Bloomberg reports that the federal probe into Jack Abramoff has widened to include the big fish of Washington DC’s conservative establishment, including Grover Norquist, Representative Robert Ney of Ohio, Ralph Reed, Tom Delay, and Senator Conrad Burns. Former Representative Jack Quinn of New York said of the investigation’s chilling effect, “Sure there’s a concern. … But like everyone else, we have to wait and see where the investigation goes.”
They should be nervous. It looks like David Safavian, the former White House procurement official whom the FBI arrested yesterday on corruption charges, will get the “squeeze-play strategy” from federal investigators – and it’s anyone’s guess who he’ll rat on:
The lawyer for a former Bush administration official arrested this week says authorities are using the charges to pressure her client to aid their investigation of lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
“This is a creative use of the criminal code to secure his cooperation against someone else,” [Safavian's lawyer Barbara] Van Gelder said in an interview Wednesday.
Investigators frequently seek to pressure minor players in complex federal probes as they build a case against their principal target. “You squeeze that person and hope he flips as you work your way up to the top,” said Kirby Behre, a former prosecutor who is a partner at the Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker law firm in Washington.
Just call him David “John Dean” Safavian.