Abramoff Claimed Ties to Rove

The Abramoff plot thickens… and the cast grows to include Karl Rove…

Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff bragged two years ago that he was in contact with White House political aide Karl Rove on behalf of a large, Bermuda-based corporation that wanted to avoid incurring some taxes and continue receiving federal contracts, according to a written statement by President Bush’s nominee to be deputy attorney general.

Timothy E. Flanigan, general counsel for conglomerate Tyco International Ltd., said in a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that Abramoff’s lobbying firm initially boasted that Abramoff could help Tyco fend off a special liability tax because he “had good relationships with members of Congress,” including House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.).

Abramoff later said “he had contact with Mr. Karl Rove” about the issue, according to the statement by Flanigan, who oversaw Tyco’s dealings with Abramoff and his firm and received reports from Abramoff about progress in the lobbying campaign. Flanigan’s statement is the latest indication that Abramoff promoted himself as having ready access to senior officials in the Bush administration.

Of course, a “White House spokeswoman, Erin Healy, said Rove “has no recollection” of being contacted by Abramoff about Tyco’s concerns.” If you believe that, then you believe Rove had no ties to PlameGate, too. Karl Rove is as slimey as they come.

Lobbying disclosure statements filed by Abramoff listing his work for Tyco cite the “Executive Office of the President” as one of his lobbying targets on the tax and contracts issues. Others were the Department of Commerce, the General Services Administration and Congress. Greenberg Traurig records submitted to Tyco describe specific contacts with the White House legislative office, a source familiar with the matter said yesterday.

Rove’s personal assistant at the time, Susan Ralston, formerly worked as Abramoff’s secretary.

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