Thursday, November 10, 2005

Thursday 10 November 2005

Lobbyist Sought $15M To Introduce Bush To Cheney

New Documents Show Abramoff Peddling Secret Bunker Access, In Concert With Fallen House Leader DeLay

No sooner than a Senate committee investigating Lobbyist Jack Abramoff discovered documents that Abramoff offered Gabon President Omar Bongo an opportunity to meet with President Bush for $9-Million, more information was uncovered that President Bush was approached with the offer to meet Vice President Dick Cheney for $15-Million.

The documents show that Abramoff was responding to a group email, sent by White House Chief of Staff Andy Card, asking staffers and others if they could arrange for the President to meet with Cheney. Abramoff was not on the original distribution of the email. It was forwarded to him by Representative and former House Leader Tom DeLay, with a one-line note instructing Abramoff to "bump up the usual price".

Abramoff then responded to Card, with the $15-Million offer to set up a Bush-Cheney meeting, and added that, "for an additional $5-Million, the President can sit in on a Secret Cabal meeting."

The committee is continuing to review additional documents from Abramoff's files that point to a effort, by Abramoff and DeLay, to sell access to Cheney's Secret Bunker.

"Card and the White House Councilors slammed the door on it," offered a White House operative. "but the President was extremely excited and jumping at the chance to see Cheney's Secret Bunker."

The President and Vice President have not been seen together, or in the same room at the same time since before September 11, 2001.

The offer to President Bongo, leader of the African nation of Gabon, gave instructions to pay the money to GrassRoots Interactive, the small Maryland lobbying company that Abramoff controlled.

Bongo did meet with President Bush, in the Oval Office on May 26, 2004, 10 months after Abramoff made the offer. Nearly $3-Million flowed into Abramoff companies, or companies of Abramoff relatives, from 2003, and up to Bongo's visit.

In the offer to President Bush, Card was instructed to pay the money to, in equal amounts, to both GrassRoots Interactive and
Texans for a Republican Majority (TRMPAC), the Political Action Committee established by DeLay.

In the Abramoff files the Senate Committee is pouring there, they also discovered cryptic emails and message from I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, then the Vice President's Chief of Staff.

Libby was writing to Card, in both emails and memos, that "the rosebuds will soon be opening, if they are properly feed" and "no price is too small to learn the eternal secrets". Both Abramoff and DeLay were blind copied on the messages.

Libby has since resigned from the Vice President's office and is facing five-counts of indictment in the CIA Leak investigation.

A staff member of a Senator looking at the Abramoff information says that "there looks to be a pattern in it."

"There appears to be an attempt to create a program, with an extensive price menu, for access to Vice President Cheney's bunker," said the staffer. "They had notes on how to market this to other world leaders, corporate CEO's, what the expected give-and-take was to be and a commitment from Cheney's office that all transactions would be kept secret."

So far, there is no evidence that the Vice President shared in any of the revenues generated.

Abramoff was once was one of the most powerful lobbyists in Washington, as well as a Republican fund-raiser. He has been indicted in Florida on federal fraud charges and is also under investigation by a federal grand jury in Washington and two Senate committees.

The federal grand jury is looking to charges that Abramoff defrauded a group of Indian tribes, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, for $15-Million in payments made, for lobbying work that Abramoff, and his partner, Michael Scanlon, either overcharged or never performed.

The White House issued a statement, denying that payments were made to meet with the Vice President.

Vice President Cheney's office declined comment on the charges, citing that the Vice President's "business was not up for discussion" and that the office is "concentrated on winning concessions from Capital Hill lawmakers to exempt the CIA from any bans on torture."

The White House Press Office announced today, that due to the creditability of Press Secretary Scott McClellan and the "unrelenting pounding" he has been taking, an automated toy doll will be conducting the White House Briefings "for the foreseeable future".

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