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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 06:42 PM
Original message
ABRAMOFF Scandal: J. Steven Griles Ordered to Prison, Highest-Ranked Bush Administration Convict
Former Official Ordered to Prison in Abramoff Scandal
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=11...

NPR.org, June 27, 2007 A federal judge on Wednesday doubled the prison sentence of the Interior Department's former number two official, sentencing him to 10 months in prison for lying to Senate investigators about the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal and refusing to accept responsibility in court.

J. Steven Griles was the Interior Department's deputy secretary and is the highest administration official sentenced in the probe. Griles had entered a plea agreement with prosecutors in which he agreed to plead guilty to obstructing a congressional investigation in exchange for a 5-month prison sentence.

But at the sentencing hearing, Griles' attorneys appeared to make excuses for their client's false statements to Senate investigators, evoking the judge's wrath and leading her to double his prison time.

"Even now you continue to minimize and try to excuse your conduct," said U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle

Griles admitted to lying to Senate investigators about his relationship with Abramoff, ......

======================
MORE ABRAMOFF THREADS:

OPEN EDIT: Abramoff -- His Crimes and Connections to Public Figures...
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

DEAL OR NO DEAL? Abramoff's and Rove's ex-aide has "useful information" about Abramoff, White House
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Sara Taylor's (and Abramoff's) assistant Susan B. Ralston also resigned? Seeks Immunity.
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Abramoff and Kark Rove Linked to Prosecution of Ex-Alabama Governor and Campaign Finances
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Abramoff: The House That Jack Built "biggest scandal in Congress"
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Roger Stone and the Jack Abramoff mould. Making $$millions$$ gaming gaming.
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

William Heaton, ex-chief of staff guilty in Abramoff probe "has agreed to cooperate"
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

ABRAMOFF Self-Convicted Felon Drops Political A-Bomb On Republican Party
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 06:43 PM
Response to Original message
1. 10 months
somehow that just doesn't seem like anywhere near enough time
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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 06:53 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. INDEED. Good news is one more person cooperating with the investigations.
Edited on Wed Jun-27-07 07:06 PM by L. Coyote
Italia Federici!

(Should have added this too, but the 30 million thing was creeping up fast)
=====================================================
Abramoff, Prison and a Crazy Little Thing Called Love
By Dana Milbank - Wednesday, June 27, 2007; Page A02
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...


... Had J. Steven Griles not been busy with so many lady friends while serving as the No. 2 official in the Interior Department, he probably wouldn't have scored a date yesterday with another woman: Judge Ellen Huvelle of U.S. District Court, who sentenced Griles to 10 months in prison for obstructing an investigation into the Jack Abramoff scandal.

Griles asked Abramoff for favors for the women in his life, prosecutors said, and in exchange helped Abramoff's clients with their government business. One of Griles's girlfriends, Italia Federici, got $500,000 for her nonprofit from Abramoff's Indian tribes.

"I concealed the nature and extent of my true relationship with Italia Federici," Griles confessed to the judge yesterday in a statement interrupted by stifled sobs. Choking out the words, a burly, red-faced Griles told Huvelle that "this has been the most difficult time in my life. My guilty plea has brought me great shame and embarrassment."

And the shame wasn't about to end. ............
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-29-07 02:23 PM
Response to Reply #2
22. Glad he brought up her name. She seems every bit as cheesy as her collegues.
Took a quick run to google for a quick look:


Italia Fererici


Campbell denies relationship with Italia Federici
Friday, November 18, 2005

Ben Nighthorse Campbell did not have a "close relationship" with Italia Federici, a spokesperson for the retired senator told The Denver Post.

At the Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing yesterday, Federici said she had a "very close relationship" with Campbell. She said he helped generate publicity for the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy, a GOP group that she runs.

Federici raised her ties to Campbell in an attempt to explain why she wasn't surprised that CREA received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from tribes. She said Native Americans, as a people, are very generous and have a strong connection to the environment, the focus of her organization.

Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), the committee chairman, and Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota), the vice chairman, didn't buy her testimony. They repeatedly accused her of using CREA to gain access to the Interior Department on behalf of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff's former tribal clients.
(snip/...)

http://www.indianz.com/News/2005/011344.asp
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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-30-07 03:49 PM
Response to Reply #2
28. Abramoff-Scanlon School of Sleaze: Griles, Federici, Safavian, Flanigan, Norton, McCain
Abramoff-Scanlon School of Sleaze
Michael Scherer - Nov. 3, 2005
http://dir.salon.com/story/news/feature/2005/11/03/abra...


