Ex-OMB official will fight criminal allegations

TheOfficeofManagementandBudget'sformerprocurementchiefwillcontestchargesthatheliedtoanethicsofficerandobstructedaninspectorgeneraloffice'sinvestigation,hisdefenselawyersaidWednesday.DavidSafavianwillfight"vigorously"thethree-countcriminalcomplaintthatledtohisarrestMonday,saidBarbaraVanGelder,apartnerattheWashingtonfirmWiley,ReinandFieldingLLP.SafavianservedasadministratorofOMB'sOfficeofFederalProcurementPolicyfromNovember2004untilhisresignationFriday,butthechargesrelatetoagolftripwhenhewaschiefofstaffattheGeneralServicesAdministration."WethinkthisisacreativeuseofthecriminalcodetotrytosecureMr.Safavian'scooperationinothermatters,"VanGeldersaid.SafavianisaccusedofmakingfalsestatementstoaGSAethicsofficerregardinghisinteractionswithalobbyistheaccompaniedonagolftriptoScotlandinearlyAugust2002.Thatpersonisidentifiedonlyas"LobbyistA"inanaffidavitfiledSept.16attheU.S.DistrictCourtfortheDistrictofColumbiabyFBISpecialAgentJeffreyReising,butthedescriptionindicatesthatheismostlikelyJackAbramoff.Abramoff,aprominentRepublicanlobbyist,lastmonthpleadednotguiltytofraudcharges.ThosechargesrelatetohisdealingswithFloridacasinos.HeandSafavianbothworkedatthelawfirmPrestonGatesandEllisinthemid-1990s.AccordingtoReising'saffidavit,SafavianonJuly25,2002,sentane-mailtoaGSAethicsofficeraskingifhecouldacceptfreeairtravelforaScotlandgolftriphostedbyLobbyistA."Thehostisalawyerandlobbyist,butonethathasnobusinessbeforeGSA(hedoesallofhisworkonCapitolHill),"themessageread,asdescribedintheaffidavit.SafavianallegedlymadeasimilarassertionwhentheGSAinspectorgeneral'sofficequestionedhiminlateMarchandearlyApril2003.TheIG'sofficewasinvestigatingananonymoushotlinecomplaintabout"aninternationalgolfingtripprovidedbylobbyists,"Reisingsaidintheaffidavit.GSAclosedtheinvestigationbecauseSafavian"falselyrepresented"thatLobbyistA"hadnobusinesswithGSApriortothe...trip,"Reisingstated.SafavianalsosaidhehadtakenannualleavefortheoutingandreimbursedLobbyistAforallexpenses,includingairfare,accordingtotheaffidavit.SafavianmadesimilarstatementsinaMarch2005lettertotheSenateIndianAffairsCommittee,whichwasinvestigatingallegationsthattribalfundswereusedtopayforthetriptoScotland,andinlaterinterviewswiththeFBIandaspecialagentfromtheInteriorDepartment'sIGoffice,theaffidavitstated.Butatrailofe-mailsexchangedbetweenLobbyistAandSafavianusingSafavian'shomeaccount,indicatedthatthetwoconductedbusinessbeforeandaftertheAugust2002golftrip,Reisingalleged.Thee-mailsshowedthatSafavianwashelpingthelobbyistinattemptstoacquirefederalproperty,accordingtotheaffidavit.Duringthesummerof2002,SafavianallegedlyadvisedLobbyistAoneffortstoobtainabout40acresoflandatthe600-acreGSA-managedNavalSurfaceWarfareCenter-WhiteOakinSilverSpring,Md.ReisingclaimedthatSafavianalsoaidedthelobbyistinattemptstoamendregulationsondevelopingtheOldPostOfficebuildinginWashington.Thechangeswouldhaveprovided"tribalclientsacompetitiveadvantageineffortstoleaseanddevelopthebuilding,"Reisingstated.InteractionsoverthepropertiesincludedameetingwithLobbyistA'swife,inwhichSafavianallegedlyadvisedhertousehermaidenname."Daviddoesnotwant[LobbyistA'slastname]usedinthemeeting,"thelobbyistallegedlywroteinaJuly30,2002,e-mailtohiswife.ThemessagereferencesameetingonAug.2,2002,accordingtotheaffidavit.E-mailsfromLobbyistAtoacolleaguealsopresentevidenceofabusinessrelationshipwithSafavian,Reisingclaimed.InaJune2002exchangeaboutthegolftrip,thecolleagueallegedlyasked"WhyDave?...Businessangle?"Inresponse,LobbyistAallegedlywroteinbold:"Totalbusinessangle.HeisnewchiefofstaffatGSA."TheallegationsleadingtoSafavian'sarrestrevolvearoundhistimeatGSAandshouldnottarnishthecredibilityofOMB'sprocurementpolicyoffice,saidAlanChvotkin,seniorvicepresidentoftheProfessionalServicesCouncil,anArlington,Va.-basedgrouprepresentingcontractors."Idon'tthinkthereisamessagehere,"hesaid."There'salotofdisappointmentandsadnessforDavidandhisfamily,obviously,"Chvotkinadded.ButotherssaidregardlessofwhetherSafavianisfoundinnocentorguilty,thearrestwillhurtOFPP'simage."Itjustaddstothespeculationastothetrueintentionsofthisadministration,"saidMatthewBiggs,legislativedirectorfortheInternationalFederationofProfessionalandTechnicalEngineers,anAFL-CIOaffiliate.Unionshavelongbeenopposedtotheprocurementoffice'scompetitivesourcingprogram,whichencouragesagenciestoopensomefederaljobstobidsfromtheprivatesector.AmericanFederationofGovernmentEmployeesPresidentJohnGagerefrainedfromcommentingonthecaseitself,excepttosaySafavianis"entitledtothepresumptionofinnocence."ButhenotedthatthiscouldprovideanopportunityforOFPPtorethinkpolicies,includingrecentstancesonemergencyprocurementforhurricanereliefandcompetitivesourcing."ThescandalisnotthatMr.Safavianhasbeenarrested,"Gagesaidinastatement."Rather,whatisscandalousishow,inthenameofdisasterrelief,competitionandoversightintheprocurementprocessisbeingsystematicallydismantledinwaysthatwillpromotecorruption."SafavianreferredquestionsontheallegationstoVanGelder,whodeclinedtocommentfurther.http://www.dhonline.com/articles/2005/09/21/news/local/news05.txt

