Tuesday, September 20, 2005


The best story no one's talking about is the arrest of David H. Safavian, 38, top administrator at the federal procurement office in the White House Office of Management and Budget. Safavian was busted on Monday; he resigned his WH job the previous Friday.

From The Washington Post:
The complaint, filed by the FBI, alleges that Safavian made repeated false statements to government officials and investigators about a golf trip with Abramoff to Scotland in 2002 ...

Accompanying Safavian and Abramoff on the 2002 trip to Scotland, for example, were Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Administration Committee, lobbyist and former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed and Neil Volz, a lobbyist with Abramoff at the Washington office of Greenburg Traurig.

Like Abramoff, Safavian is a veteran Washington player. He is a former lobbying partner of anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist and previously worked with Abramoff at another firm. Both he and Abramoff have represented gambling clients and Indian tribes with gambling interests.

At the time of the golf trip, Safavian was chief of staff at the General Services Administration, where ethics rules flatly prohibited the receipt of a gift from any person seeking an official action by the agency. When Safavian asked GSA ethics officers for permission to go on the trip, he assured them in writing that Abramoff "has no business before GSA," according to the affidavit signed by FBI special agent Jeffrey A. Reising.

Reising alleged, however, that Abramoff had by then already secretly enlisted Safavian in an effort to buy 40 acres of land that GSA managed in Silver Spring for use as the campus of a Hebrew school Abramoff founded. Safavian also allegedly tried to help Abramoff lease space for Abramoff's clients in an old post office building downtown.

On July 22, 2002, Abramoff sent Safavian an e-mail with a proposed draft letter that "at least two members of Congress" could send to GSA supporting the lease, according to the affidavit. "Does this work, or do you want it to be longer?" Abramoff asked.

Three days later, Safavian forwarded Abramoff an e-mail describing how an employee at OMB was resisting Abramoff's plan to lease space at the post office. "I suspect we'll end up having to bring some Hill pressure to bear on OMB," Safavian messaged Abramoff.
What once was a whiff of corruption within top GOP circles now starts to reek like a rotting corpse.

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