Up-and-coming Republican hacks would do well to watch closely the ongoing Senate investigations of superstar lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his former business partner Michael Scanlon. The power duo stand accused of exploiting Native American tribes to the tune of roughly $66 million, laundering that money into bank accounts they controlled and then using it to buy favors for powerful members of Congress and the executive branch ...

... a long line of scandalous revelations about Abramoff's lobbying operation ... under investigation by two Senate committees and the Justice Department ... Indian Affairs committee is scheduled to hold one more hearing on Abramoff before issuing a report; it still needs to gather testimony from Italia Federici, a close associate of Interior Secretary Gale Norton. Federici is accused of setting up a meeting for Abramoff with Interior Department officials after her nonprofit company, Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy, received six-figure donations from Abramoff's clients. Environmentalists charge that Federici's company -- which was founded by Norton -- is a front for big industry polluters. Federici was scheduled to testify Wednesday, but has so far ducked a Senate subpoena. "I believe U.S. marshals will do their duty," McCain said. "She has been unable to be located."

... the former top procurement official in the White House, David Safavian, has been arrested on charges of lying about a trip he took to Scotland with Abramoff. Another former White House official, Timothy Flanigan, recently withdrew his nomination to become deputy attorney general, after it became clear that he would have to testify under oath to the Senate about his relationship with Abramoff ...

On Wednesday, a third former Bush administration official, J. Steven Griles, was asked to account for his relationship with Abramoff, which is detailed in dozens of e-mails obtained by the Senate. Griles claimed that he had never done Abramoff's bidding, despite Abramoff's own boasts that Griles was working on his behalf, and might even consider a job at Greenberg Traurig ...

... Michael Rossetti, a former counsel to Interior Secretary Gale Norton, who said Griles had shown a "very keen interest" on one matter where Abramoff had an interest. "Mr. Rossetti has a different memory on that issue than I do," said Griles, who appeared distraught ...
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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 07:22 PM
Response to Original message
3. Sources: Wikipedia, SourceWatch "involved in efforts to help two of Abramoffs clients"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Steven_Griles
James Steven "Steve" Griles (born December 13, 1947) was a coal lobbyist and the Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Interior from July 12, 2001, until his resignation on Dec. 7, 2004. Second in rank only to then-Secretary Gale Norton, Griles "effectively was Interior's chief operating officer ... and its top representative on Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force.<1> On March 23, 2007 he pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in the Senate investigation of the Abramoff scandal, the top Bush administration official to do so.<2>, and on June 26 was sentenced to a fine and 10 months imprisonment. ....

Griles was also asked to testify before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee in the 2005 investigation of the Abramoff scandal. Abramoff's private emails indicated that Griles had pledged to use his authority to block a casino which Abramoff was lobbying against. Abramoff also indicated that he was interested in hiring Griles.

Furthermore, Griles was involved with donations made to Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy, run by his then girlfriend Italia Federici. Donations were made to CREA by both Abramoff's tribal clients and by energy-sector companies with connections to Griles. ....

==================
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=J._Steven_Gr...

Testimony: Abramoff-Reed Indian Gambling Scandal

Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) "has called on the former No. 2 official at the Interior Department to testify before a Senate panel investigating lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his involvement with Indian gambling tribes," The Hill's Josephine Hearn reported. This "marks the fourth and final in the Indian Affairs Committees investigation of Abramoff." McCain is now chairman of the panel.

Griles "was involved in efforts to help two of Abramoffs clients the Louisiana Coushatta tribe and the Saginaw Chippewa tribe of Michigan fend off casino proposals from rival tribes and may have done so while engaged in employment negotiations with Abramoff, recent news reports have said. Griles has said through spokespeople that he did not play a major role in endeavors to aid the tribes," Hearn wrote.

"The development marks the first time McCain has taken direct aim at the administration during the Indian Affairs Committees year-and-a-half-long investigation of Abramoff, his associate Michael Scanlon and their efforts to extract more than $80 million in lobbying and public-relations fees from Indian tribes," Hearn said.

