Providing a rare glimpse of high-level, behind-the-scenes string-pulling, they show how Abramoff, now serving a prison term for fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy, relied on key White House contacts, including Susan Ralston, executive assistant to political adviser Karl Rove; Monica Kladakis, then deputy White House personnel chief; and Ken Mehlman, then the White House political director.
Each had ties to Abramoff and his aides. Ralston was an Abramoff assistant at Greenberg before joining Rove's staff in February 2001, Kladakis had worked in the House Republican whip's office with Abramoff aide Tony Rudy, and Mehlman went to Abramoff's house for a Sabbath dinner and saw him at Republican events. Another key participant was Matt Schlapp, then Mehlman's deputy.
Here is a sampling of their 2001 e-mail traffic:
Jan. 29: Rudy to a Greenberg colleague: "We need to get the background material on stayman to ken mehlman. . . . He said he would kill him."
Colleague to Rudy: "What???"
Rudy to colleague: "Mehlman said he would get him fired."
Colleague to Rudy: "Excellent."
Abramoff's sleaze was bad enough. Now we have the WP (Abramoff Used White House To Help Get Rid of Roadblock: E-Mail Shows How Key Officials Aided Lobbyist in Ousting Foe By R. Jeffrey Smith) referring to Ken Mehlman, then the White House political director, supping at Abramoff's house for "Sabbath dinner."