When the going gets tough, Republicans drop even their bestest friends like a lump of burning coal:
Lobbying Firm Cuts Ties to Name Partner Under Investigation in Abramoff Probe
January 18, 2007
Lobbying firm Lundquist, Nethercutt & Griles has severed ties with former Department of the Interior Deputy Secretary J. Steven Griles.
Griles has been targeted in the Justice Department's ongoing corruption probe stemming from the lobbying activities of Jack Abramoff.
(More after the jump.)
Griles, who had been a name partner at the firm, was a lobbyist for coal and energy interests both before and after his tenure at the Interior Department from 2001 to 2005. During Griles' stint at Interior, which oversees lucrative drilling and mining licenses on millions of acres of federal land, his ties to industry were the subject of a number of internal investigations.
Lundquist, Nethercutt & Griles did not respond to detailed questions about Griles' departure, including whether Griles was forced out by his partners and whether the firm would be renaming itself. Instead, the firm provided a statement saying Griles resigned as a partner effective Jan. 10. That same day, a number of news outlets reported Griles had been informed he was a target of federal prosecutors. A lawyer for Griles declined to comment on his departure.
Remember Andrew Lundquist? Lundquist served as executive director of Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force (the National Energy Policy Development Group) from February 1, 2001, to September 30, 2001, then stayed on as Cheney's director of energy policy from October 1, 2001, to March 26, 2002, during which time he worked with Congress as it drafted the energy legislation, including the highly controversial plan to drill in ANWR.
Lundquist, an Alaskan native, worked on the Hill for both Senators Murkowski and Stevens prior to joining the task force, including as majority staff director of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
And Nethercutt? From LNG's now defunct (but Google-cached) website:
George Nethercutt brings a wealth of public and private experience to Lundquist, Nethercutt & Griles, having served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 2005. Nethercutt's historic 1994 victory unseated then-Speaker of the House Tom Foley, the first defeat of a sitting Speaker since 1860. Nethercutt represented Washington's 5th Congressional District until choosing to run for the U.S. Senate in 2004. While in the House, Nethercutt served on the prestigious House Committee on Appropriations and the House Science Committee. Prior to his election to Congress, Nethercutt was a practicing attorney in Washington state, specializing in estate planning, probate and adoption law. He previously served as staff counsel, and then chief of staff, to U.S. Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, working on such issues as agriculture, fisheries, timber and mining.
Also on the staff of LNG is Howard Useem, who manages the lobbying firm's energy practice. Prior to joining Lundquist's first lobbying firm (with Joe Allbaugh, the former Federal Emergency Management Agency chief and ex-Bush campaign manager) in 2003, Mr. Useem had served for 24 years as the senior professional staff member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
I spent much of yesterday re-reading the SIAC September 2005 reporton Federici and Griles' part in the Abramoff scandal. I found this part of the conclusion rather interesting, in light of the Griles current legal predicament:
From the evidence discussed above, it appears that some of the Tribes were induced into paying CREA because Abramoff told them, among other things, that those payments would get them favorable treatment at Interior. The evidence also suggests that Federici may have led Abramoff into believing that she had pull at Interior and that she would use it in exchange for, or because of, contributions by Abramoff's Tribal clients to CREA. Unfortunately, the extent to which Federici actually sought to influence Interior on pending matters affecting Abramoff's clients remains unclear. Also unclear is what, if anything, Griles (who Abramoff believed was Federici's contact at Interior) might have done on behalf of Abramoff's clients at Interior and (if Griles did anything) what his motives for doing so might have been.
Against that backdrop, the Committee is concerned about the veracity of Federici's testimony on several important areas, discussed above. Additional inquiry into those areas by the appropriate authorities appears warranted.
But no mention of Steven Griles as a potential target of inquiry "by the appropriate authorities", one would assume being the Department of Justice. Federici has been MIA from the Washington political scene since her November 2005 testimony. She, and CREA, carried much, much greater clout in Republican circles than any of the recent news reports or Senate testimory indicate, which I'll go into greater detail in an upcoming diary. However, should she turn, and become a witness for the DoJ, Griles would not be alone in fearing the Pandora's box of Republican slime and corruption she could open, dating back over a decade (as a teaser, Federici cut her teeth on Jeb Bush's failed 1994 gubernatorial campaign.) And Griles former energy industry flogging partners could be in much deeper trouble than mere "guilt by association".