The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Monday, March 13, 2006

RNC Chair linked to Abramoff

Catching a story that hasn't been picked up on in the press, the Vanity Fair piece on Abramoff seems to show a link to Ken Mehlman. And, once again, it appears to be a clear-cut example of quid pro quo:

Stayman had been on Abramoff's hit list for a long, long time, because, as a higher-up at the Interior Department, he had been an ardent advocate for bringing the sorts of labor and immigration reforms to the Northern Mariana Islands that Abramoff had been hired to squelch. How do I know that Abramoff wanted Stayman gone? Because Abramoff said so in one of his famous emails - this one leaked long before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee began investigating him. (. . .)

The fight against Stayman moved to the State Department when, much to Abramoff's chagrin, he became the Director of Compact Negotiations there - meaning that he was the U.S. representative in talks with the Marshall Islands (a former Abramoff client) and Micronesia. It's fair to assume, I think, that Abramoff didn't want Stayman anywhere near potential clients. So this is where Mehlman must have come in - to follow through where Abramoff had been unable to.

After Bush entered office, Ken Mehlman was the White House Political Director. According to Margolick, he played a key role in removing Stayman, and it seems that there are documents to support that. Let's see Mehlman, such an adept spinner, spin this away.

But wait! Just to make sure that you don't mistake this for a fly-by-night favor, let it be known that Mehlman and Abramoff were close. As Margolick notes, Mehlman had "Sabbath dinner at [Abramoff's] house" and "offered to pick up his tab at Signatures."

There's something especially strange about that last bit of information. Signatures was a restaurant that Abramoff owned-- why would the owner have 'a tab'?