Griles called the allegations "untrue" and "outrageous," despite being confronted with numerous e-mails documenting his involvement.
A key witness, Italia Federici, was unable to attend the hearing after receiving a subpoena from the Committee last week. Federici, a Republican 'environmentalist' and president of the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy (CREA), is said to have acted on behalf of Abramoff to influence members of the Interior.
The documents in question (warning: 318 pg. .pdf) contains numerous instances of Abramoff and Federici corresponding about meetings between Federici and Interior members. A March 1, 2001 e-mail details a party held by Federici and others for secretary Norton. In it, Abramoff offers to pay for the reception.
Another e-mail, dated March 22, 2001, details a meeting between Abramoff and Interior officials:
An additional hearing, most likely to be held next week, was established to focus solely on Federici, CREA and her participation on behalf of Abramoff and his clients.
CREA, which received at least $250,000 from Abramoff's tribal clients, was founded by then-secretary Gale Norton and anti-tax activist Grover Norquist.
Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform also received kickbacks from Abramoff's tribal groups, including a $25,000 donation from the Lousiana Coushatta.
Also mentioned in the documents are Ralph Reed, former lobbyist of Abramoff's and candidate for Lt. Governor in Georgia. Reed, via Century Strategies, received funds from tribal clients through a labyrinthine passageway,
Says Abramoff in an e-mail to Reed:
Abramoff and Reed used the American International Center, a think-tank established by former Tom DeLay press secretary Michael Scanlon, to launder the funds.
Reed received close to a million dollars from Abramoff's clients during a March 2001 to do the bidding of Abramoff's tribal clients in the Louisiana legislature. An e-mail documenting Reed's involvement in a LA Senate bill to Abramoff subsequently deleted all references to Reed when forwarded, presumably to protect Reed.
Said the Committee's chair, John McCain, following the meeting, "All we did is follow the money."