On Monday, we noted that RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman had killed an appointment in the State Department as a favor to Jack Abramoff, and yesterday we lavished you with several examples of Mehlman’s scorn for corruption and rank hypocrisy exhibited by…people like himself. But here’s another that’s particularly galling: during an interview in January, Mehlman was asked about a meeting Bush had with the President of Gabon, Omar Bongo, in 2003. The details have never been quite nailed down, but it is known that Bongo had been in negotiations with Jack Abramoff to procure such a meeting for the fee of $9 million.
Here’s how Mehlman responded when asked:
“That’s absurd,” he tells me, waving his hand dismissively. “Utterly absurd. I have worked with George W. Bush from 1999 to 2004. The notion that anyone could set up a meeting is ridiculous.”
Of course, we do know that the Prime Minister of Malaysia was able to do just that through Abramoff for the fee of $1.2 million. And Prime Minister Mahathir was a very happy customer – and a little more candid about how things are done in the Bush White House:
“I did not touch the money at all. In the US, it is a practice that if you want to meet their leader, you have to go through a lobbyist and the lobbyist has to be paid… That is their system. It is not corruption at all and it is very open, but they don’t reveal names.”