"Griles is expected to appear alongside Italia Federici at the hearing ... Federici, who was an aide to Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton during her 1996 Senate bid, reportedly served as a go-between linking Griles and Abramoff. Federici is president of the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy, a group founded by Norton and anti-tax activist Grover Norquist."

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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 07:23 PM
Response to Original message
4. Has this been anywhere on network TV or
Cable?
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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 07:56 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Yesterday's article is propagating well in print media online
Google News provides a good indicator of how well news is hitting print media. Be sure to sort by relevance, and view the lead stories:
http://news.google.com/news?um=1&tab=wn&client=firefox-...

Abramoff, Prison and a Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Washington Post, United States - 21 hours ago
Had J. Steven Griles not been busy with so many lady friends ....

all 263 news articles

This is the count for just the AP story. Click on "all 263 news articles" to view how the headlines are treated by distinct papers. Some are really lame, like "Former Interior Official Sentenced." Others are explicit, like "Abramoff links net ex-Interior deputy 10 months" and "Interior's Griles gets 10 months for lies."
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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-28-07 12:27 AM
Response to Reply #4
12. Here is a YouTube post of the National News
BUSH OFFICIAL STEVEN GRILES SENTENCED IN ABRAMOFF SCANDAL
http://youtube.com/watch?v=2JSgzYES_pY

I love hearing it over and over! One advantage of YouTubing the news.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-28-07 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. Thanks n/t
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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 08:33 PM
Response to Original message
6. WA POST: 10 months PLUS Griles fined $30,000, three years probation
Former Interior Official Gets Prison
By MATT APUZZO
The Associated Press
Tuesday, June 26, 2007; 7:24 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...


WASHINGTON -- A federal judge chastised the Interior Department's former No. 2 official and doubled his proposed prison term to 10 months Tuesday for lying to senators in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal and making excuses about it in court.

J. Steven Griles was the department's deputy secretary and is the highest administration official sentenced in the probe. He pleaded guilty to obstructing a congressional investigation ...

Griles admitted to lying to Senate investigators about his relationship with Abramoff, the central figure in a corruption investigation that has led to convictions of a former congressman, legislative aides, lobbyists and officials in the Bush administration.

Second in rank only to then-Secretary Gale Norton, Griles effectively was Interior's chief operating officer between 2001 and 2005 and its top representative on Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force. .....
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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-29-07 03:29 PM
Response to Reply #6
23. Griles sought lessor sentence " of working for anti-environmental group"
ORIGINAL RESEARCH
Bill Berkowitz - June 19, 2007
http://www.mediatransparency.org/storyprinterfriendly.p...


J. Steven Griles ... (is) looking for 'sentence' of working for anti-environmental group instead of five years in the pokey ... Griles has enlisted a small army of the well-connected who are petitioning the sentencing Judge for leniency ...

... Griles and his legal team have developed a two-pronged strategy: Line up a host of A-listers to send letters to D.C. District Judge Ellen Huvelle seeking leniency; and personally petition the judge to be sentenced to a fine, three months home confinement, and 500 hours of community service ...

In "Crimes Against Nature," published in the December 11, 2003 issue of Rolling Stone, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. detailed some of Griles' activities: "During the first Reagan administration, Griles worked directly under James Watt at Interior, where he helped the coal industry evade prohibitions against mountaintop-removal strip mining.

... the letters supporting Griles. "The 91 letters ... reflect his friendships and contacts made through an extensive career in government and industry, including three former Interior secretaries and a litany of senior former government officials and industry executives," Berman pointed out. ...

Tom Sansonetti, former assistant attorney general for the environment and natural resources division ... wrote that "Steve is the consummate public servant ...m According to Berman, "Sansonetti's successor was Sue Ellen Wooldridge, who married Griles on March 26. Wooldridge resigned in January amid news reports she purchased a South Carolina vacation home with Griles and a ConocoPhillips lobbyist ...

