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Papers show Bush allies' inside access (Jack Abramoff, Grover Norquist,Ralph Reed)
AP on Yahoo ^ | 9/20/06 | John Solomon and Sharon Theimer - ap

Posted on 09/20/2006 4:03:37 PM PDT by NormsRevenge

WASHINGTON - Republican activists Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed landed more than 100 meetings inside the Bush White House, according to documents released Wednesday that provide the first official accounting of the access and influence the two presidential allies have enjoyed.

The White House released the Secret Service visit records to settle a lawsuit by the Democratic Party and an ethics watchdog group seeking visitors logs for the two GOP strategists and others who emerged as figures in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.

Earlier this month, the White House suggested to the judge in that lawsuit that such records need not be disclosed because the information was privileged and might reveal how Bush and his staff get private advice, according to court documents obtained by The Associated Press.

White House officials said Norquist, who runs the nonprofit Americans for Tax Reform, was cleared for 97 visits to the White House complex between 2001 and 2006, including a half-dozen with the president.

Reed, former executive director of the Christian Coalition and an unsuccessful candidate for lieutenant governor in Georgia earlier this year, got 18 meetings, including two events with Bush.

Officials said they believe all meetings with Bush involved larger group settings, such as Christmas parties or policy briefings for GOP supporters.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said, however, it was possible some of Norquist's meetings might have been directly with Karl Rove, the president's longtime confidant and political strategist.

"He is one of a number of individuals who worked to advance fiscal responsibility, which is one of the key aspects of the president's agenda," Perino said.

Both Reed and Norquist became involved with Abramoff, the once high-power GOP lobbyist who has pleaded guilty to fraud and is now cooperating with prosecutors in an influence peddling investigation that has rocked Capitol Hill.

Norquist's group advocates lower taxes and less government and he built it into a major force in the Republican Party. Along the way he became friends with Abramoff and Rove.

E-mails obtained this summer by AP show Norquist facilitated several administration contacts for Abramoff's clients while the lobbyist simultaneously solicited those clients for large donations to Norquist's group. Americans for Tax Reform acknowledged Norquist helped Abramoff but said he did nothing improper.

Reed rose to prominence as an organizer of evangelical Christian groups, including the Christian Coalition, inside the Republican Party before moving into business ventures where he did work for Indian tribes at Abramoff's request.

Documents unearthed by congressional investigators showed Abramoff and business partner Michael Scanlon routed about $4 million from Indian tribes to Reed-controlled entities for grassroots work aimed at blocking rival casinos. The revelations came as Reed ran an unsuccessful campaign for lieutenant governor in Georgia.

The release of the visitor records settles lawsuits by the Democratic Party and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

In a court filing earlier this month while settlement discussions were ongoing, Justice Department lawyers representing the administration said information about the Norquist and Reed visits should be protected from public disclosure under the doctrine of "deliberative process privilege."

That privilege lets the president and executive branch officials seek advice and deliberate policy decisions in private without having to disclose such information under the Freedom of Information Act.

It is similar to executive privilege, a power made famous by President Nixon, that lets a president keep information secret even from Congress or the courts on the grounds that it would hurt his ability to get candid advice.

Executive privilege was the focal point of major legal battles in the Watergate and Clinton impeachment cases.

Bush administration lawyers wrote that Norquist and Reed were "prominent advocates of particular tax policies and other conservative policies" and that releasing information about their White House visits would "inherently reveal the structure and nature of deliberative processes."

"In making decisions on personnel and policy, and in formulating legislative proposals, the president must be free to seek confidential information from many sources, both inside the government and outside," the lawyers wrote in citing a favorable court ruling from 2005 involving Vice President Dick Cheney.

The administration lawyers also argued against releasing information about the White House visits of former federal procurement official David Safavian on the grounds that it would violate Safavian's privacy. Safavian was recently convicted of trying to cover up his dealings with Abramoff.

Administration officials said the Justice Department never invoked the privilege mentioned in the court filings because a settlement was reached. The lawyers made the arguments in the court filing only when the judge asked them to outline what legal arguments it might make if the case went to trial, the official said.

