Sunday :: Feb 12, 2006

First Bush-Abramoff Picture Shows Up

by Steve


Well, the first Abramoff/Bush photo has made its way to the media. And it came from one of the tribes that Jack represented and obtained a White House meeting for. This means that there may be several more of these out there, with pictures of a smiling Jack in the background. And since the photos that Jack was withholding have now lost their value since others are coming forward, perhaps Abramoff will release his own photos now. The problem for the White House, as Time notes, is that they originally said that there was no record of him being at this meeting. So what does that say about the rest of their records on Smiling Jack?

But it sure was nice of Karl to drop by for this meeting that Jack wasn't at, right?

When TIME reported in January that it had viewed unpublished photographs of Abramoff with Bush, aides responded that the pictures meant nothing since the President is photographed with thousands of supporters and White House visitors every year.
Now, finally, the first such photo has come to light. It shows a bearded Abramoff in the background as Bush greets an Abramoff client, Raul Garza, who was then the chairman of the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas; Bush senior advisor Karl Rove looks on. The photograph was provided to TIME by Mr. Garza. The meeting took place in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House on May 9, 2001. Told about the photograph in January, the White House said it had no record that Abramoff was present at the meeting.
Did I mention that Garza's photo came from the White House photographer? (And yes, that guy in the middle of the picture looks way too much like Sam Alito)
Shown the photograph today, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said the White House had still found no record of Abramoff's presence but confirmed that it is Abramoff in the picture. McClellan told TIME: "The President has taken countless, tens of thousands of pictures at home and abroad over the last five years. As we've said previously a photo like this has no relevance to the Justice Department's investigation [of Abramoff]."
This meeting, however, was a relatively small gathering attended by some two dozen people, including Garza and another Indian tribal leader who was Abramoff's client. At least two tribes, the Coushatta of Louisiana and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw, contributed $25,000 each to the anti-tax group Americans for Tax Reform, which is headed by Grover Norquist, a well-known conservative ally of the White House. Garza, who is also known by his Indian name, Makateonenodua, meaning "black buffalo," is under federal indictment for allegedly embezzling more than $300,000 from his tribe.

Isn't it a hoot that a guy under a federal indictment for swindling his tribe out of $300,000 is releasing damaging stuff on Bush? Perhaps Scooter should take notes from Makateonenodua, or as the staff have taken to call him "Makafukayoouppa."

Talking about the photo, Abramoff has told friends, "I was standing right next to the window and after the picture was taken, the President came over and shook hands with me, and we chatted and joked." A photograph of that scene as described by Abramoff was shown to TIME two weeks ago.

And just as quickly, the White House says the existence of photos doesn’t mean there was “a personal relationship.” Sounds almost Brokeback-like, doesn’t it?

Photo courtesy of the New York Times

Steve :: 8:27 PM :: Comments (26) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!