Part II -- Kevin Ring Indictment: MASHPEE WAMPANOAG
Part III -- Kevin Ring Indictment: REP. HEATHER WILSON
Yesterday, in "Part III -- Kevin Ring Indictment: REP. HEATHER WILSON", we reviewed page 29 of the Kevin Ring Indictment. Let's stay on that page for a minute:
153. On or about March 27, 2002, defendant RING emailed other Firm B [Greenberg Traurig] employees that he had given two tickets to opening-day at Camden Yards to a certain executive-branch official involved in intergovernmental affairs.
154. On or about April 4, 2002, defendant RING emailed other lobbyists at Firm B informing them that the executive-branch office on intergovernmental affairs had called the DOI [Department of the Interior] in support of a settlement agreement benefiting the New Mexico tribe [Sandia Pueblo].
155. On or about July 17, 2002, defendant RING emailed the New Mexico tribe's governor and others to inform them that the executive branch official had called a U.S. Senator to support the settlement agreement.
You know where we're going with this. We're going to try to identify the unnamed "executive branch official involved in intergovernmental affairs".
The Washington Post tells us of two employees of the Bush White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs who are also sports fans:
Matt Kirk, special assistant to the president in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, got tickets to two basketball games -- one Washington Wizards outing and an NCAA tournament game.
Jennifer Farley, associate director of the office, attended two Baltimore Orioles games and a Yanni concert. On occasion, Farley apparently used a code word -- "fruit" -- to refer to tickets when conversing with Abramoff lobbyist Kevin Ring, who is under investigation in the matter.
Ms. Farley seems to be a good candidate for our Intergovernmental Affairs official. But my prime piece of evidence is a July 17, 2002 email from Mr. Ring that seems to fit the description (p. 95) of paragraph 155:
From: Ring, Kevin (Shld-DC-Gov)
Sent: Wednesday, July 17, 2002 4:05 PM
To: Governor Stuwart Palsano (E-mail); David Mielke (E-mail); Tom Susman (E-mail); Mark L. Lezell (E-mail); Reid Chambers (E-mail)
Jennifer Farley at White House Intergovernmental Affairs Office called [redacted] in [redacted]'s office last week at our urging. Jennifer did not get a return call. She tried again today and [redacted] wasn't taking the call, so Jennifer said that she would hold and told the receptionist that is was urgent matter. Receptionist came back on line and said that [redacted] said the Chief of Staff was person to talk to and that he would call her back.
FYI: Jennifer is calling to tell [redacted]'s people that the President is planning to go to NM for [redacted] again and wants to know if the mountain issue will be completed by time of visit. Will be interesting to hear Bell's response. Goal here obviously is to show NM delegation that there is some interest from parties other than Pueblo.
I will keep you posted.
It seems to me that there was a sloppy redaction job here. Mr. Ring knows that Ms. Farley is waiting for a response from a Senator's Chief of Staff. The Senator is likely a member of the "NM delegation", and we know that Mr. Ring expects a response from "Bell".
Conveniently, we know that a S. Bell was Chief of Staff for Sen. Pete Dominici (R-N.M.) in July 2002. I believe that it was Sen. Dominici's office that frustrated Team Abramoff's plans for the Sandia Pueblo.
Therefore, I am concluding that Ms. Farley called Sen. Dominici's office to discuss the Sandia Pueblo mountain issue.
Who is Jennifer Farley?
Jennifer Farley Gass arrived in Washington, DC from Arizona in 1995. Her first political job was a staff assistant for Anti-Corruption Republican Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). She also worked for (Frank) Luntz Research, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and the lobbying shop of Barbour, Griffith & Rogers before being hired by the White House Intergovernmental Affairs office in 2001. Ms. Farley remained at the White House until 2005.
Since then, Ms. Farley has created her own lobbying firm, the Farley Group. According to Senate lobbying disclosures, Ms. Farley had two clients: the Micosukee Tribe of Indians and the Pasuca Yaqui Tribe. It is not clear to me whether or not these tribes remain clients of the Farley Group. While most lobbyists filed their 4q2008 disclosures in January 2009, the Senate lobbying database doesn't show any disclosures filed by the Farley Group since the 2q2008 reports. The lobbying database indicates that Ms. Farley filed over two years worth of disclosure reports on September 4, 2008. That is exactly one day before Kevin Ring was indicted.
Ms. Farley is a savvy woman. On the day Kevin Ring "abruptly resigned" from his lobbying job at Barnes and Thornberg, we learned that Ms. Farley had advised Mr. Ring not to email her on her official government email account because "it might actually limit what they can do to help us, especially since there could be lawsuits, etc." This behavior sounds similar to the Bush White House e-mail controversy of 2007.
In her deposition for the House oversight committee, Ms. Farley admitted to socializing with lobbyists:
Q: When you had contact with Kevin Ring, was it generally for official business, or was it social contact?
A: Well, as with Kevin and other lobbyists and people I worked with, I'm a friendly, social person. That's my personality. So when I would meet with someone, most of the time, since I was working with these people and meeting with them a lot, you know, Kevin and everyone else I met with, I would learn if they were, you know, married, had children, if they went on vacation, and of course, we would talk about that. I know at the time Kevin and I were meeting, they had just had a baby. Sometimes he would talk about the baby and that kind of thing. So did we have social interaction? Yes, of course.
Q: Was the purpose of your contacts generally for official business, or was it generally for social purposes?
A: It was both.
We know Mr. Ring socialized with the F Street Gang, but he was not an active member. It doesn't appear that Ms. Farley was an active member, either.
Ms. Farley's attorney doesn't think his client has violated the law. Nevertheless, there are some items that he wouldn't let his client address without a grant of immunity:
We also want to make a record for the committee on subjects on which she does not currently feel that she can testify without a grant of immunity based on concerns that the testimony on those subjects may reasonably form some link in a chain of evidence that someone could regard as inculpatory to her.
The subjects this morning that she will unable to testify about on those grounds are, first, what benefits she may or may not have been offered; and, two, any communications between Ms. Farley and any member of the so-called Abramoff team.
The ACR Blog does not know if Ms. Farley was ever offered a grant of immunity.