ARCawaitsfederalperformingstatus
ByAlexPaul
AlbanyDemocrat-HeraldEmployeesoftheAlbanyResearchCentershouldknowbylatenextweekwhethertheirorganizationwillbeclassifiedasaHighPerformingOrganization(HPO)bythefederalgovernment,orwhethertheirresearchprojectswillhavetobeadvertisedforbidamongothergovernmentandprivatebusinessesnationwide,underaprocessknownasA76.

ARCDirectorGeorgeDooleyIIItoldtheDemocrat-HeraldTuesdaythatHPODocumentationfromaFeasibilityStudy,concerningtheoperation'sefficiencies,andanapplicationforHPOstatushavebeenforwardedforreviewtoofficialsinWashington,D.C.Theinformationtookmorethanayeartocompile.Hewastoldresultsofthateffortwouldbeannouncedon,orbefore,Sept.30.Theresultsarecriticalinthatthejobsof73ofthe85staffmemberscouldbeaffected.

"IfwehavetogothroughtheA76process,wewillstillbeallowedtobidontheprojectslikeeveryoneelse,"Dooleysaid."But,youcanbettherearemany,manycompaniesthatwatchtheFederalRegisterandwanttheseprojectsandtheequipmentassociatedwiththem."

IftheARCisdesignatedasanHPO,therewouldbefiveyearsbeforeitwouldhavetobeconsideredforpossibleA76review.Duringthattime,theARCwouldhavetomeetcertainmanagementandperformancemilestonesor"wewouldbethrownrightbackintotheA76competition,"Dooleysaid.

AccordingtoDavidAlman,presidentoftheAmericanFederationofGovernmentEmployeesLocal1104,whichrepresentsARCemployees,thefacilityisvitalinmanyways.

ItsDepartmentofEnergyresearchprojectsaloneinclude:

•Improvingtheefficiencyof,andpreventingpollutionfrom,existingpowerplants.

