Safavian trial

Hillary Wicai May 31, 2006


SCOTT JAGOW: The federal government actually has people on staff whose job is to make sure ethics rules are followed. I know, it’s hard to believe sometimes, isn’t it? Well, two of those ethics officers are expected to testify today at the trial of former Bush administration executive David Safavian. Safavian is charged with lying about his dealings with the lobbyist Jack Abramoff. More now from Hillary Wicai.

HILLARY WICAI: Prosecutors today plan to call two ethics officers from the General Services Administration, the government agency where David Safavian worked.

Melanie Sloan is with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. She says today’s testimony is critical. The government will need to prove Safavian lied to the ethics officers when he asked permission to go on the now infamous and pricey golfing trip to Scotland and London with former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

MELANIE SLOAN: There were ethics officers at GSA. Mr. Safavian went to them and they asked him for the facts of the situation and then he lied to them. And the fact is, if he told them the truth at the time — that Abramoff had biz in front of GSA — they would have said, no you can’t go on this trip.

Yesterday, the government’s key witness testified that Safavian advised Abramoff how he could get GSA approval for two projects.

In Washington, I’m Hillary Wicai for Marketplace.

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