- The Washington Times - Monday, May 8, 2006

The Democratic National Committee yesterday went to court to obtain Secret Service records of White House entry and exit logs on prominent Republican political figures with ties to former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, whose downfall has come to symbolize ethics shortcomings in the nation’s capital.

The DNC filed suit asking for Secret Service records related to five Abramoff associates whom DNC Chairman Howard Dean characterized as “central figures” in the “Republican culture of corruption.”

The five are conservative activist Grover Norquist; former Christian Coalition director and Bush campaign adviser Ralph Reed, now a candidate for lieutenant governor in Georgia; Michael Scanlon, who has pleaded guilty to bribery in the Abramoff investigation; former Bush procurement officer David Safavian, who has been charged with lying and trying to obstruct the investigation; and Patrick Pizzella, a Bush Labor Department appointee who was a lobbying partner with Abramoff on behalf of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Mr. Dean said the DNC filed suit “to compel the Bush administration to stop the stonewalling and finally be forthcoming with details regarding the White House’s level of involvement in the Abramoff scandal.”

White House press aide Erin Healy declined to respond to the suit or Mr. Dean’s comments and directed questions to the Secret Service. Secret Service spokesman Eric Zahren said he could not comment because the agency has not received official notification of the lawsuit.

The DNC suit follows a similar legal path as one brought against the Secret Service by the conservative public-interest group Judicial Watch that seeks access to White House logs detailing Abramoff’s visits to the White House since President Bush took office in 2001. A federal judge issued an order last month giving the Secret Service until tomorrow to produce those logs.



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