Among the other 91 requests for leniency include letters from Reagan-era Interior secretaries Don Hodel and William Clark; Craig Manson, former assistant Interior secretary for fish, wildlife and parks; Dan Kish, senior adviser to House Natural Resources Committee ranking member Don Young (R-Alaska); Bill Horn, a Reagan-era assistant Interior secretary and lobbyist; former U.S. EPA acting Administrator Marianne Horinko; Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works John Paul Woodley; James Cason, Interior associate deputy secretary; Ann Klee, former U.S. EPA general counsel and former counselor to Norton; Bennett Raley, former assistant Interior secretary for water and science; Dale Hall, director of the Fish and Wildlife Service and Derrick Crandall, president and executive director of the American Recreation Coalition.
.....
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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 08:45 PM
Response to Original message
7. FRIENDS OF THE EARTH: The Case against J. Steven Griles
Look who was on the ball years ago about Griles:

The Case against J. Steven Griles, Deputy Secretary,
U.S. Department of the Interior
Background on Coal Bed Methane and the Powder River Basin
http://www.foe.org/camps/eco/interior/grilescase1.html

Press Release - Groups Demand that Bush Oust #2 at Interior over Ethics Violations - Sept. 25, 2002
http://www.foe.org/camps/eco/interior/902grilespr.html

Press Release - Deputy Secretary of the Interior Commits Flagrant Ethics Violations - May 25, 2002
http://www.foe.org/camps/eco/interior/grilespr.html

MUCH MORE
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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 08:49 PM
Response to Original message
8. LAW.com: Lobbying Firm Cuts Ties to Name Partner
Lobbying Firm Cuts Ties to Name Partner Under Investigation in Abramoff Probe
Jason McLure - Legal Times - January 18, 2007
http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1169028147485


Lobbying firm Lundquist, Nethercutt & Griles has severed ties with former Department of the Interior Deputy Secretary J. Steven Griles.

Griles has been targeted in the Justice Department's ongoing corruption probe stemming from the lobbying activities of Jack Abramoff.

Griles, who had been a name partner at the firm, was a lobbyist for coal and energy interests both before and after his tenure at the Interior Department from 2001 to 2005. During Griles' stint at Interior, which oversees lucrative drilling and mining licenses on millions of acres of federal land, his ties to industry were the subject of a number of internal investigations. .....

As a lobbyist, Griles has most recently represented the American Petroleum Institute, Mettiki Coal, Newmont Mining Corp., and other large mining and energy interests on a number of environmental and regulatory issues.

Lundquist, Nethercutt & Griles generated $780,000 in lobbying revenue during the first six months of 2006, according to disclosure forms filed with the Senate.
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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 09:45 PM
Response to Original message
9. TPM Muckraker: Sex, Lies, and Energy Interests
Sex, Lies, and Energy Interests
By Paul Kiel - February 22, 2007
http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/002611.php


The scandal over the government's top environmental prosecutor's purchase of a vacation home with an oil lobbyist isn't dying down ...

... It's merely one troubling aspect of a romantic relationship between the Sue Ellen Wooldridge, who headed up the Justice Department's environmental division, and Steven Griles ... to ensure that Griles not roam too freely, an Interior official was assigned to keep an eye on him. That official: Sue Ellen Wooldridge, then the deputy chief of staff to Interior Secretary Gale Norton.

After a couple of months, the two were dating ... While the two kept their relationship under wraps, they did what they could to help one another. ...
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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 11:42 PM
Response to Original message
10. Earth Shakers: The Counter-Enviro Power List - J. Steven Griles: Lobbyist
Check out the complete list of players, linked on this page:

=======================
Earth Shakers: The Counter-Enviro Power List - J. Steven Griles: Lobbyist
By Jason Stevenson, Assistant Editor
http://outside.away.com/outside/features/200505/counter...

The former number two at the Interior Department under Gale Norton, Griles, a 57-year-old from Halifax County, Virginia, has moved in and out of government for more than 20 years, becoming a prime example of Washington's revolving-door syndrome. On February 1, just days after leaving his post as deputy secretary of Interior, Griles took a job as a principal at Lundquist, Nethercutt and Griles, a powerful Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm that represents major energy corporations such as BP and Exelon.

Griles first came to the department in 1981 under Interior Secretary James Watt, during the Reagan administration, serving as deputy director for the Office of Surface Mining. In the 1990s, he worked for the D.C.-based energy lobbying firm National Environmental Strategies. In 2001, as deputy secretary, Griles became instrumental in streamlining regulations to speed the approval process for mountaintop-removal coal mining. The practice, which environmentalists and Appalachia residents refer to as "an environmental apocalypse," involves blasting away mountaintops, leaving behind tons of potentially toxic rubble and sludge. Griles also supported a new rule allowing mining companies to dump the debris in nearby waterways; some 1,200 miles of Appalachian streambeds have already been buried by the procedure. .....
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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-28-07 12:08 AM
Response to Original message
11. WA POST: Griles Pleads Guilty To Lying to Senate = March 24, 2007
Ex-Official At Interior Hid His Ties To Abramoff
Griles Pleads Guilty To Lying to Senate
By Susan Schmidt and James V. Grimaldi - March 24, 2007; Page A01
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...


