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White House Won't Release Abramoff Documents, Waxman Says

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) says the White House is improperly withholding roughly more than 600 pages of documents related to imprisoned former GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and he wants them handed over to his committee by Nov. 6.

In a letter today to White House Counsel Fred Fielding, Waxman said, "The White House is withholding hundreds of pages of documents about the activities of convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff on the grounds that these documents involve internal White House deliberations. Unless the president is prepared to assert executive privilege over these documents, they should be turned over to the Oversight Committee without further delay."

According to Waxman, current and former White House officials are refusing to cooperate with his committee's ongoing probe into Abramoff's dealings with the White House.

"This year, the Committee has sought to conclude its investigation by requesting (1) depositions with White House officials and former Abramoff lobbyists and (2) documents from the White House. The investigation has encountered obstacles because four witnesses, including individuals who worked in the White House, have raised Fifth Amendment concerns," Waxman wrote.

Waxman added: "Despite the refusal of key witnesses to provide testimony, the Committee has learned that some senior White House officials had regular contact with Mr. Abramoff. Former White House political director Matt Schlapp cooperated with the Committee’s investigation and provided voluntary testimony in a deposition. Mr. Schlapp estimated that he had “monthly” contact with Jack Abramoff on subjects that often involved official government business. He also told the Committee that Mr. Abramoff and his associates “had many friends in the administration”; that Mr. Abramoff was regarded as a “point of information” because of “his knowledge and his experience and his judgment on issues surrounding politics and policy and how the town works”; and that Mr. Abramoff’s lobbying team was “viewed by many as a very respected lobbying team.”