August in Libreville?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Members of Congress who accompanied former K Street lobbying powerhouse Jack Abramoff on golf trips to Scotland in the summer of 2003 might have looked for another junket instead if they had seen this three-page pitch letter Abramoff wrote on July 28 that year to Gabonese President Omar Bongo.

Abramoff's lobbying activities for his firm Greenberg Traurig LLP, including trips he arranged for members of Congress, are the subject of a criminal investigation as well as an inquiry by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, which included this letter in documents released last week.

-- Sue Schmidt

Excerpts from Abramoff's letter:

Dear Mr. President,

. . . Our firm is one of the very top lobbying and public affairs law firms in the nation. We have a wealth of powerful corporate and government clients who keep our team of lobbyists very active. Our success rate is exceptional.

. . . I have been cautiously working to obtain a visit for the President . . . to see President Bush, the Congress and policy and opinion makers in the United States. As you know, we were, in advance of the war in Iraq, able to secure a tentative date for this meeting, however, the war cancelled all such scheduled visits, with the exception of the critical US war allies.

Since the time of the war, we have been discussing a rescheduling of the meeting. . . .

Our firm was approached by a neighboring nation which also desired such a meeting, and indeed much more than a meeting. Of course, our firm's main strength is not in just setting up meetings, but in changing and impacting US policy, so to the neighbor, the meeting is important, but merely the tip of the iceberg.

The neighbor has offered to put up the resources which are necessary to not only secure a meeting, but more importantly, to commence a policy effort in Washington which could impact America's Africa policy in limited ways. These resources are substantial and would be used to build a support network for the neighbor which would enable the decision makers to move the neighbor up on the priority list. . . .

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