Former White House lawyer Lanny Breuer, who handled many of President Clinton's privilege claims, said that administration routinely released White House entry records to the public and never "came close to making a claim like the one being suggested in this instance."

Deliberative and executive privilege claims are "designed to protect the advice the president gets. They are not intended to protect the identities of people from whom he gets that advice or when or where that advice was given from a particular person," Breuer said.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: abramoff; access; allies; bush; grovernorquist; papers; ralphreed

1 posted on 09/20/2006 4:03:40 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
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To: NormsRevenge

OK, so the Democrats are going to launch an investigation.


2 posted on 09/20/2006 4:08:48 PM PDT by BigSkyFreeper (There is no alternative to the GOP except varying degrees of insanity.)
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To: BigSkyFreeper

I can hardly wait for the release of the William Jefferson indictment next month.


3 posted on 09/20/2006 4:09:47 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ......Help the "Pendleton 8' and families -- http://www.freerepublic.com/~normsrevenge/)
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To: NormsRevenge

The Clinton White House.....that paragon of virtue and truth.


4 posted on 09/20/2006 4:11:05 PM PDT by originalbuckeye
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To: NormsRevenge

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Gas prices down, the economy and stock market up, so the AP is forced to pull this tired and stale piece of nothing out of their asses. So predictable.

Of course those people are going to be invited to the White House. They've long been allies of Bush and his policies. Big deal.

Meanwhile, AP ignores Harry Reid actually GETTING a ton of money from Abramoff clients.


5 posted on 09/20/2006 4:11:09 PM PDT by MikeA (Not voting out of anger in November is a vote for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House)
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To: NormsRevenge
Norquist's group advocates lower taxes and less government and he built it into a major force in the Republican Party. Along the way he became friends with Abramoff and Rove.

Ergo, lower taxes and less government are evil?

6 posted on 09/20/2006 4:11:36 PM PDT by operation clinton cleanup
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To: BigSkyFreeper
OK, so the Democrats are going to launch an investigation.

Yea, all because Bush let a professed "Christian" in the WH!!!!

Can't have that ya know.

7 posted on 09/20/2006 4:11:48 PM PDT by sirchtruth (No one has the RIGHT not to be offended...)
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To: NormsRevenge
Former White House lawyer Lanny Breuer, who handled many of President Clinton's privilege claims, said that administration routinely released White House entry records to the public and never "came close to making a claim like the one being suggested in this instance."

I call bull shit. Clinton continually tried to claim an attorney client privilege with the government attorney over private matters. IMO, the reason he went through so many White House Councils.

8 posted on 09/20/2006 4:12:23 PM PDT by gov_bean_ counter ( I am sitting under my cone of silence, inside a copper wire cage wearing a tin foil hat...)
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To: MikeA

A lot of people collected money from Abramoff, uhh, make that, accepted donations.. many who have since donated it to charities, God bless their little souls.


9 posted on 09/20/2006 4:13:09 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ......Help the "Pendleton 8' and families -- http://www.freerepublic.com/~normsrevenge/)
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To: BigSkyFreeper

Wow, what else is new? They keep trying---and keep losing, but I'm getting tired of them wasting my money!


10 posted on 09/20/2006 4:14:59 PM PDT by singfreedom ("Victory at all costs,.......for without victory there is no survival."--Churchill--that's "Winston")
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To: MikeA
Meanwhile, AP ignores Harry Reid actually GETTING a ton of money from Abramoff clients.

That's the $65,000 question yet to be answered by the pipsqueak from Searchlight, NV.

11 posted on 09/20/2006 4:15:04 PM PDT by BigSkyFreeper (There is no alternative to the GOP except varying degrees of insanity.)
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To: NormsRevenge
I can hardly wait for the release of the William Jefferson indictment next month.

I'll bet alot of the juicy details have already been redacted.