•Developingprocessestomitigategreenhousegasemissionsfromcarbonsequestration.

•Developingadvancedmaterialsfornextgenerationcleanandefficientpowerplantsandfuelcells.

PerhapsevenmoresignificantisthecollaborativeresearchtheARCundertakesfor,andwith,privatecompanies.AlmanfearsthatiftheARCwereforcedintotheA76process,thefacilitywouldloseevenmorestaffandcouldnolongercontinuemanycollaborativeprojects.

Amongothers,theARCisworkingwithaconsortiumofU.S.steelcompaniesonaprojectthathassavedsteelmanufacturersanestimated$25million.

Staffmembersarealsoworkingwithindustrialpartnerstodevelopanewalloywhichwouldbeusedinmedicalapplicationsandtodevelopaprocesstorecoveranadditional$900millionperyearofrecycledpreciousmetalsfromspentcatalysts.

AlmanalsosaidtheARCrecentlysteppedforwardandquicklydevelopedprototypesheetsoftitaniumtobeusedinlightweight,buthighlyeffective,bodyarmorforU.S.soldiers.

TheARChasanoperatingbudgetof$8million,downfrom$10millionin2004.

Foundedin1943undertheauspicesoftheBureauofMines,thefacilitywasoriginallycalledtheNorthwestElectrodevelopmentLaboratory.Itsmissionwastofindmethodsofusinglow-graderesourcesfromtheareaanddevelopingnewmetallurgicalprocesses.In1945,itsnamewaschangedtotheAlbanyMetallurgyResearchCenter.In1977,thatwasshortedtotheAlbanyResearchCenter.In1996,theARCwastransferredfromtheBureauofMinestotheDepartmentofEnergyandstaffingwascutfrom120to85people.
http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/politics/3360886

Immigrationpostnominee'scredentialsquestioned
Criticsclaimthelawyerdoesn'thavetheexperiencetoheadtheagency
ByDANEGGENandSPENCERS.HSU
WashingtonPostWASHINGTON-TheBushadministrationisseekingtoappointalawyerwithlittleimmigrationorcustomsexperiencetoheadthetroubledlawenforcementagencythathandlesthoseissues,promptingsharpcriticismfromsomeemployeegroups,immigrationadvocatesandhomelandsecurityexperts.
ADVERTISEMENT

