Intertwined branches on the Abramoff tree

The lobbyist's tribal clients got into meetings with Bush after making contribution's to Grover Norquist's anti-tax group.


Tim Grieve
March 10, 2006 6:55PM (UTC)

Somebody asked us Thursday about the scandals rocking the Republican Party, and we said we'd love to have a few hours and a big piece of paper to graph out the connections in a sort of money-changing, favor-doing, golf-tripping family tree.

It looks like we'll need a bigger piece of paper.

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The New York Times today wraps Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform, and maybe the White House, a little more tightly around the Jack Abramoff branch of things. According to the Times, Abramoff was able to get one of his tribal clients into a meeting with George W. Bush after the tribe, at Abramoff's direction, paid $25,000 to Americans for Tax Reform.

The meeting in the Old Executive Office Building -- the one depicted in a photograph that shows the president and Abramoff in the same room -- was supposed to be an opportunity for George W. Bush to thank state legislators for their support for Bush's 2001 tax cuts. Now, you might notice that Kickapoo chairman Raul Garza is not a state leader. Nor, says the Times, did he have any direct involvement in the tax cut fight. So how did he make the cut for the meeting?

"No money was ever collected for admission to these events," insists a spokesman for Americans for Tax Reform. White House officials were "absolutely not" aware of the $25,000 contribution, insists a spokesman for the White House.

And we're sure it's just a coincidence that another Abramoff tribal client who got into another meeting with the president that day also paid $25,000 to Norquist's group.


Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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