The filings in U.S. District Court do not allege any wrongdoing by the elected officials but list them in documents portraying David Safavian, a former GSA chief of staff, as an active adviser to Abramoff, giving the lobbyists tips on how to use members of Congress to navigate the agency's bureaucracy.
Two of the elected officials referred to in Friday's filings have been identified in published reports as Reps. Steven LaTourette, R-Ohio, and Don Young, R-Alaska. According to Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, the two representatives wrote to the GSA in September 2002, urging the agency to give preferential treatment to groups such as Indian tribes when evaluating development proposals for the Old Post Office.
LaTourette maintains he did nothing improper by advocating special opportunities for certain small businesses in areas known as HUBzones, or Historically Underutilized Business zones. His spokeswoman, Deborah Setliff, said that the letter was reviewed by Young's chief of staff and counsel and that it did not advocate any particular business over another.
A spokesman for Young did not return telephone calls.
Friday's filings by prosecutors refer to a third member of Congress, Rep. Shelly Moore Capito, R-W.Va. Her name appears in e-mails that suggest she was trying to help Abramoff secure a GSA lease for land in Silver Spring for a religious school.
Capito claims to know nothing about the effort. "The action taken by her former chief of staff was done without her knowledge, approval or consent," said her spokesman, Joel Brubaker. "She was not aware of any contact with GSA of any type on this matter."
GOI: What do you expect them to say? Admit to wrong-doing? However, the very fact that they are linked to Abramoff (uber-corrupt, super lobbyist) puts smoking coming out of their camp. And you know the saying, "Where there is smoke there is fire."
Safavian used his personal e-mail during business hours to communicate with Abramoff several times, according to prosecutors. He also edited the draft of a letter that was probably sent under LaTourette and Young's names.
And Safavian advised Abramoff to tell his wife to use her maiden name during a meeting with GSA officials so she wouldn't draw attention to her politically connected husband's involvement in the project.
GOI: More corruption trouble for the Republicans. We shall see, however, if the Democrats can capitalize on their culture of corruption.
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