A Picture Can Paint a Thousand Words, In This Case, Maybe Ten Thousand
by James Glaser
Some place in the White House there are copies of the pictures taken of George Bush and Jack Abramoff, but so far the White House is keeping them secret. Some where else in the White House are the records of the functions and meetings Abramoff attended there.
Ever since lobbyist Anramoff plead guilty to felony charges of conspiracy and fraud in influence peddling, Republicans from the top down have been trying to distance themselves from the man. Any money Abramoff donated to a political campaign has now been given away to charity. "Yes, I took the money, but now I am returning it, so that makes me clean right?"
Abramoff rounded up over $100,000.00 for the President, but only six grand of it was on an Abramoff check, so George only had to return that six thousand while keeping the rest. Only Ambramoff's personal money is dirty, anything he could funnel to a politician was still OK.
Pictures? Time Magazine claims that there are pictures of Jack and George together. George says "Having my picture taken with someone doesn't mean that, you know, I'm a friend with them or know them very well." Somebody gets me a hundred grand, well I would remember them, but not President Bush. Beside that, until this week only the Democrats wanted to see those pictures.
Now there are calls from Bush's own Party wanting to get everything out in the open. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel said on ABC television, "Get it out, disclosure is the best and most effective way to deal with these things." Republican Senator John Thune, along with Representative Mike Pence said almost the same thing, "More is better, in terms of disclosure and transparency."
Pictures are hard though. I believe if the picture was one of those standard ones with George shaking hands with Jack, it would have been made public by now, but what if someone else was in the picture or pictures? What if that third person in the picture was one of the people Jack received money for influence peddling from?
What kind of access did Jack Abramoff have at the White House? According to the New York Times, "White House officials have acknowledged that Mr. Abramoff had met with members of the president's staff, though without identifying them." They went on to say that President Bush "emphatically denied that he personally knows Mr. Abramoff."
If Bush didn't know the man and the pictures were the standard fair for people visiting the Whitehouse, then why not tell us what is what. When the President's own party has to start asking questions, well things do not seem on the up and up. I know some things in the executive branch have to be kept secret for National Defense, but this is about a man who plead guilty to conspiracy and influence peddling, and people wonder who he was peddling to and who were his co-conspirators?
National security is a factor some times, but in an out and out criminal case, the President should come clean and tell us what is going on. The man does work for us, and if the security of the nation is not the subject, we have the right to know if our government has been corrupted or not.
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