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Reply #24: Norton Ex-Aides Clash on Lobbyist's Influence = Accused Griles of Aiding Abramoff [View All]

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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-30-07 01:20 PM
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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

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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