ThepushtoappointJulieMyerstoheadtheU.S.ImmigrationandCustomsEnforcementagency,partoftheDepartmentofHomelandSecurity,comesinthemidstofintensedebateoverthequalificationsofdepartmentpoliticalappointeesinvolvedinthesluggishresponsetoHurricaneKatrina.
ConcernsoverMyers,36,wereacuteenoughataSenatehearinglastweekthatlawmakersaskedthenomineetodetailduringhertestimonyherpostingsandtoaccountforhermanagementexperience.Sen.GeorgeVoinovich,R-Ohio,wentsofarastotellMyersthatherresumeindicatessheisnotqualifiedforthejob.
ButVoinovichhassincemetwithMyersandisnowlikelytosupporther,hisspokeswomansaidMonday.Myers,whohasattractedstrongsupportfrommanyformercolleagues,toldsenatorsthatshewoulddrawupontheexperiencesofICEveteransinrunningtheagency.
"IrealizethatI'mnot80yearsold,"Myerstestified."Ihaveafewgrayhairs,morecoming,butIwillseektoworkwiththosewhoareknowledgeableinthisarea,whoknowmorethanIdo."
HeldvarietyofpostsAfterworkingasafederalprosecutorinBrooklyn,N.Y.,fortwoyears,MyersheldavarietyofjobsoverthepastfouryearsattheWhiteHouseandatthedepartmentsofCommerce,JusticeandTreasury,thoughnoneinvolvedmanagingalargebureaucracy.MyersworkedbrieflyaschiefofstafftoMichaelChertoffwhenheledtheJusticeDepartment'scriminaldivisionbeforehebecameHomelandSecuritysecretary.MyersalsowasanassociateunderindependentcounselKennethStarrforabout16monthsandhasmostrecentlyservedasaspecialassistanttoPresidentBushhandlingpersonnelissues.
HeruncleisAirForceGen.RichardMyers,thedepartingchairmanoftheJointChiefsofStaff.ShemarriedChertoff'scurrentchiefofstaff,JohnWood,onSaturday.
InwrittenanswerstoquestionsfromCongress,MyershighlightedheryearlongjobasassistantsecretaryforexportenforcementatCommerce,whereshesaidshesupervised170employeesanda$25millionbudget.ICEhasmorethan20,000employeesandabudgetofapproximately$4billion.Itspersonnelinvestigateimmigrant,drugandweaponsmuggling,andillegalexports,amongotherresponsibilities.
MyerswasonherhoneymoonandwasnotavailabletocommentMonday.ErinHealy,aWhiteHousespokeswoman,citedMyers'workwithcustomsagentsonmoney-launderinganddrug-smugglingcases."She'swell-knownandrespectedthroughoutthelawenforcementcommunity,"Healysaid."Shehasaproventrackrecordasaneffectivemanager."
ICEwascreatedfromremnantsoftheformerimmigrationandcustomsservices.ItiswidelyviewedasoneofthemosttroubledpartsofthesprawlingDepartmentofHomelandSecurity.
HomelandSecuritypoliticalappointeeshavecomeunderscrutinysinceMichaelBrownresignedunderfirethismonthasheadoftheFederalEmergencyManagementAgency,whichhejoinedwithnoexperienceindisasterpreparedness.SeveralotherseniorFEMAofficialswereBushsupporterswhodidnothavecrisis-managementcredentials.
Unlikemostpoliticalappointments,theheadofICEisrequiredbystatutetohaveatleastfiveyearsofexperienceinbothlawenforcementandmanagement.
Manyimmigrationadvocates,ICEemployeerepresentativesandhomelandsecurityexpertssaidtheyweretroubledbythenominationofMyerstotakeoveranagencywithsomanyproblems.
"Itappearsshe'sgotatremendousamountofexperienceinmoneylaundering,inbankingandthefinancialareas,"saidCharlesShowalter,presidentoftheNationalHomelandSecurityCouncil,aunionthatrepresents7,800ICEagents,officersandsupportstaff."Myquestionis:Whothehellisgoingtoenforcetheimmigrationlaws?"
'Pre-Katrinathinking'I.MichaelGreenberger,aformerClintonadministrationofficialwhoheadstheCenterforHealthandHomelandSecurityattheUniversityofMaryland,saidtheMyersappointmentrepresents"pre-Katrinathinking,wherepoliticalrelationshipswereaverylargefactor.""Post-Katrina,wenowseethatpeopleneedtobeeminentlyqualified,"Greenbergersaid.
ButJimPasco,executivedirectoroftheFraternalOrderofPolice,whichrepresentsseveralthousandICEemployees,laudedMyers'governmentexperience.
"Thatorganizationisonsomedaysalmostdysfunctional,"Pascosaid."IthinkJuliemaybejustthepersontopullpeopleandfunctionstogethertogetthemworkingrightforachange."
DuringahearingThursdayoftheSenateHomelandSecurityandGovernmentalAffairsCommittee,ChairmanSusanCollins,R-Maine,andrankingDemocratJoeLiebermanofConnecticutquizzedMyersonwhetherherpositionsoverthepastfiveyearsqualifiedherforthejob.
ThemostpointedquestioningcamefromVoinovich,whosaidduringthehearingthathewantedtomeetwithChertofftodiscussMyers'qualifications."I'dreallyliketohavehimspendsometimewithus,tellinguspersonallywhyhethinksyou'requalifiedforthejob,becausebasedontheresume,Idon'tthinkyouare,"Voinovichsaid.
ButMarcieRidgway,Voinovich'scommunicationsdirector,saidMondaythattheOhiosenatorhadresolvedhisconcernsbytalkingprivatelywithbothChertoffandMyers.RidgwaysaidVoinovichwasnotavailabletospeakdirectlyabouttheissue.
http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0905/092105r1.htm

