July 5, 2006

Some are skeptical of President Bush’s difficulty recalling kidney donated by Jack Abramoff

Posted in political satire at 8:28 pm by thewashingtonbeltsider

by Tom Toburn

The White House has been denying close ties to lobbyist Jack Abramoff since he has been charged in ethics scandals recently, with suppression of photos the two took together between 2000 and 2006 at White House functions. In the wake of the recent insider lobbying scandal, with White House insiders distancing themselves from the taint of Jack Abramoff and his legal woes, the latest disclosure of Jack Abramoff’s close ties to the White House, and George W. Bush in particular, with the revelation that Abramoff was once a kidney donor to the current president, came as a surprise to many. In his daily White House briefings, spokesman Scott McClennan had been stating, “I don’t know what you’re referring to, and if this is just another fishing expedition by members of the press, we’re not going to play along.” But when documents detailing Bush’s kidney transplant and Abramoff’s role as a donor were made available, McClennan said, “You can’t expect us to remember every detail regarding matters like these!”

It came to light, after Bush’s medical records were released under the Freedom of Information Act, that Abramoff donated a kidney to the President in 2002, following an episode of kidney trauma after a near fatal biking accident after a physically strenuous day working on his Crawford ranch. Bush was rushed to a nearby hospital, and Abramoff, once found to be a suitable donor, donated his kidney, which was transplanted into the president. Mr. Abramoff, up to that point, had two kidneys.

Even though he was subsequently appointed to chair the Presidential committee for Organ Donor Affairs, which White House insiders insist is a strictly ceremonial post; McClennan contends that Abramoff’s is without any special relationship to the President, and that this did not provide any access or allow Abramoff undue influence on the President. McClennan pointed to campaign finance laws, that stipulate that donation of two or more organs comprise a conflict of interest, while Abramoff donated a single kidney.

Some have feared the close ties Abramoff has with many Republicans will become a campaign issue in upcoming elections. House Majority leader David Boehner stated today, in reference to recent gall bladder and hernia surgeries by several prominent Democrats, “Mr. Abramoff was a frequent blood donor, and I would ask that Senator Dorgan and Senator Durbin review their own medical records, before they try to tar this President and use this matter as some sort of ‘political football.’ This guy’s taint is probably inside of everybody in Washington, Democrat or Republican. I would hope those liberal advocacy groups would show some measure of decorum before trying to make political hay out of this!”

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