Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What's New on the Grand Old Police Blotter

This is a twofer in our series, What's New on the Grand Old Police Blotter. Today's WaPo reports here that the former #2 at Interior is on their list of future guests of the government.
Ex-Interior Deputy a Target in Abramoff Probe

By Susan Schmidt
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 10, 2007; A03

Federal prosecutors have notified a former deputy secretary of the interior, J. Steven Griles, that he is a target in the public corruption investigation of Jack Abramoff's lobbying activities, sources knowledgeable about the probe said.

The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that among the possible criminal charges being investigated is whether Griles made false statements to the Senate Indian Affairs Committee in 2005 about job discussions Abramoff initiated while Griles was deputy secretary. Griles's attorneys did not return calls seeking comment yesterday.

Justice Department prosecutors met with Griles on Friday to outline possible charges. The investigation has examined donations made by Abramoff's Indian tribal clients to an environmental advocacy group run by Italia Federici, who was involved with Griles socially, the sources said. Also under scrutiny are donations made to Federici's group by energy and mining companies, the sources said...

I like this part:
With the prospect of Griles's indictment, a senior Justice Department official -- who Interior employees said has been dating Griles -- tendered her resignation this week.

Sue Ellen Wooldridge, assistant attorney general for environment and natural resources for the past year, submitted a letter of resignation Monday saying that she intends to return to the private sector, a Justice Department official said yesterday.

Wooldridge served as Interior Department solicitor and as deputy chief of staff to then-Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton before moving to Justice in November 2005. Cynthia Magnuson, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, said that Wooldridge would not be available for comment about her departure. "Sue Ellen sent the resignation letter in of her own volition. This is a decision that she made," Magnuson said.

Would that be the same Gale Norton now shilling for Shell?

The same WaPo article also reports this morsel:
Yesterday, another former Interior Department employee was sentenced to two years' probation and fined $1,000 for failing to report gifts that he received from Abramoff. Roger G. Stillwell accepted hundreds of dollars worth of football and concert tickets from Abramoff, who at the time was lobbying for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Stillwell worked in the Interior Department's Insular Affairs Office, which handles issues involving the island government.

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