March 13,
2002, Susan Ralston e-mailed Abramoff that “Karl has to pay for his tickets” to sit in Abe
Pollin’s box for the NCAA basketball tournament game.394 Abramoff responded that the
cost would be $50 per ticket “payable to me personally.”395
There are also e-mail exchanges between Ralston and Abramoff about providing a
suite for a College Republicans event at a Capitals hockey game. Ralston and Abramoff
had the following exchange:
Ralston: KR’s class of college republicans are
interested in renting a suite for a hockey
game. . . . . Would you have the suite
available to buy and how much?
Abramoff: Can’t I donate it? I was a CR too, don’t
forget! :) either way, it’s theirs.
Ralston: Yes but didn’t want to assume. Do you
know Dan Mintz? He is organizing.396
Abramoff subsequently instructed his assistant Holly Bowers to “get the tix for
the 11/9 Caps game in the suite to Susan Ralston, along with parking (save two for me
The most frequent recipient of tickets from Abramoff in the documents is Susan
Ralston, who appears to have received tickets to nine events. According to the
documents, the tickets provided to Ralston were:
unnamed individual (Mar. 18, 2002) (GTG-R001092) (in which Abramoff noted he had
been sitting next to Rove at the NCAA game “yesterday”).
394 E-mail from Susan Ralston to Jack Abramoff (Mar. 13, 2002) (GTG-R001099).
395 E-mail exchange between Jack Abramoff and Susan Ralston (Mar. 13, 2002) (GTG-R001099).
396 E-mail exchange between Susan Ralston, Jack Abramoff, and Holly Bowers (July 30,
397 E-mail exchange between Susan Ralston, Jack Abramoff, and Holly Bowers (July 30,
- 85 -?• December 1, 2001: 4 floor tickets to a Wizards game (in location CC).398
• December 22, 2001: an unknown number of tickets to a Capitals game (in
• June 15, 2002: 2 tickets to an Andrea Bocelli concert with parking.400
• August 10, 2002: 4 tickets to a Bruce Springsteen concert.401
• August 23, 2002: 4 tickets to an Orioles game.402
• November 27, 2002: 4 tickets to a Capitals game, with parking (in section
• February 26, 2003: 4 tickets to a Capitals game.404
398 E-mail exchange between Susan Ralston, Jack Abramoff, Rodney Lane, and Julie
Plocki (Oct. 21, 2001) (in which Ralston requested 4 tickets to a December 1 Wizards
game and Abramoff replied, “You got em,” and then tells Lane and Plocki to “Give her
the CC tix”) (GTG-R000345-346).
399 E-mail exchange between Susan Ralston, Rodney Lane, Jack Abramoff, Ilisa Gertner,
and Courtney Roseman (Oct. 8, 2001, December 1, 2001) (GTG-R000508). Ralston
ultimately did not make it to the game because of work but told Abramoff that “Troy”
(Ralston’s husband) was there “with friends.” E-mail from Susan Ralston to Jack
Abramoff (Dec. 22, 2001) (GTG-R000531).
400 E-mail exchange between Susan Ralston and Jack Abramoff (June 10, 2002) (GTG-R001163)
(noting she wanted to confirm she is “down for 2 seats,” Abramoff responded
yes but wanted to “see if you need parking,” and she responded that she did).
401 E-mail exchange between Susan Ralston, Jack Abramoff, and Holly Bowers (July 26-
29, 2002) (GTG-R000914).
402 E-mail exchange between Susan Ralston, Jack Abramoff, and Holly Bowers (July 26-
29, 2002) (GTG-R000914); E-mail from Susan Ralston to Jack Abramoff (Aug. 24,
2002) (in which Ralston stated “Thanks for the tix to the game last night”) (GTG-R000929).
403 E-mail from Susan Ralston to Jack Abramoff (Nov. 22, 2002) (requesting tickets)
(GTG-R001038); E-mail exchange between Jack Abramoff, Susan Ralston, and Allison
Bozniak (Nov. 22-26, 2002) (discussing getting Ralston tickets for the hockey game on
the 27 th ) (GTG-R001037); E-mail from Susan Ralston to Jack Abramoff (Nov. 27, 2002)
(thanking Abramoff and telling him “We had a great time at the game”) (GTG-R001034).
