Susan Ralston, Karl Rove’s key aide in the White House, submitted her resignation today “in the wake of congressional report that listed hundreds of contacts between disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and the White House.” (Read the letter.)A recent House Government Reform Committee report highlighted her role in the Abramoff corruption network:
[The report] singled out Ralston — Rove’s assistant and Abramoff’s former employee — who was lobbied 69 times, the most contacts with any individual named in the report. She also received numerous tickets to concerts and sporting events.
“Her role in brokering requests to Rove from her former boss raises questions … about some of her activities,” the release said.
Some background on Ralston:
– She worked at two lobbying firms with Abramoff prior to joining the West Wing
– Jack Abramoff recommended her hiring to Karl Rove
– She had testified in the Valerie Plame leak investigation
– She once said she was “involved in much of what goes on at the White House”
White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino said, “We support her decision and consider the matter closed.” The White House may consider the case closed, but Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and others believe serious questions remain, including “whether officials accepted items like concert tickets and whether they reported them on financial disclosure forms.”
UPDATE: Waxman issued a statement, stating:
It looks like the White House is trying to make Susan Ralston the scapegoat. … It is ludicrous for the White House to say it considers the review of Committee report “complete” when it has not provided answers to any of the most important questions involving Mr. Mehlman and other senior White House officials.