White House Official Safavian, Warned Abramoff

The Bush Administration and Justice Department are already attempting to put the brakes on the Abramoff investigation. If they didn’t try, in the near future it might be hard to find an unindicted or unconvicted Republican left in DC.

The Bush administration’s former chief procurement official tipped off lobbyist Jack Abramoffthat the government was about to suspend the federal contracts of an Abramoff client, newly filed court papers say.

David Safavian provided “sensitive and confidential information” about four subsidiaries of Tyco International to Abramoff regarding internal deliberations at the General Services Administration, say the court papers filed Friday in a criminal case against Safavian.

Abramoff has pleaded guilty to conspiracy, tax evasion and mail fraud in a burgeoning bribery probe centered on Capitol Hill but also involving the Interior Department.

The White House is refusing to release photographs of President Bush and Abramoff or to reveal what contact Abramoff had with White House aides.

Acting on the information that Abramoff provided the company in November 2003, Tyco lawyer Timothy Flanigan, a former assistant attorney general in the Bush administration, contacted the general counsel to the GSA and asked for an opportunity to address the suspension.

The company revealed Flanigan’s role in a statement.

In October, Flanigan withdrew his nomination to be Bush’s deputy attorney general. His confirmation was delayed due to questions about his dealings with Abramoff when Abramoff was a Tyco lobbyist.

The government had planned to suspend Tyco because of alleged criminal conduct by former Tyco executives.

After advising Abramoff about the internal deliberations at GSA, Safavian suggested to Abramoff what arguments Tyco should make when it appealed the suspension decision, the court papers in Safavian’s federal court case say.

Once tipped off by Abramoff, Tyco hired an outside law firm and successfully petitioned the government to lift the suspension and allow Tyco to continue to perform on government contracts.

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