By R. Jeffrey Smith
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 23, 2005; Page A06
Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff bragged two years ago that he was in contact with White House political aide Karl Rove on behalf of a large, Bermuda-based corporation that wanted to avoid incurring some taxes and continue receiving federal contracts, according to a written statement by President Bush's nominee to be deputy attorney general.
Timothy E. Flanigan, general counsel for conglomerate Tyco International Ltd., said in a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that Abramoff's lobbying firm initially boasted that Abramoff could help Tyco fend off a special liability tax because he "had good relationships with members of Congress," including House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.).
Abramoff later said "he had contact with Mr. Karl Rove" about the issue, according to the statement by Flanigan, who oversaw Tyco's dealings with Abramoff and his firm and received reports from Abramoff about progress in the lobbying campaign. Flanigan's statement is the latest indication that Abramoff promoted himself as having ready access to senior officials in the Bush administration.
A White House spokeswoman, Erin Healy, said Rove "has no recollection" of being contacted by Abramoff about Tyco's concerns.
Abramoff was indicted last month on unrelated wire fraud and conspiracy charges and has lost his high-stakes lobbying clients. He was hired in 2003 by Tyco when the company was in turmoil. Abramoff's firm, Greenberg Traurig, promoted him as Tyco's savior on the tax issue, according to Flanigan's statement and others familiar with the process.