White House Withholding 600 pages of Abramoff Docs

This post, written by Steve Benen, originally appeared on The Carpetbagger Report

Nearly two years ago, then-White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan promised the press corps that a "thorough report" would be released "very soon" documenting contacts betwen the White House and disgraced GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Not surprisingly, that never actually happened. The Bush gang thought they could just stall, reporters would eventually stop asking, and the scandal would eventually go away. Sure enough, that wasn't a bad strategy, at least as far as cover-ups go.

Of course, the questions never actually went away, they just hibernated thanks to a Republican Congress that had a philosophical objection to oversight. Roll Call reports today that the questions are making a comeback.
House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) is demanding hundreds of pages of documents from the White House that he says indicate the depths of contacts between Bush administration officials and disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
In an Oct. 31 letter to White House counsel Fred Fielding, Waxman said the White House has released to the committee 3,700 pages of documents detailing Abramoff's contacts with the White House, but has refused to release about 600 pages that, according to the White House, "contain internal deliberations among White House employees, or that otherwise implicate Executive Branch prerogatives."
Waxman said the committee's investigation thus far indicates that "some senior White House officials had regular contact with Mr. Abramoff," and his letter demands production of the documents by Nov. 6.
Waxman has told the White House it basically has two choices: claim executive privilege or fork over the docs.

As Paul Kiel noted, Waxman added a sardonic little quip in his correspondence with the White House counsel's office: "Given the prior statements by White House officials, it is surprising that there would be this volume of documents of internal deliberations involving Mr. Abramoff."

Kiel added a helpful primer, for those rusty on the details and most recent revelations.

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