U.S. Secret Service Forced to Release More White House Logs Detailing Abramoff Visits
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that the United States Secret Service has released to Judicial Watch new logs detailing additional visits of corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff to the White House. The documents were released late Friday afternoon. Judicial Watch had filed a "motion to compel" with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on May 17 after the Secret Service failed to comply with an April 25 court order to release all official logs detailing the Abramoff visits without redaction. (Pages 47 and 53 provide the clearest representation of the visits.)
The first set of documents released to Judicial Watch on May 10 indicated that Abramoff only made two visits to the White House on March 6, 2001 and January 20, 2004. The new documents show an additional seven data entries concerning Abramoff appointments on the following dates: March 1, 2001; March 6, 2001; April 20, 2001; May 9, 2001; May 17, 2001; December 7, 2001; and December 10, 2001. According to the cover letter accompanying the documents, "The…data reflect appointments involving Jack Abramoff, but do not necessarily reflect actual visits to the White House Complex."
On January 20, 2006, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the United States Secret Service seeking all White House visitor logs from January 1, 2001 reflecting the entry and exit of Abramoff from the White House: "The public deserves to know the level of contact that Mr. Abramoff had with the White House, which would be accomplished by full disclosure of the dates and times that Abramoff entered and exited the White House for…policy related meetings," Judicial Watch argued in its initial FOIA request.
While the Secret Service acknowledged receipt of Judicial Watch’s FOIA request on February 2, 2006, they failed to produce the records. Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit on February 22, and on April 25, 2006, Judge Penn executed a joint stipulation and agreed order directing the Secret Service to produce the requested records by May 10, 2006. The documents provided by the Secret Service were not official White House logs and contained incomplete information, prompting Judicial Watch to file its "motion to compel."
"Obviously we wish the Secret Service had complied with the original court order, but we’re pleased to have forced the release of additional documents regarding Abramoff’s visits to the White House," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "The public has a right to know why an admitted felon had appointments with the Bush White House."