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August in Libreville--WashPost 11-10-05

Date: Fri, 11 Nov 2005 01:02:27 -0500
Subject: August in Libreville--WashPost 11-10-05
** <>*August in Libreville?*

Thursday, November 10, 2005; A27

/Members of Congress who accompanied former K Street lobbying powerhouse
Jack Abramoff on golf trips to Scotland in the summer of 2003 might have
looked for another junket instead if they had seen this three-page pitch
letter Abramoff wrote on July 28 that year to Gabonese President Omar

/Abramoff's lobbying activities for his firm Greenberg Traurig LLP,
including trips he arranged for members of Congress, are the subject of
a criminal investigation as well as an inquiry by the Senate Indian
Affairs Committee, which included this letter in documents released last

*-- Sue Schmidt*

/Excerpts from Abramoff's letter:/

Dear Mr. President,

. . . Our firm is one of the very top lobbying and public affairs law
firms in the nation. We have a wealth of powerful corporate and
government clients who keep our team of lobbyists very active. Our
success rate is exceptional.

. . . I have been cautiously working to obtain a visit for the President
. . . to see President Bush, the Congress and policy and opinion makers
in the United States. As you know, we were, in advance of the war in
Iraq, able to secure a tentative date for this meeting, however, the war
cancelled all such scheduled visits, with the exception of the critical
US war allies.

Since the time of the war, we have been discussing a rescheduling of the
meeting. . . .

Our firm was approached by a neighboring nation which also desired such
a meeting, and indeed much more than a meeting. Of course, our firm's
main strength is not in just setting up meetings, but in changing and
impacting US policy, so to the neighbor, the meeting is important, but
merely the tip of the iceberg.

The neighbor has offered to put up the resources which are necessary to
not only secure a meeting, but more importantly, to commence a policy
effort in Washington which could impact America's Africa policy in
limited ways. These resources are substantial and would be used to build
a support network for the neighbor which would enable the decision
makers to move the neighbor up on the priority list. . . .

Roger [an unidentified friend who suggested this letter] told me not to
make a decision yet. . . . [He] told me that Gabon still wished our
services and would match the offer of the neighbor. I told him that I am
being called incessantly by the neighbor so, if this was a real offer,
we needed to confirm it quickly. I have a fiduciary obligation to the
firm to confirm possible representations with great certitude.

. . . I suggested that I visit Gabon after my trip to Scotland in mid
August, but that in order for me to preserve this and be able to turn
down the neighbor's offer, we had to commence the representation, even
in small part, perhaps ten percent . . . . Please bear in mind that the
neighbor's proposal was to pay the entire amount up front.

. . . [As] with all my clients around the world, if I am required to
travel, it must be on the basis by which I travel anywhere, being in a
private aircraft, which bears a substantial cost unfortunately. . . . I
have always insisted -- even to clients whom I have represented for many
years -- that the costs are covered in advance. . . .

. . . I would be quite unpopular at my firm if I were to forego a
multi-million dollar firm offer on the hope of a similar opportunity

I suggested again that we commence with a small amount, so that I can
secure the firm, and we can commence what will be a very difficult task
of achieving the meeting. . . .

I am willing to visit after my visit to Scotland with the Congressmen
and Senators I take there each year. It is possible that they will want
to join me in Gabon, which would be an extra bonus. . . . [In] order to
do this, we must commence the effort as soon as possible and I must know
that the extra costs of prolonging my trip can be covered in advance.

I am sorry for all of these logistical details, but we are a firm in
high demand and it is my responsibility to ensure that our business
approach is prudent. I am confident that we will have a long, productive
and warm relationship, but good relationships are built on firm
understandings at the outset.

. . . I do need to resolve this one way or another with the neighbor by
next week. At that time, I will have delayed them for almost three weeks
beyond when they wished to commence the representation. . . .

With high regard and much admiration, I am

Sincerely yours,

Jack Abramoff

Senior Director, Government Affairs

© 2005 The Washington Post Company
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