- 86 -?• January 10, 2004: 4 floor tickets to a Wizards game (in location CC).405
• February 3, 2004: 2 ice-level seats to a Capitals game.406
According to the documents, Abramoff also offered tickets to Ken Mehlman for a
U2 concert on June 15, 2001. When Abramoff learned from his staff that “Ken Mehlman
of the White House apparently wants to go,” but it was unclear if “we can fit 2 more in
for Friday night,” he instructed his staff: “We must.”407 A day before the concert, Ring
e-mailed Abramoff that he would “talk to Mehlman at the concert tomorrow night” about
positions at the Department of Labor.408 The documents do not indicate whether
Mehlman attended, or if he did, whether he paid for his own tickets.
According to the documents, other tickets to sporting events and concerts
Abramoff and his team offered to White House officials were:
• July 7, 2001: 4 or 5 tickets in the Abramoff box to an Orioles game for White
House staff assistant Mary Elizabeth Farr;409
404 E-mail exchange between Susan Ralston and Jack Abramoff (Feb. 1-2, 2003) (in
which Ralston requested either Wizards or Capitals tickets and Abramoff okayed 4
tickets to a Capitals game on Feb. 26) (GTG-R000177).
405 E-mail exchange between Susan Ralston, Jack Abramoff, and Holly Bowers (Nov. 11-
12, 2003) (GTG-R004806-4807).
406 E-mail exchange between Susan Ralston and Jack Abramoff (Jan. 23, 2004) (in which
Ralston asked for two tickets “on the ice” and Abramoff agreed to provide these tickets)
407 E-mail from Kevin Ring to Julie Plocki, cc’d to Jack Abramoff (June 5, 2001) (GTG-R006277);
E-mail exchange between Rodney Lane, Julie Plocki, and Jack Abramoff
(June 5, 2001) (GTG-R006739-40) (including Mehlman in list of intended recipients of
tickets for the June 15, 2001, U2 concert).
408 E-mail from Kevin Ring to Jack Abramoff (June 14, 2001) (GTG-R006369).
409 E-mail exchange between Mary Elizabeth Farr and Padgett Wilson (May 1, 2001, and
May 22, 2001) (in which Wilson asked Farr and others if they were interested in
attending a May 26 Orioles game, informed her he was “holding four tickets for you,”
and Farr responded “Gracias”) (GTG-R002695-2696). The May 26 game was rained out.
See Rain Sets Back Debut For Towers; Washout Likely to Be Rescheduled for July, THE
WASH. POST, May 27, 2001. Padgett Wilson e-mailed several people on June 4, 2001 to
offer tickets to the “Saturday July 7th @ 7:05 pm vs. Philly. I have the box again and
wanted to invite my rainout friends first.” Mary Elizabeth Farr said that she is “in for the
game,” and Wilson offered to “save [her] five tickets.” E-mail exchange between Padgett
Wilson and Mary Elizabeth Farr (June 4, 2001) (GTG-R002799). On July 11, 2001, Farr
- 87 -?• November 14 or 16, 2001: 2 floor tickets to a Wizards game for Matt Kirk of
the White House Office Legislative Affairs and his father (in location CC).410
• March 15, 2002: 1 ticket to the NCAA basketball playoffs for Matt Kirk of the
White House Office of Legislative Affairs.411
• April 1, 2002: 3 tickets to the Orioles’ opening day for Jim Wilkinson, Deputy
Director of Communications for Planning at the White House, and Jennifer
• July 19, 2002: 4 tickets to an Orioles game for Jennifer Farley.413
• April 11, 2002: 2 tickets to a Yanni concert for Jennifer Farley.414
e-mailed Wilson: “Thanks so much for taking us to the O’s game on Saturday.” E-mail
from Mary Elizabeth Farr to Padgett Wilson (July 11, 2001) (GTG-R002822).
410 E-mail exchange between Shawn Vasell, Julie Plocki, and Jack Abramoff (Nov. 5-6,
2001) (in which Vasell said, “I want to take Matt Kirk with WH Leg. Aff. and his father,”
and Abramoff approved “BBB” tickets) (GTG-R006259). Abramoff appeared to then
decide to reserve the BBB tickets for himself and another person, telling his assistant to
“give the CC’s to Shawn for Matt Kirk; E-mail exchange between Jack Abramoff and
Julie Plocki (Nov. 6-7, 2001) (GTG-R002329).
