"Never" is a dangerous word for a Republican congressman when talking about Jack Abramoff.
Just ask Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA), whose tight race may have gotten tighter over claims he'd "never" been worked by the disgraced superlobbyist.
"He never once lobbied me on anything," Pombo had said
of Abramoff, practically inviting journalists to prove him wrong. "He never asked me to sign a letter, vote for or against a bill, introduce a bill, never once stepped foot in my office."
Sure enough, the AP combed through stacks of Abramoff's billing records for his client, the Northern Mariana Islands, and what did they discover
: "more than two dozen. . . occasions from 1996 through 2001" where Abramoff's associates contacted Pombo's staff. And two direct contacts between Abramoff and Pombo, according to the service's report yesterday.
Just combing through our stack here, I can see an Abramoff associate billing the Marianas for... asking Pombo to sign a letter:
Pombo's line, of course, is that Abramoff is a liar and a cheat. And he certainly wouldn't be the first lawyer in history to get artistic with his billing. But it just goes to show -- "never" is a dangerous word, especially for someone like Pombo, who was so close to Tom DeLay, Abramoff's chief ally in Congress.