Earlier this week The New York Times and Time magazine released the first photos showing George Bush at meetings with embattled lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Now, thanks to exclusive connections, The Spoof, has obtained another picture of Bush and Abramoff together at a Bush fundraiser.
Abramoff has pleaded guilty to federal charges related to an influence-peddling scandal on Capitol Hill, after bilking American Indian tribes out of $82 million, and funneling the money into the coffers of Republican politicians.
Previously, the Bush administration claimed that Bush had no recollection of meeting Abramoff. White house spokesman Scott McClellan had said, "Bush took pictures posing with thousands of people during campaigns. Thats just what presidential candidates do."
Now that the most recent photo shows Bush accepting large amounts of money from Abramoff, McClellan has said, "Bush could remember his face, he just couldn't remember his name."
Although Abramoff has a 30 year relationship with Karl Rove, and Abramoff's staff recorded over 200 contacts with the White House, Bush has explained that "Rove tells me what to say, but he doesn't tell me what he knows."
Abramoff, who helped raise more than $100,000 for the president's reelection campaign, pleaded guilty Jan. 3 to fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials. The size of his contribution to Bush's campaign, is equal to that of former Enron CEO, Kenneth Lay, who collected $100,000 for Mr. Bush in 2000, making him the top contributor to Bush's first presidential campaign.
Lay is facing an upcoming trial for fraud and conspiracy, in the bankruptcy of what was the nations seventh largest company, leaving thousands jobless and wiping out billions of dollars in investors wealth. Convictions could yield decades in prison and millions of dollars in penalties.
The Bush Administration has also claimed that it had no close relationship with Kenneth Lay, even though he was the top contributor to his 2000 campaign.
"All this money just keeps coming in. We don't know where it comes from. I guess we must be pretty popular." McClellan commented.
The Bush administration has said that those who leaked the photo to The Spoof should be punished. "This just goes to make America look ridiculous before the entire world. This will threaten American lives, by fostering more hatred from Muslim extremists who have claimed that America is a land of decadence and corruption."