411 E-mail exchange between Tony Rudy and Jack Abramoff (Mar. 11, 2002)
(GTG0R002458) (in which Rudy noted his ticket requests for Matt Kirk to the “Michigan
State game” and Abramoff replied “Great”).
412 E-mail exchange between Allison Bozniak and Kevin Ring (Mar. 27, 2002) (GTG-R004232)
(in which Bozniak asked “who all you gave tickets to” and Ring replied that he
had given tickets to “Jim Wilkinson -- White House” and “Jennifer Farley (2) – White
413 E-mail exchange between Allison Bozniak and Jack Abramoff (July 17, 2002) (in
which Bozniak asked Abramoff for four tickets for Kevin (Ring) for “White House
contact, Jennifer Farley,” and Abramoff replied “Ok, get him tix”) (GTG-R002435).
414 E-mail exchange between Kevin Ring and Allison Bozniak (Feb. 26, 2003)
(requesting tickets for Jennifer Farley) (GTG-R0046605).
- 88 -?• April 16, 2003: 1 ticket to a Capitals playoffs game for Matt Kirk of the White
House Office of Legislative Affairs.415
The tickets White House officials were offered from Abramoff and his team often
had a high face value. The floor seats for Wizards games in location CC are three rows
behind the visitors’ bench and have a per ticket price of $325 in 2006. 416 Thus, the
current value of a set of four CC tickets, such as those Abramoff offered Ralston on
December 1, 2001, and January 10, 2004, is $1,300. The Capitals tickets in section 121
are located just behind the glass and have a value of $70 for season ticket holders like
In many instances, the documents do not indicate whether the White House
officials requested or attended the events for which they were offered tickets. In at least
five instances, however, there is evidence in the documents that White House officials
used the tickets they were offered.418 There is also evidence that one official, Susan
Ralston, requested tickets for herself on at least seven separate occasions.419 In addition,
415 E-mail exchange between Shawn Vasell, Holly Bowers, and Jack Abramoff (Apr. 8-9,
2003) (in which Bowers asked for Capitals playoff ticket requests, and Vasell included
“Matt Kirk, White House Leg. Affairs,” in his list for a game on Apr. 16) (GTG-R005100).
416 Prices and row placement determined in conversations between staff and Ticketmaster
representatives (Sept. 7, 2006).
417 Washington Wizards, Ticket Information
http://www.nba.com/wizards/tickets/arena.html; Washington Capitals, Ticket
418 E-mail from Mary Elizabeth Farr to Padgett Wilson (July 11, 2001) (GTG-R002822)
(stating “Thanks for taking us to the O’s game on Saturday”); E-mail from Susan Ralston
to Jack Abramoff (Dec. 22, 2001) (GTG-R000531) (stating she was not going to make it
to the game but that “Troy” was there “with friends”); E-mail exchange between Jack
Abramoff and Susan Ralston (Mar. 19, 2002) (GTG-R001091) (in which Abramoff said
“It was great to have Karl there on Sunday,” and she replied “He had a good time at both
the restaurant and the game”); E-mail from Susan Ralston to Jack Abramoff (Aug. 24,
2002) (GTG-R000929) (stating “Thanks for the tix to the game last night. Our guests had
a terrific time”); E-mail from Susan Ralston to Jack Abramoff (Nov. 27, 2002) (GTG-R001034)
(thanking Abramoff and telling him “We had a great time at the game”).
419 E-mail exchange between Susan Ralston, Jack Abramoff, Rodney Lane, and Julie
Plocki (Oct. 21, 2001) (GTG-R000345-346) (in which Ralston asked, “Are the floor seats
available for Sat, 12/1?” and Abramoff replied “For you? Anything! How many do you
need?”); E-mail exchange between Susan Ralston, Jack Abramoff, and Holly Bowers
(July 26-29, 2002) (GTG-R000914) (in which Ralston asked Abramoff, “is bruce
springsteen coming to dc?” and he replied, “The Springsteen concert is tight, but I can fit
you in”); E-mail exchange between Susan Ralston, Jack Abramoff, and Holly Bowers
- 89 -?it appears that Ralston requested tickets on one occasion for Mr. Rove’s deputy, Chris
Henick.420 newsfollowup.com steve francis
In most cases, the documents do not indicate whether the White House officials
paid or offered to pay for the tickets. There are a few cases, however, where there is
some evidence in the documents. In one instance, there is an offer to pay described in the
documents. In this case, which is described above, Ralston wrote Abramoff that Rove
“has to pay” for the tickets he received to the NCAA basketball playoff game.
