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Abramoff Scandal
Court nominee denies meeting Abramoff at dinner

Federal appeals court nominee Bill Myers says he can't remember if he met convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff at a dinner back in September 2001.

Myers and other top Interior officials -- including then-Secretary Gale Norton and former deputy secretary J. Steven Griles -- were on the guest list for the dinner. So was Abramoff, who attended at the invitation of the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy, whose president is a close friend of Norton's.

Fewer than two dozen people attended the dinner, according to documents released by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. But Myers told the Senate Judiciary Committee he doesn't remember if he met Abramoff at the intimate event.

The Abramoff link creates new obstacles for Myers' nomination to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. At the request of tribes and environmentalists, Democrats have blocked his confirmation twice but Bush resubmitted his name last month.

The dinner also raises questions about Myers' record on sacred sites. A day after the dinner, which was attended by representatives of the National Mining Association, Myers met with Interior lawyers to discuss a gold mining project in California.

A month after the dinner, in October 2001, Myers reversed a legal opinion that had blocked the proposed mine, which is located on lands sacred to the Quechan Nation. The project was supported by the mining group.

Get the Story:
Myers: Dinner, yes; Abramoff, no (The Denver Post 12/10)
Disputed nominee Myers has an Abramoff problem (The Los Angeles Times 12/10)

Relevant Links:
Judicial nominees, Department of Justice site -

Relevant Documents:
Inspector General Letter | NCAI Resolution | Environmental Group's Letter | Holland & Hart Biography

Indianz.Com Profile:
Industry insider named to Interior (March 30, 2001)

From the Indianz.Com Archive:
Myers reversing sacred site opinion (10/25)
Bush nominee has no 'agenda' on Clinton decisions (6/21)

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