The former No. 2 official in the Interior Department yesterday admitted lying to the Senate about his relationship with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who gained the official's intervention at the agency for his Indian tribal clients.

J. Steven Griles pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to a felony for making false statements in testimony before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee in November 2005 and in an earlier interview with panel investigators. He is the 10th person -- and the second high-level Bush administration official -- to face criminal charges in the continuing Justice Department investigation into Abramoff's lobbying activities. ...

... Griles told the Senate panel and its investigators that his relationship with Abramoff was no different from that with any lobbyist. Griles's then-girlfriend, however, had introduced him to the lobbyist and then acted as a go-between. The woman, Italia Federici -- identified as "Person A" in court papers -- ran an advocacy group to which Abramoff and his clients donated $500,000. ...

... Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher said this latest conviction in the Abramoff investigation "again demonstrates the commitment of the Department of Justice to the aggressive investigation and prosecution of public corruption at all levels of government."

The Griles plea comes at a time when the Justice Department is being criticized by congressional Democrats who have alleged that the Bush administration may have fired several U.S. attorneys because they pursued corruption investigations of Republicans ...
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upi402 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-28-07 01:01 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. I wonder if there will be further info from Griles as a heavy conscience
weighs in on him.
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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-28-07 10:24 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. Watch the rotating door. I bet he's back in action soon, doing the same work.
He won't be rotating into government any more though. I bet he can call in lots of favors after his stint in the Interior Department.
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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-30-07 03:07 PM
Response to Reply #11
27. Abramoff Cited Aid Of Griles - Conflict-of-Interest Probe Is Underway
Abramoff Cited Aid Of Interior Official
Conflict-of-Interest Probe Is Underway
By Susan Schmidt - Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 28, 2005; A01
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...


Indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff claimed in e-mails sent in 2002 that the deputy secretary of the interior had pledged to block an Indian casino ... Abramoff later told two associates that he was trying to hire the official.

A federal task force investigating Abramoff's activities has conducted interviews and obtained documents from Interior Department officials and Abramoff associates to determine whether conflict-of-interest laws were violated, according to people with knowledge of the probe. It can be a federal crime for government officials to negotiate for a job while being involved in decisions affecting the potential employer.

The two former Abramoff associates, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are under scrutiny in the investigation, said Abramoff told them in late 2003 that he was trying to arrange for his firm, Greenberg Traurig LLP, to hire J. Steven Griles, then deputy interior secretary. Federal investigators are interested in those discussions and in job negotiations Abramoff may have had with a second department official, according to sources.

Abramoff told associates that he believed Griles was "committed" to blocking an effort by the Gun Lake Indian tribe to build a casino near Grand Rapids, Mich., according to the content of e-mail messages reviewed by The Washington Post. .....
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ck4829 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-28-07 12:05 PM
Response to Original message
16. K&R
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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-28-07 12:07 PM
Response to Original message
17. consequences
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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-28-07 01:34 PM
Response to Original message
18. Abramoff described Interior Deputy Secretary Steve Griles as "a friend .....
LOBBYING & LAW
Grover and Jack's Long Adventure
By Peter H. Stone, National Journal
National Journal Group Inc.
http://nationaljournal.com/about/njweekly/stories/2005/...


Grover Norquist ... and some 20 or 30 corporate lobbyists who help subsidize Americans for Tax Reform, the anti-tax group that Norquist heads ... lobbyists pay ATR between $10,000 and $25,000 a year for the privilege of attending several ... get-togethers, which have featured the likes of White House political guru Karl Rove ... the K Street crowd has been joined at the dinners by ... leaders of some casino-owning Indian tribes who were top clients of one of Norquist's oldest friends, former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. ... some of these same tribal representatives also attended brief meetings at the White House with President Bush that Norquist has organized annually ...

