Friday, January 06, 2006

Mark Graul's latest claim: I was framed

Mark Graul, campaign manager and former chief of staff to Rep. Mark Green, has changed his story repeatedly when he has been asked about a series of e-mails showing he was on the list for free tickets to events in felonious lobbyist Jack Abramoff's skybox.

In today's story in the Green Bay Press Gazette, he tries a new one: The e-mails are fake.

Let's look at that story. My comments are in italics.
Taken out to a ballgame

Meanwhile, the former chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Mark Green, R-Hobart, said Abramoff's plea bargain has no bearing on his past association with a former colleague of Abramoff.

Mark Graul, who is now campaign manager for Green's gubernatorial bid, acknowledges attending a Milwaukee Bucks-Washington Wizards basketball game as a guest of lobbyist Jennifer Calvert in 2000.

Congressional staffers are allowed to accept complimentary tickets to sporting events and shows as long as the face value of the ticket is less than $50. [True, except that Graul is on the list for two skybox tickets. Try getting even one skybox ticket to the Bradley Center for less than $50.]

The Wisconsin Democratic Party, citing purported e-mails between Calvert and Abramoff posted by an Internet blogger, claims Graul also obtained free tickets to other events in Washington with Abramoff's OK.

Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Joe Wineke sent Green a letter with copies of the e-mails, asking the congressman to find out what Graul was expected to do in return.

However, Graul denied having attended the other events, saying he was in Wisconsin on the days they occurred.

"I can assure you that I didn't go to them," said Graul. [Did he get the tickets for someone else? Another staffer? The Congressman?]

Graul said there's no evidence the alleged e-mails are authentic and that he never met Abramoff. [The question is not whether he ever met Abramoff. It is why members of Abramoff's staff wanted to do favors for Graul. There is "no evidence the alleged e-mails are authentic"? There is no evidence they're not. And you would have to ask Graul why he thinks someone would single him out for this treatment. Why would anyone forge documents to make Graul look bad? Did anyone ask Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo, which posted the documents in question, whether they are authentic? Marshall is not some partisan young blogger; he's a respected writer who's regularly published in some of the nation's largest newspapers.]

Calvert's relationship with Abramoff as a co-worker ended several years ago, when she left Preston Gates & Ellis to help establish the government affairs business at Washington Strategies, a smaller lobbying firm across the Potomac River from Washington in Rosslyn, Va.

Graul said Thursday that he considered his attendance at the game at the MCI Center in downtown Washington with Calvert primarily a social event. He did not recall what business topics were discussed. [Of course it was a "social event." Lobbyists don't invite you to a basketball game and demand your vote at halftime. They schmooze you, do you favors, and establish a relationship and access that will be useful in the future. That's how the game is played.]

The two became acquainted when one of Calvert's clients was an association that represented the personal watercraft industry, said Graul.

Calvert's firm said Thursday she was out of town for the week.

Calvert's biography posted on the Washington Strategies Web site says, "Her lobbying expertise focuses on the issue areas of appropriations, natural resources, transportation, education and Native American issues." The firm's site also states, "She is active in raising money for Republican members of Congress and serves as a political consultant to various members of the House and Senate.'
UPDATE: Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo, who posted the e-mails to begin with, reacts strongly to Graul's claim.


At 1:27 PM, Blogger Shades said...

Your comments - There is "no evidence the alleged e-mails are authentic"? There is no evidence they're not.

Is this the same criteria that CBS used in its fake 60 minutes Bush-bashing memo piece?

At 1:37 PM, Blogger Xoff said...

I guess you missed this from Josh Marshall, who posted the e-mails:

"These emails were produced by the relevant parties pursuant to a lawful subpoena. They are most definitely authentic.

"Graul knows they're real. And that's why he's been ducking my phone calls about them for three months."

At 3:00 PM, Blogger Erik Opsal said...

This scandal is starting to confuse me. I've heard so much about how it's mainly a Republican problem, but today Mark Rahmlow gives examples of many Democrats who have not given back contributions linked to Abramoff. The big names include Harry Reid, Jon Corzine, and Charles Rangel. If these Democrats are going to cite the culture of corruption in Washington, shouldn't they prove they aren't a part of it as well?

At 7:19 AM, Blogger goofticket said...

Ok, lets be really Republican with this issue.
First, Green is so totally loyal to his party that even the most blatant facts cannot sway his mind. (Which is usually made up for him by others in his party).
Second, regarding the tainted money trail behind Green and his weasel aid Graul, now that there is a plea bargain and not a actual conviction, he doesn't have to give back the money.
Third, I seriously doubt if the GOP of Wisconsin will even make a comment on this. They have to protect their own, ya know. Who cares if laws are being broken and payola is the mantra of the new GOP?
Finally, I do hope that Green's extremely poor voting record, his tainted money trail and his failure to support Wisconsin issues over what his party mandates he votes for, will come to not only defeat his bid for any future political office, but reduces the confidence of Wisconsin voters in the GOP's ability to keep a sane budget in this state. Who cares that Florence County had to close it's school system, Green and the GOP can enact laws so that all the other schools can pray for them.
that will certainly make the students of Florence County happy as clams.
I guess one of the campaigns of the GOP , in 2006, could be funding church based schools over keeping family run dairy farms from bankruptcy. Pray for those liberal milk cows souls!
Maybe, they can create a new Social Security disability benefits are a scam by the lefties to keep taxes high. Medicaid is not accepted by over 98% of the dentists in Wisconsin...let's make damn sure the surgeons follow suit.
Or, maybe, with Graul's habitual speeding convictions in Wisconsin, he and Mark become the martyrs for political motoring fatalities in 2006. Then Mrs. Green can run for office.
Wouldn't that be just peachy?


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