DefenselagsinSESpay-for-performancecertificationByKarenRutzick
krutzick@govexec.comTheDefenseDepartmentisoneofthelastagencieswithoutcertificationfromtheOfficeofPersonnelManagementtoimplementapay-for-performancesystemforitsemployeesintheSeniorExecutiveService.
SpeakingonWednesdayataconferenceformembersoftheSeniorExecutiveAssociation-anonprofitorganizationthatadvocatesforcareerfederalexecutives-OPMDirectorLindaSpringerconfirmedtheaudience'sassertionthattheDefenseDepartmentdoesnothaveaperformanceappraisalsystemthatisuptosnuffwithOPMandOfficeofManagementandBudgetstandards.
OPMandOMBarerequiredtocertifythatagencieshavetheabilitytoproperlyassessSESemployeesbeforetheycangivepayraisesbasedonachievement,andbeforetheycanhaveaccesstoahigherpaycapforexecutives.Springersaidthatabout5,000membersoftheSESareinagenciesthatarecertifiedtoimplementthenewsystem,andabout2,000remaininuncertifiedagencies.
Thecertificationrequirement--andtheSESperformancepaysystemasawhole--comesinresponsetoNovember2003legislationthateliminatedregularcost-of-livingadjustmentsandlocalitypayforseniorexecutives,insteadtyingraisestoperformanceevaluations.
AsofSept.1,theDefenseandStateDepartmentsaretheonlytwoCabinet-levelagenciesthatarenotcertifiedtoimplementthesystem,accordingtoOPM'scount.Theremaining12Cabinet-levelagencieshaveprovisionalcertification,whichSpringercalled"agoodstart."Onlytwoindependentagencies,theGeneralServicesAdministrationandthePensionBenefitGuaranteeCorporation,haveobtainedfullcertificationtoappraisetheirSESemployees.
AgenciesthatcandemonstratethattheircurrentsystemsmeetthestandardssetbyOPMcanapplyforatwo-yearfullcertification,whileagenciesthathavedevelopedsystemsbuthaven'tyetimplementedthemcanapplyforone-yearprovisionalcertifications.Theycanlaterapplyforfullcertification.
TheDefenseDepartment'sfailuretodevelopasatisfactoryperformanceappraisalsystemfortheirexecutivescomesatatimewhenthedepartmentisclosetounveilingapay-for-performancesystemforallofitscivilianemployees.FinalregulationsforDefense'sNationalSecurityPersonnelSystemaresettobepublishedintheFederalRegistersometimethisfall,accordingtoNSPSofficials.Thedraftregulationsincludetyingpartsofemployeeraisestoperformance,muchliketheSESsystem.
SpringercalledtheSESsystema"goodtrainingground"forprogramslikeNSPS,theHomelandSecurityDepartment'ssimilarproposedsystemanddraftlegislationfromtheBushadministrationdubbedtheWorkingforAmericaAct,whichwouldapplypayforperformance,amongotherpersonnelreforms,tothedomesticagencies.
Forone,Springersaidthegovernmentislearningthatthecostofimplementingperformanceappraisalsystemsisnotprohibitive.
"Thecosttoputthesesystemsinplace,certainlyatSES,isnotthathigh,"Springersaid."We'renottalkingabout...bucketsofmoney.Itisn'tabudgetissue;it'smoreofatrainingandperformanceissue."
Springeralsonotedtheimportanceofmanagers,likethoseintheSES,beingthefirsttoundergoapay-for-performancesystem.
"Ifwecan'tdothisourselves,"Springersaid,"itbecomeschallengingtosay"totheemployeesthatexecutivesmanagethattheymustacceptthenewsystem.
EvenoncethefinalregulationsforNSPSareannounced,managerswillhavetotrainforthenewsystem,andemployeesmaynotseetheirfirstperformance-basedpayraiseformonths,oryears.
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000087&sid=aQ0cOXwe1TLk&refer=top_world_news

