More White House Visits Disclosed

From the Associated Press

The Secret Service on Friday disclosed four more visits to the White House in 2001 by lobbyist Jack Abramoff, including one to see a domestic policy aide to Vice President Dick Cheney.

The newly released records of Abramoff's access to the White House bring the number of known visits to seven.

Abramoff has pleaded guilty in an influence-peddling scandal and is cooperating with a wide-ranging Justice Department probe of alleged corruption on Capitol Hill and in the executive branch.

A former White House aide, David H. Safavian, was convicted last month of covering up his relationship with Abramoff. Safavian was the Bush administration's top procurement official until his arrest last year.

One Abramoff White House visit, according to Secret Service logs, was on April 20, 2001, to see Cesar Conda, then Cheney's assistant for domestic policy.

Five days after the Conda meeting, one of Abramoff's former lobbying colleagues, Patrick Pizzella, was nominated by the president to be assistant secretary of labor. Pizzella was confirmed.

The Secret Service logs do not state why Abramoff met with Conda.

One log entry indicates Abramoff visited the White House family residence on Dec. 10, 2001, for two hours as part of a large holiday party.

The Secret Service entry for Abramoff's name that day reads "POTUS," "WH," "RESIDENCE," and lists the number of people present as 326. "POTUS" stands for "president of the United States."

The Secret Service material surfaced as a result of lawsuits by the conservative organization Judicial Watch and the Democratic National Committee.

The government is asking a judge to dismiss the lawsuits, but another watchdog group that is suing says it will seek more information on the visits.

Abramoff's other previously undisclosed trips to the White House complex in 2001 were March 1 and May 17. Both were to meetings in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House.

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