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Campaign for a Cleaner Congress: Rove tied to House Lobbying Scandal through Former Aides


WASHINGTON, July 14 -- Karl Rove’s involvement in leaking the name of a CIA operative for political advantage during wartime could be just the tip of the iceberg as far as unethical behavior, since his web of influence extends to the most notorious figure of the House Lobbying Scandal.

“It’s widely known that Karl Rove has been pulling strings all over Washington for years, obviously not just in the case of the Plame leak,” said Peter L. Kelley, manager of the Campaign for a Cleaner Congress.

"What is not widely known, however, is his close connection with Jack Abramoff, who is at the center of the lobbying scandal in which Washington is now embroiled. Rove let archconservative operatives like Grover Norquist call shots at the White House. And just this week, a Texas judge ruled that a former Rove lieutenant must face felony charges of money laundering for Tom DeLay’s political operation.

“Without further ethics reforms, the public has virtually no ability to find out what is really going on in Washington these days,” Kelley said. “But what we do know is starting to smell, and it offers a starting point for further investigation.”

For sources on the following, and a 5-point plan to limit the influence-peddling in Washington, see

-- When Rove got to the White House in 2001, he hired as his personal assistant Susan Ralston, previously Abramoff’s personal assistant. Ralston has since become an insider’s insider.

-- Norquist reportedly made a deal in which Ralston would take messages for Rove at the White House, then call Norquist to tell her whether she should put the caller through.

-- John Colyandro wrote direct mail pieces for Rove in the 1980s. When he was hired as executive director of the Texans for a Republican Majority PAC, he was described as a “longtime pal of Rove’s.” This week, a judge said Colyandro must stand trial for laundering over $600,000 in corporate campaign contributions.

“Could party leaders’ abrupt about-face on the Plame case have anything to do with the other ethics scandals that have been grabbing headlines for months now?” said Kelley. “It seems there are more than a few bad apples in this barrel, and they don’t like it that the public is starting to find out.”


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