Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Bush Starts Stonewalling, People Will Start Wondering

Ok, at first, I thought Bush might be in the clear on Abramoff. Yes, some of his staff has been either indicted or tied to Abramoff, including a top procurement official. But Bush is either hiding something, or being really, really stupid.

If he is not hiding something, the amount that the White House is stonewalling the press on info about the relationship they may or may not have only makes him look more guilty. His opponents will get more mileage out of this than if Bush just released all of the information.

Mr. Abramoff's Meetings
Wednesday, January 25, 2006; A18

HERE ARE SOME things we know about Jack Abramoff and the White House: The disgraced lobbyist raised at least $100,000 for President Bush's reelection campaign. He had long-standing ties to Karl Rove, a key presidential adviser. He had extensive dealings with executive branch officials and departments -- one of whom, former procurement chief David H. Safavian, has been charged by federal prosecutors with lying to investigators about his involvement with Mr. Abramoff.

We also know that Mr. Abramoff is an admitted crook who was willing to bribe members of Congress and their staffs to get what he (or his clients) wanted. In addition to attending a few White House Hanukkah parties and other events at which he had his picture snapped with the president, Mr. Abramoff had, according to the White House, "a few staff-level meetings" with White House aides.

Here is what we don't know about Jack Abramoff and the White House: whom he met with and what was discussed. Nor, if the White House sticks to its current position, will we learn that anytime soon. Press secretary Scott McClellan told the White House press corps: "If you've got some specific issue that you need to bring to my attention, fine. But what we're not going to do is engage in a fishing expedition that has nothing to do with the investigation."

This is not a tenable position. It's undisputed that Mr. Abramoff tried to use his influence, and his restaurant and his skyboxes and his chartered jets, to sway lawmakers and their staffs. Information uncovered by Mr. Bush's own Justice Department shows that Mr. Abramoff tried to do the same inside the executive branch.

Under these circumstances, asking about Mr. Abramoff's White House meetings is no mere exercise in reportorial curiosity but a legitimate inquiry about what an admitted felon might have been seeking at the highest levels of government. Whatever White House officials did or didn't do, there is every reason to believe that Mr. Abramoff was up to no good and therefore every reason the public ought to know with whom he was meeting.

(Full Story)


tommy said...

Stonewalling the press is irrelevant. I know the press considers itself a legitimate investigative organization, but they aren't. They can attempt to sway public opinion to force the administration to be more open, or to convince the public to elect someone else.

Dingo said...

but by stonewalling the press, they only implicate themselves in the publics eye.

Somwtimes what you don't give the press sways the public opinion more than what you do give them. Suspiction is often more damaging than the truth.

Anonymous said...

Nice to meet a thinking American rather than the far-right nutters who are stalking me.

tommy said...

by stonewalling the press they preserve the status quo. those who are prone to think the administration is hiding something will use it as evidence of such. others will simply view it as the administration not providing rope to those that wish to hang them.

the press has put itself (allowed itself to be put?) in a position of being viewed as a political entity and this is a result of that.