AbramoffProbeMayThreatenLeadingRepublicansasItExpandsSept.22(Bloomberg)--ThewideninginvestigationoflobbyistJackAbramoffismovingbeyondtheconfinesoftawdryinfluence-peddlingtothreatenleadingfiguresintheRepublicanhierarchythatdominatesWashington.Thisweek'sarrestofDavidSafavian,theformerheadofprocurementattheOfficeofManagementandBudget,inconnectionwithalanddealinvolvingAbramoffbringstheprobetotheWhiteHouseforthefirsttime.SafavianonceworkedwithAbramoffatonelobbyingfirmandwasapartnerofGroverNorquist,anationalRepublicanstrategistwithclosetiestotheWhiteHouse,atanother.SafaviantraveledtoScotlandin2002withAbramoff,RepresentativeRobertNeyofOhioandanothertopRepublicanorganizer,RalphReed,southeastregionalheadofPresidentGeorgeW.Bush's2004re-electioncampaign.HouseMajorityLeaderTomDeLay,whooncecalledAbramoff``oneofmyclosestanddearestfriends,''alreadyfiguresprominentlyintheinvestigationofthelobbyist'slinkstoRepublicans.TheprobemaysingeotherlawmakerswithtiestoAbramoff,suchasRepublicanSenatorConradBurnsofMontana,aswellasNey.``Thesepeopleallsharedtransactionstogether,''saidformerHouseDemocraticcounselStanBrand,nowapartnerintheWashington-basedBrandLawGroup.``That'salwayssomethingthatworriesdefenselawyers.''NervousRepublicansSomeRepublicansacknowledgetheyarenervous.``Surethere'saconcern,''saidformerRepresentativeJackQuinnofNewYork,who'snowpresidentofCassidy&Associates,aWashingtonlobbyingfirm.``Butlikeeveryoneelse,wehavetowaitandseewheretheinvestigationgoes.''Abramoff,46,atopfund-raiserforBush'sre-electioncampaign,isunderinvestigationbyagovernmenttaskforceconsistingoftheJusticeDepartment'spublicintegritysection,theFBI,theInternalRevenueServiceandtheInteriorDepartment'sinspectorgeneral.TheSenateIndianAffairsCommitteeisconductinganotherinquiry.Safavian,38,whointhe1990sworkedwithAbramoffattheWashington-basedlobbyingfirmofPrestonGatesEllis&RouvelasMeeds,waschargedSept.19bytheJusticeDepartmentwithmakingfalsestatementsaboutwhetherhehadanydealingswiththelobbyistinthecourseofAbramoff'sattemptstoobtaingovernmentland.Hewasalsochargedwithobstructinganinvestigation.Hislawyer,BarbaraVanGelder,toldtheWashingtonPosthewouldvigorouslycontestthecharges.SafaviantooktheScotlandtripthreeyearsagoaboardacharteredjet.Abramoffwaspayingfortheplane,Safaviansaidinane-mailtotheethicsofficeofhisemployeratthetime,theU.S.GeneralServicesAdministration.Abramoff'sNetworkAbramoff'swebofconnectionsrunsdeepintheRepublicanParty.DeLay,58,hasparticipatedinatleastthreeoverseastripshesponsored;DemocratshavedemandedthattheHouseethicscommitteeinvestigatewhetherDeLayviolatedHouserulesprohibitinglawmakersfromacceptingtripsfinancedbylobbyists.OneofthosetripswastotheCommonwealthoftheNorthernMarianaIslands,aU.S.territory.DeLayhasopposedlegislationrequiringtheMarianastofollowU.S.minimumwageandlaborlaws.AbramoffwaslobbyingfortheMarianasatthetime.TwoformerDeLayaides,spokesmanMichaelScanlonanddeputychiefofstaffWilliamJarrell,workedwithAbramoff.JarrelllaterwaspartofBush'stransitionteamfocusingontheInteriorDepartment,theparentagencyfortheBureauofIndianAffairs,atatimewhenAbramoffwasrepresentingcasino-owningtribes.TheSenateIndianAffairsCommitteeisinvestigatingAbramoff'sandScanlon'sworkforthetribes.DivertedFundsAbramoffdivertedfundspaidtohimbyIndiantribeclientsthatweresupposedtobeusedonlobbyingactivitiestoavarietyofpersonalprojects,accordingtotestimonyande-mailsreleasedataSenateIndianAffairsCommitteehearing.ThepersonalprojectsrangedfromanOrthodoxJewishacademytoanIsraelisniperschool;somemoneyalsowenttopayoffapersonaldebt,accordingtothetestimonyande-mails.AbramoffandScanlontookinmorethan$66millioninfeesfrom2001to2004fromtribalclients,accordingtoSenatorJohnMcCain,theArizonaRepublicanwhochairstheIndianaffairspanel.Inonee-mailreleasedbytheSenatecommittee,AbramoffwrotetoScanlon,``IhavetomeetwiththemonkeysfromtheChoctawtribalcounsel.''AbramoffalsohasarelationshipwithNey,theOhiocongressman.Ney'sformerchiefofstaff,NeilVolz,workedwithAbramoffattheMiami-basedlawfirmofGreenbergTraurigLLP.ReopeningaCasinoNey,51,in2002agreedtoinsertlanguageinfederallegislationtoallowanAbramoffclient,theTiguaIndiansofElPaso,Texas,toreopenacasinoclosedbystateauthorities.Theprovisiondidn'tmakeitintothefinalmeasure.In2000,NeyplacedtwostatementsintheCongressionalRecordinsupportofAbramoff'spurchaseofSunCruzCasinoLtd.,acasinoshipcompany.AbramoffwasindictedbyafederalgrandjuryinFortLauderdale,Florida,inAugustonwirefraudchargesinconnectionwiththepurchase.Burns,70,whoisupforre-electionin2006,hasbeenthesubjectofanadvertisingcampaignbytheMontanaDemocraticPartycriticizinghimforreceiving$136,500indonationsfromIndiantribeclientsofAbramoffandScanlonfrom2001to2004.Burnsin2003pushedforawealthyMichiganIndiantribe,oneofAbramoff'sclients,toreceivea$3millionfederalgrant.TwoformeraidesofBurns,WillBrookeandShawnVasell,wenttoworkwithAbramoffatGreenbergTraurig.BurnsspokesmanGrantToomeysaidtherequestforthegrantcamefromtheMichigancongressionaldelegation.AnOffertoMeetNeyspokesmanBrianWalshsaid,``ThecongressmanhassenttwoletterstotheHouseethicscommitteeasfarbackaslastyearofferingtomeetwiththem.Todate,therehasbeennoresponse.''WalshsaidtherehavebeennoinquiriesfromtheJusticeDepartment``onanymatterrelatedtoMr.Abramoff.''DeLayspokesmanKevinMaddensaidthemajorityleaderhasaskedtheethicscommittee``tolookintoeverythinginordertoexoneratehim.''Norquistdeclinedthroughaspokesmantocomment.Reeddidn'trespondtoarequestforcomment.EdPatru,aspokesmanfortheNationalRepublicanCongressionalCommittee,saidAbramoffwon'tbeanissueinnextyear'smid-termcongressionalelections.``NomemberofCongresshaseverbeenkickedoutofofficebecauseofanallegationagainstanothermemberoranotherlobbyist,''Patrusaid.``Democratsaretryingtonationalizethe2006elections.Theirapproachhasbeentothroweverythingupagainstthewallandhopesomethingsticks.''GamblinginAlabamaAbramoff'slinkstothepartygobeyondlawmakers.HeworkedwithReed,aformerdirectoroftheRepublican-orientedChristianCoalition,andNorquisttokillanefforttobringlegalizedgamblingtoAlabama.AtAbramoff'sbehest,oneofhistribalclients,whosecasinocouldhavebeenhurtbythecompetition,sentmoneytoNorquist'santi-taxgroup,AmericansforTaxReform,whichinturnwroteachecktohelpReed'seffort.OneofNorquist'sformerpartnersinanotherventurewasSafavian.ThetwomenworkedatJanus-MerrittStrategiesLLC,aWashingtonlobbyingfirmthatwaslatersoldtoaRichmond,Virginia-basedlawfirm,WilliamsMullen.``Safavianisasmallfish,butincombinationwithAbramoffandhistiestoNorquistandDeLay,itpresentsaveryinvitingtargettoDemocrats,''saidRossBaker,apoliticalscientistwhostudiescongressionalpoliticsatRutgersUniversityinNewBrunswick,NewJersey.SafavianwasoneofthreeformerAbramoffassociateswhojoinedtheBushadministration.AnotherwasPatrickPizzella,assistantsecretaryoflaborforadministrationandmanagement.ThethirdwasSusanRalston,specialassistanttoWhiteHousedeputychiefofstaffKarlRove.


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