12 posted on 09/20/2006 4:17:04 PM PDT by BigSkyFreeper (There is no alternative to the GOP except varying degrees of insanity.)
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To: NormsRevenge
It's funny, the longer you read the article the more innocuous it all sounds. I mean, the headline is about as interesting as the story ever gets and even that is fairly stale. A handful of meetings with Bush, and mostly in large group settings with 2 long time prominent Republicans who would naturally be invited to nearly any Republican White House and this is news worthy to the AP? Let me guess, this is the next Watergate now that Plamegate is deader than disco. What scintillating stories will AP report next? A story about what fabric softener they use at the White House laundry?
13 posted on 09/20/2006 4:18:16 PM PDT by MikeA (Not voting out of anger in November is a vote for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House)
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To: BigSkyFreeper

Don't you mean the pipsqueak from Dim Bulb, NV?


14 posted on 09/20/2006 4:19:28 PM PDT by MikeA (Not voting out of anger in November is a vote for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House)
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To: NormsRevenge

Here we go...
http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1998/08/21/lewinsky/


15 posted on 09/20/2006 4:21:18 PM PDT by gov_bean_ counter ( I am sitting under my cone of silence, inside a copper wire cage wearing a tin foil hat...)
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To: BigSkyFreeper

I have a suspicion a few salient entries will be left unredacted. besides, it's kind of hard to get the freezer burn off of bundles of hundred dollar bills, not that I have any personal experience with either keeping money in the freezer much less stacks of it. ;-)

I just hope the AG doesn't hold off on pushing this one over the top and soon, altho based on the reaction of the Capitol leadership, it wouldn't surprise me either.

I know the FBI has its plate full and all, just investigating ongre$$ eats up a lot of resources these days, being as they won;t police themselves ethics wise.


16 posted on 09/20/2006 4:23:03 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ......Help the "Pendleton 8' and families -- http://www.freerepublic.com/~normsrevenge/)
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To: MikeA

hmm,, laundering scandal in the white house..

that could work.. ;-)


17 posted on 09/20/2006 4:24:31 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ......Help the "Pendleton 8' and families -- http://www.freerepublic.com/~normsrevenge/)
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To: BigSkyFreeper; NormsRevenge

18 posted on 09/20/2006 4:28:47 PM PDT by BenLurkin ("The entire remedy is with the people." - W. H. Harrison)
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To: NormsRevenge

That's the title they'd pick for it to, you just know it.


19 posted on 09/20/2006 4:30:13 PM PDT by MikeA (Not voting out of anger in November is a vote for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House)
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To: gov_bean_ counter

That is an unpleasant reminder of just how sleazy and disgusting Bill and Hillary Clinton's administration was.


20 posted on 09/20/2006 4:31:19 PM PDT by Bahbah (Shalit, Goldwasser and Regev, we are praying for you)
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To: NormsRevenge
E-mails obtained this summer by AP show Norquist facilitated several administration contacts for Abramoff's clients while the lobbyist simultaneously solicited those clients for large donations to Norquist's group. Americans for Tax Reform acknowledged Norquist helped Abramoff but said he did nothing improper.

Corrupt, immoral and unethical, but not improper. Perfectly proper for a political whore.

21 posted on 09/20/2006 4:34:18 PM PDT by Invisible Gorilla
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To: NormsRevenge
With a "scandal" like this I guarantee President Bush won't be rereelected.
22 posted on 09/20/2006 4:34:41 PM PDT by tobyhill (The War on Terrorism is not for the weak.)
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To: originalbuckeye
"The Clinton White House.....that paragon of virtue and truth"

How about the records of all the women who "visited" the Lincoln Bedroom records during the Frat Party days from 1990-2000?

Markie Post, Babs, Ellie Mondale, etc.

Also, release the videos of the entry camera.....

23 posted on 09/20/2006 4:34:55 PM PDT by traditional1
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White House officials said Norquist, who runs the nonprofit Americans for Tax Reform, was cleared for 97 visits to the White House complex between 2001 and 2006, including a half-dozen with the president. Reed, former executive director of the Christian Coalition and an unsuccessful candidate for lieutenant governor in Georgia earlier this year, got 18 meetings, including two events with Bush.

Officials said they believe all meetings with Bush involved larger group settings, such as Christmas parties or policy briefings for GOP supporters.

24 posted on 09/20/2006 4:44:20 PM PDT by Diddle E. Squat
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To: NormsRevenge; All
I've heard a rumour about the clinton's having over $1 BILLION hidden away in accounts in the Cayman Islands they sifted away while slick was President from sources unknown, that Hitlery's been using to finance her 2002 and 2006 runs for the Senate and I'm sure for her 2008 run for President.


