U.S. Secret Service Releases to Judicial Watch 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, per the order of Judge John Garrett Penn of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, has released to Judicial Watch White House logs detailing the visits of corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff to the White House. The logs, which show two documented visits to the White House by Abramoff, appear to be incomplete.
According to the "U.S. Secret Service Access Control Records Report," Abramoff visited the White House on two occasions. On January 20, 2004, Abramoff entered the White House at 10:42:20 a.m. and exited at 11:29:34 a.m. On March 6, 2001, Abramoff entered the White House at 16:23:35 p.m. and exited at 16:49:50 p.m. The documents provide no further information on the nature of these meetings. White House Secret Service logs previously obtained by Judicial Watch from the Clinton administration provided additional details such as the "Visitee" and "Room Number," along with the name of the person who requested the visit. The Secret Service had agreed to provide the documents without redaction. Moreover, the two documents provided are not consistent with each other in terms of format and content.
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.
"At first glance, these documents seem incomplete when compared to other White House visitor logs obtained by Judicial Watch. We therefore have reason to believe there are additional details about Jack Abramoff’s visits to the White House that have not been disclosed," said JW President Tom Fitton. "However, now we know there are at least two visits by admitted felon Jack Abramoff that the White House must explain. What was Jack Abramoff doing at the White House? With whom did he meet? The public deserves to know answers to these questions."