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E-Mails Reveal Abramoff Requests, Contacts
Lawyers for Abramoff declined comment.
The White House said Rove was unaware that Norquist solicited any money in connection with ATR events in both 2001 and 2002 that brought Abramoff's tribal clients and others to the White House.
"We do not solicit donations in exchange for meetings or events at the White House, and we don't have any knowledge of this activity taking place," said a White House spokeswoman, Erin Healy.
After the tribes' 2002 event with Bush, Norquist pressed Abramoff anew for tribal donations _ this time for a political action committee. "Jack, a few months ago you said you could get each of your Indian tribes to make a contribution. ... Is this still possible?" Norquist asked in an October 2002 e-mail.
Abramoff responded that "everyone is tapped out having given directly to the campaigns. After the election, we'll be able to get this moving."
The e-mails show Abramoff delivered on his original promise to get tribal money for the event that included the Bush visit, sending one check from the Mississippi Choctaw tribe in October and one in November from the Saginaw Chippewa of Michigan. Kartch said Abramoff didn't deliver on PAC contributions.
Norquist and Abramoff were longtime associates who went back decades to their days in the Young Republicans movement. Norquist founded ATR to advocate lower taxes and less government. He built it into a major force in the Republican Party as the GOP seized control of Congress and the White House.
Abramoff became one of Washington's rainmaker lobbyists before allegations that he defrauded Indian tribes led to his downfall and a prison sentence. He is cooperating with prosecutors.
At the time ATR dealt with Abramoff, Kartch said, "he was a longtime and respected Republican activist in Washington. There was no reason to suspect any of the problems that later came up."
The e-mails show Abramoff, on multiple occasions, asked clients for large donations to Norquist's group while Norquist invited them to ATR events that brought them face to face with top administration officials.
For instance, several months after donating $25,000 to Norquist's group, Saginaw officials attended a reception in the summer of 2003 at Norquist's home. They posed for a photo with Norquist and Labor Secretary Elaine Chao.
A few weeks earlier, then-Saginaw tribal chief Maynard Kahgegab Jr. had been appointed by Chao to a federal commission, according Labor Department and tribal documents obtained by the AP.