... Abramoff ... steered nearly $1.8 million in donations to Norquist's ATR from Indian tribes and other clients ... Abramoff used ATR as a conduit in 1999 and 2000, for example, to send some $1.15 million from the Mississippi Choctaws to the Alabama Christian Coalition and to an allied anti-gambling group in the state. The funds were for a campaign spearheaded by Ralph Reed ... to defeat a proposed gambling venture in Alabama that posed a financial threat to the Mississippi Choctaws' casino enterprises ... the Choctaws poured about $1.5 million into ATR coffers, roughly three-quarters of which was used to help defeat an Alabama lottery referendum

... Norquist appears to have played some role in helping Abramoff hook up with the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy (CREA), a group that Norquist helped to found in 1997 along with Gale Norton ... CREA became a key lobbying ally for at least two of the tribes ... Coushattas gave $150,000 and the Chippewas gave $75,000 to CREA when Abramoff was seeking the council's help.

CREA proved instrumental to Abramoff's efforts to persuade a top Interior Department official -- including the then-No. 2 at the department, Steve Griles -- to side with some of Abramoff's Indian casino clients against rival tribes that were seeking to open casinos in Louisiana and Michigan. The Washington Post has reported that Italia Federici, who runs CREA, used her personal pull with Griles to get the Interior official to help Abramoff's tribal clients ward off competition ...

Norquist not only co-founded CREA, he also sublet or gave space to the new organization for about a year at ATR's former offices ... Norquist was a featured guest at a CREA fundraiser ... which also drew Griles and representatives of energy interests ...

... Abramoff was eager to help Griles get into the Bush administration ... Abramoff described Griles as "a friend .....
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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-28-07 02:40 PM
Response to Original message
19. Let's hope he doesn't hold the record long. nt
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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-28-07 10:14 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. You refer to highest-ranked Administration official, I presume? INDEED.
I expect to see more Congressional problems soon too. How has Doolittle escaped so far? As more players join the club of cooperating convicts, things unravel a lot faster.
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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-29-07 02:08 PM
Response to Original message
21. Gale A. Norton: Griles merits leniency
Griles merits leniency, ex-officials say
The former deputy secretary of the Interior could get prison for lying to Senate investigators in the Abramoff scandal.
By Henry Weinstein, Times Staff Writer - June 24, 2007
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-na...

Former Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton is urging a federal judge in Washington to show leniency in sentencing her former top deputy, but leaders of Indian and environmental organizations want J. Steven Griles to be given a stiff sentence for his crimes.

... described by GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff as "our guy" at the Interior Department ... Norton's chief deputy from 2001 to 2005, admitted that he lied when he told Senate investigators and the Senate Indian Affairs Committee in 2005 that Abramoff had no special access to his office. Abramoff had "instant and continued access to Griles" upon meeting him and forcefully sought assistance from the Interior Department for the tribes he represented, according to court documents. ...

Several other former Interior Department officials, Republican Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter of Idaho and Rep. Barbara Cubin (R-Wyo.) are among 90 other people who have submitted letters on Griles' behalf. ...

The prosecutors countered that "a sentence of incarceration will send a message to all would-be congressional witnesses that they are expected to testify fully and completely, or face serious punitive consequences." ... "Griles' lies and withholding of material information perverted the congressional investigation into the alleged access and influence Abramoff had" ...

In his efforts to help Abramoff, the prosecutors said, Griles went so far as to review a seating chart at a dinner party held by Federici, so that Abramoff could introduce clients to ranking Interior Department officials ...
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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-30-07 01:20 PM
Response to Original message
24. Norton Ex-Aides Clash on Lobbyist's Influence = Accused Griles of Aiding Abramoff
Norton Ex-Aides Clash on Lobbyist's Influence
Lawyer Says He Accused Griles of Aiding Abramoff
By Susan Schmidt and James V. Grimaldi
Washington Post Staff Writers - November 3, 2005; Page A19
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...


Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton's former legal counselor yesterday accused J. Steven Griles, the department's recently departed second in command, of improperly trying to meddle in decisions affecting tribal clients of lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Former legal counselor Michael G. Rossetti, seated beside Griles before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, said he repeatedly rebuffed Griles's efforts and, at one point, confronted him in front of other officials. He accused Griles of attempting to do Abramoff's bidding on an issue affecting the Coushatta tribe of Louisiana, an Abramoff gambling client. ...

