Today, House Oversight Committee chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) wrote to White House Counsel Fred Fielding and requested that the administration hand over more than 600 pages of documents relating to the White House’s activities with fallen lobbyist Jack Abramoff. From Waxman’s letter:
Despite the refusal of key witnesses to provide testimony, the Committee has learned that some senior White House officials had regular contact with Mr. Abramoff. Former White House political director Matt Schlapp cooperated with the Committee’s investigation and provided voluntary testimony in a deposition. Mr. Schlapp estimated that he had “monthly” contact with Jack Abramoff on subjects that often involved official government business. He also told the Committee that Mr. Abramoff and his associates “had many friends in the administration”; that Mr. Abramoff was regarded as a “point of information” because of “his knowledge and his experience and his judgment on issues surrounding politics and policy and how the town works”; and that Mr. Abramoff’s lobbying team was “viewed by many as a very respected lobbying team.” [...]
The withholding and redacting of documents that describe internal White House deliberations relating to Mr. Abramoff is not appropriate. As you know, the Committee takes the position that responsive documents that are relevant to the Committee’s investigation cannot be withheld unless the President makes a valid assertion of executive privilege, No such assertion has been made in this case. Therefore, I request that you provide these documents to the Committee by November 6,2007.