Has anyone else heard anything about this?
25 posted on 09/20/2006 4:47:11 PM PDT by AmeriBrit ( Doing the work for the good of the nation the MSM won't do!)
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To: BenLurkin

Very good. I was looking for a Lincoln bedroom pic!


26 posted on 09/20/2006 4:48:07 PM PDT by Tinian
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To: traditional1

I like how you think!


27 posted on 09/20/2006 5:04:01 PM PDT by originalbuckeye
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To: originalbuckeye
"I like how you think!"

It must be your Buckeye roots.....

28 posted on 09/20/2006 5:11:28 PM PDT by traditional1
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To: NormsRevenge

The internal polling must be worse for the Dems that I thought.:)


29 posted on 09/20/2006 5:16:50 PM PDT by PghBaldy (CNN on Castro - Intestinal Crisis 2006: A People Mourn.)
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To: NormsRevenge

Let me know if George pardons a felon whose wife is blowing him, and then he'll be as low as Clinton.


30 posted on 09/20/2006 5:30:00 PM PDT by popdonnelly
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To: NormsRevenge

I have always thought that Grover Norquist (married to a Muslim, an activist for Muslim organizations and possibly Muslim himself) was responsible for the "Religion of Peace" mantra. That appears to be fading away, so maybe Bush has gotten some new advisers.


31 posted on 09/20/2006 5:34:38 PM PDT by livius
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To: NormsRevenge
Former White House lawyer Lanny Breuer, who handled many of President Clinton's privilege claims, said that administration routinely released White House entry records to the public and never "came close to making a claim like the one being suggested in this instance."

If this garbage from yet another Clintonista named "Lanny" is true, why didn't we know about Monica and Fritzy's daughter being at the Oval Office all the time?

32 posted on 09/20/2006 5:35:06 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (You can't defeat your enemy unless you are willing to get down in the mud with him.)
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To: FlingWingFlyer

I'm sure the lack of info is for the 'protection of privacy' of the 'ladies' involved. You know, privacy was sooo important to the Clintons. I'm still waiting to hear all about the info gleaned from the FBI files! But, I suppose, that's for blackmail use.


33 posted on 09/20/2006 5:40:48 PM PDT by originalbuckeye
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To: NormsRevenge

This is a classic hit piece if there ever was.

I suspect the object is to paint all Republicans corrupt right before the election.

JMO
NO2


34 posted on 09/20/2006 5:56:21 PM PDT by No2much3 (I did not ask for this user name, but I will keep it !)
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To: NormsRevenge

I have my friends over to my house all the time. Am I going to be in trouble for that?


35 posted on 09/20/2006 7:03:41 PM PDT by crghill
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To: NormsRevenge

So what?


36 posted on 09/20/2006 9:19:16 PM PDT by MNJohnnie (Ann Coulter: "I love Freepers!" Told to Freeper eeevil Conservative)
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To: NormsRevenge

Byron Dorgan D-ND and Harry Reid, D-NV have not given back a dime. Something that seams to coninually slip under the Junk Media's radar screen. Why is that? Could it be the D in their party id? So what else is the Junk Media covering up for the Ds?


37 posted on 09/20/2006 9:21:25 PM PDT by MNJohnnie (Ann Coulter: "I love Freepers!" Told to Freeper eeevil Conservative)
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To: NormsRevenge

Did Norquist bring along his Islamist cronies?


38 posted on 09/20/2006 10:47:15 PM PDT by Pelham (McGuestWorkerProgram- Soon to serve over 1 billion immigrants)
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To: BenLurkin

I have been to the West Wing at least three times since Bush took office.

I'm expecting a knock on my door anytime now.


39 posted on 09/20/2006 10:49:23 PM PDT by Howlin (Declassify the Joe Wilson "Report!")
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To: Pelham

Now why would one CAIR to ask that? tsk tsk.. ;-)


40 posted on 09/20/2006 10:50:44 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ......Help the "Pendleton 8' and families -- http://www.freerepublic.com/~normsrevenge/)
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