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Secret Service records of Abramoff visits to White House will be incomplete
Oxford Press
Cox News Service
Wednesday, May 03, 2006

WASHINGTON — The White House said Tuesday the list the Secret Service has been ordered to release concerning convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff's contacts with the Bush administration will be incomplete.

But spokesman Scott McClellan declined to say what is wrong with the Secret Service list, why it is inaccurate and whether it includes far fewer meetings than took place.

"I don't know exactly what they'll be providing, but they only have certain records and so I just wouldn't view it as a complete historical record," McClellan said.

Tom Mazur, a Secret Service spokesman, declined to comment on why the agency's records might be less than complete.

McClellan previously has said that Abramoff's only contacts with the administration were "a few staff-level meetings" and attendance at Hanukkah receptions in 2001 and 2002.

U.S. District Judge John Garrett Penn of Washington announced yesterday that he has given the Secret Service until May 10 to give the list to Judicial Watch, a public interest group that went to court to get the records.

Judicial Watch believes the records "could show the frequency and length of Abramoff's White House visits, thereby shedding some light on the nature of the relationship between Jack Abramoff and Bush administration officials."

The group plans to post the records on its Web site. Tom Fitton, its president, said he expects the Secret Service records to "tell a part of the story" of Abramoff's contacts with the White House.

"And it will certainly be more of the story than the White House has currently told us," Fitton said, adding he hopes the records provide information that would force the White House to release more details.

"Maybe Abramoff is telling the full story to the grand jury and the prosecutors," Fitton said, noting that Abramoff has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

Bush has said he does not know Abramoff, once among Washington's most powerful lobbyists. Abramoff raised more than $100,000 for Bush's 2004 re-election campaigns and had boasted to clients about his links to the administration.

Abramoff, who told Washingtonian magazine this year that he had nearly a dozen meetings with Bush, pleaded guilty in January to charges linked to his ties to Congress and the White House. He later pleaded guilty in Miami to fraud charges stemming from the 2000 purchase of a fleet of gambling ships.

Ken Herman is a Washington correspondent for Cox Newspapers.

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