An unnamed administration spokesperson told Stone that they tried to pay for the room -- they really did -- but somehow they were never charged:
When Roveâs office contacted Signatures the next day to inquire about the cost, the office was told that the bill came to $995.81, according to an administration spokesman. Rove and five of his deputies sent over their credit card numbers and assumed that the tab would be paid. But last May, more than two years later, after Abramoff had already pleaded guilty to three felonies, including fraud and conspiracy to bribe public officials, Roveâs office belatedly decided to double-check the status of the restaurant bill and learned that the credit cards had never been charged. With Signatures in liquidation, White House lawyers have in recent days found a way for the debt to be paid, a spokesman said: Rove will take care of it out of his own pocket.
Ethics rules bar White House officials from accepting gifts worth more than $20. The restaurant appears to have charged Rove $19.92 per event attendee.
The revelation comes after a congressional report last week that uncovered dozens of meetings between Abramoff's lobbying team and Rove's office. One email exchange released by the committee showed Ralph Reed saying that he'd successfully stifled a nomination at the Interior Department for Abramoff by talking with Rove.