The face-off between two former senior Bush administration officials was the latest twist in the unfolding story of Abramoff's efforts to influence Congress and executive branch agencies. A Justice Department public corruption task force is investigating the former GOP lobbying powerhouse; yesterday's hearing was the fourth the committee has held to look into the $82 million Abramoff and associates received from tribal clients over three years.

The panel's chairman, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), called the saga "a complex and tangled web . . . a story alarming in its depth and breadth of potential wrongdoing. It is breathtaking in its reach."

One witness -- Italia Federici, depicted in e-mails as a go-between from Abramoff to Griles -- refused to appear, ...
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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-30-07 01:26 PM
Response to Original message
25. Inspector General Report: J. Steven Griles Investigation, March 2004
Inspector General Report: J. Steven Griles Investigation, March 2004
http://www.indianz.com/myredir.asp?url=http://www.foe.o...


Introduction
In June 2002, our office initiated an investigation after a confidential source alleged that
government contracts had been steered by high-level Department of the Interior (DOI or
Department) officials to a company with which Deputy Secretary J. Steven Griles had been
associated. Subsequently, we expanded our investigation to encompass three other concerns
regarding Mr. Griles conduct one by our own accord, one at the request of the Secretary, and
one at the request of Senator Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Connecticut).
Our initial investigation focused on a series of Bureau of Land Management ....

Our investigation took approximately 18 months to complete, due, in part, to our inability
to obtain documents accurately depicting the former clients of the Deputy Secretary and the
former and current clients of his former lobbying firm. Lists of prohibited sources in the Deputy
Secretarys ethics file that itemize the clients of his former employer conflicted with actual client
lists we obtained from said former employer. In fact, these client lists even conflicted with the
Deputy Secretarys own statements regarding former clients.

In addition, a list of current clients for the Deputy Secretarys former employer
continues to evolve on a daily basis. We have yet to obtain an accurate snapshot at any given
time of whom the Deputy Secretarys former employer represents or represented. These clients,
many of whom are in the oil and gas industry, also continually merge, change names, and
develop subsidiary companies. Due to these complicated matters, we were often in the
unenviable position of having to depend on the personal recollections of a small group of
individuals. In fact, when we interviewed the Deputy Secretary and discussed our efforts to
discern the status of his client list, he commented simply, Good luck.

We were further challenged during our investigation by an unanticipated lack of personal
and institutional memory; conflicting recollections; poor record-keeping, particularly by the
Departments Ethics Office; the bifurcation of ethics advisors; a lack of reliable written
evidentiary material, and the inadequacy of congressional lobbying reports as evidentiary items.
We also realized at the beginning of our investigation the need to proceed deliberately given the
multitude and complexity of the allegations.
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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-30-07 03:03 PM
Response to Original message
26. Griles quickly inserted himself into Individual Indian Money (IIM) trust = 2001
Interior's number two takes lead on trust reform
NOV. 5, 2001
http://www.indianz.com/News/show.asp?ID=pol01/1152001-1


With a showdown looming in federal court, the Department of Interior is in a rushed but concerted effort to prove to a skeptical judge that the government is in charge of trust reform. .... handling of the assets of an estimated 300,000 American Indians...

...Deputy Secretary J. Steven Griles has quickly inserted himself into the debacle over the Individual Indian Money (IIM) trust since being sworn in to his post in July. As number two in command at the Interior, Griles has taken the lead to reform -- for lack of a better term -- trust reform.

By at least one public and embarrassing incident, the effort hasn't been a bursting success. A mass mailing Griles sent to 11,000 Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and Office of Special Trustee (OST) employees ... caused a stir over anthrax in the Southwest as employees were sent home and told to burn a court order.

... "He has taken the lead in a very determined fashion," said one official in close contact with Griles.

A key component of Griles' effort is an independent assessment of the government's High Level Implementation Plan (HLIP) -- the blueprint to trust reform -- by EDS Corporation, a management consulting firm. Last Wednesday, top officials received an oral briefing from EDS, which is making a dozen or so specific recommendations covering everything from a $40 million software system widely seen as a failure to the cleanup of records dating back to 1887, when the IIM trust was initiated...

... not much has changed since Griles was last in a position of leadership. Despite numerous investigations, acts of Congress, secretarial orders and court decisions, the government still can't provide any beneficiary with an accounting of his or her funds. ...

The Interior, of course, faces serious credibility problems that leave little room for failure. Whatever response the Bush administration has will depend on something that has so far proven difficult for the government to show: commitment.
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