By Susan Schmidt and James V. Grimaldi
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, July 8, 2006; A02
Lobbyist Jack Abramoff had a half-dozen White House appointments in the early months of the Bush administration, according to logs released yesterday by the U.S. Secret Service.
The appointments included a meeting with a domestic policy aide to Vice President Cheney and a meeting in the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives attended by about 40 people. The logs also reflect that Abramoff attended one or more social events, as well as a gathering of Indian tribal officials and state legislators at which President Bush appeared.
The lobbyist, once one of the most powerful Republicans on K Street, pleaded guilty earlier this year to conspiracy and fraud. He is a cooperating witness in the Justice Department's wide-ranging investigation of corruption in Congress and the executive branch.
The Secret Service released the White House visit data yesterday in response to Freedom of Information Act requests and a lawsuit filed by the government watchdog group Judicial Watch.
In May, the Secret Service released partial data showing two White House visits by Abramoff. In a letter faxed to Judicial Watch yesterday, a Justice Department lawyer said that the Secret Service had recently learned of other visits when it "unexpectedly discovered computer files" containing entry and exit logs on the visits.
In one of the previously disclosed visits -- March 6, 2001 -- Abramoff met with presidential adviser Karl Rove in an unsuccessful effort to have two allies placed in Interior Department jobs. That visit appears to have been the only one with a senior official.
The new data, combined with the two visits disclosed in May, show that Abramoff had appointments to attend White House events or meetings on seven occasions -- six in 2001 and a seventh in January 2004, on Inauguration Day. The Secret Service said the data reflect appointments but "do not necessarily reflect actual visits to the White House complex."
Among those with whom Abramoff met in the spring of 2001 was Cesar Conda, then assistant to the vice president for domestic policy, and Catharine Ryun, executive assistant to the director of the faith-based office and daughter of Rep. Jim Ryun (R-Kan.).
Conda, now a lobbyist, said in an interview that he invited Abramoff to a "casual social lunch" at the White House mess. "It was so long ago I don't remember anything about it," Conda said. "He was just a guy that I knew from the Hill. I invited folks from around town, K Street, think tanks, to chitchat."
The purpose of a March 1, 2001, appointment from 4 to 6 p.m. could not be determined from the logs. An appointment on Dec. 10, 2001, appeared to have been a holiday party for 300 guests attended by the president.