In other instances, the documents contain evidence that the tickets were provided
without charge. In one instance, Ralston e-mailed Rove to say that she was “willing to
pay” for Capitals tickets, but Abramoff replied: “No problem, and you don’t have to pay!
:-)”421 In another instance, which occurred after the August 23, 2003, Orioles game
attended by Ralston, she e-mailed Abramoff: “Thanks for the tix to the game last night.
Our guests had a terrific time. … [W]e had fun and appreciate your generosity.”422 In the
case of the Capitals tickets for the class of College Republicans, which is described
above, Abramoff offered to “donate” the tickets to the class and Ralston replied “yes.”
(July 26-29, 2002) (GTG-R000914) (in which Ralston asked Abramoff, “do you have 2-4
orioles tix for sometime 8/22-24?” and he replied, “We can do 23 rd or 24 th for the Orioles
no problem”); E-mail from Susan Ralston to Jack Abramoff (Nov. 22, 2002) (GTG-R001038)
(in which Ralston asked Abramoff, “Do you have ice seats or courtside seats
for 3 or 4 on wed, 11/27 to sun, 11/30?”); E-mail from Susan Ralston to Jack Abramoff
(Feb. 1, 2003) (GTG-R000177) (in which Ralston asked Abramoff, “Is there a game on
any day from tues, 2/25 – thurs, 2/27 where 2-4 floor or ice seats are available?”); E-mail
exchange between Susan Ralston and Jack Abramoff (Mar. 11, 2003) (GTG-R002249)
(in which Ralston asked Abramoff, “We have some guests coming to town Fri, 3/28 and
Sat, 3/29. Anything going on at the MCI Center?” and Abramoff replied, “The Caps and
Wizards are out of town that weekend, but they have the Skating Championships.
Interested?”); E-mail exchange between Susan Ralston and Jack Abramoff (Jan. 23,
2004) (GTG-R001506) (in which Ralston asked for two tickets “on the ice” and
Abramoff agreed to provide these tickets).
420 E-mail exchange between Susan Ralston and Jack Abramoff (June 5, 2002) (GTG-R001151)
(in which Susan Ralston asked “Do you have 3 tix for orioles this Friday for
chris henick, kr’s deputy?”). With respect to the request to Henick, Abramoff responded:
“Unfortunately, the tickets have been gone for a while. Any other game of interest?” E-mail
exchange between Susan Ralston and Jack Abramoff (June 5, 2002) (GTG-R001151).
421 E-mail exchange between Susan Ralston and Jack Abramoff (Jan. 23, 2004) (GTG-R001506).
422 E-mail from Susan Ralston to Jack Abramoff (Aug. 24, 2002) (GTG-R000929).
- 90 -?VII. Conclusion
The subpoenaed documents for the most part represent only one side of a string of
transactions in which acts of fraud and attempted bribery are disguised as legitimate
representational services and lobbying activities. Vague descriptions of services rendered
and the lack of specific, real-time disclosure of contacts and expenditures leave
unscrupulous lobbyists substantial grey space in which to ply their corrupting craft. The
same hazy bills and delayed disclosures leave public officials open to the unsubstantiated,
and largely unrebuttable, appearance they have been or can be bought.
To right the ethical balance sheet, both sides of the ledger should be documented
more completely and more often by lobbyists and those they contact. The Committee on
Government Reform took a major step toward this goal when it unanimously approved
the Executive Branch Reform Act (H.R. 5112) earlier this year. This legislation would
bring greater transparency to meetings between the private sector and executive branch
officials by requiring all political appointees and senior officials in federal agencies and
the White House to report their contacts with private parties seeking to influence official
government action. The reports, which would be filed quarterly and maintained on a
searchable database at the Office of Government Ethics, would disclose the dates of
meetings, the parties involved, and the subject matter discussed.
The Committee will continue to investigate the need for additional measures to
protect the integrity of the public’s business.