David H. Safavian, a White House procurement official was involved until last week in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. He was arrested yesterday, “accused of lying and obstructing a criminal investigation into Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s dealings with the federal government.”
It was the first criminal complaint filed against a government official in the ongoing corruption probe related to Abramoff’s activities in Washington.
The complaint, filed by the FBI, alleges that David H. Safavian, 38, a White House procurement official involved until last week in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, made repeated false statements to government officials and investigators about a golf trip with Abramoff to Scotland in 2002.
It also contends that he concealed his efforts to help Abramoff acquire control of two federally managed properties in the Washington area. Abramoff is the person identified as “Lobbyist A” in a 13-page affidavit unsealed in court, according to sources knowledgeable about the probe.
Until his resignation on the day the criminal complaint against him was signed, Safavian was the top administrator at the federal procurement office in the White House Office of Management and Budget, where he set purchasing policy for the entire government.