Former Bush administration official guilty

June 20, 2006 at 3:00 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 20 (UPI) -- A former Bush administration official was convicted Tuesday of charges that include lying about a golfing trip to Scotland arranged by lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

David Safavian, formerly chief of staff of the General Services Administration, was also found guilty of obstructing a GSA investigation, The Washington Post reported. He is the first person caught up in the Abramoff scandal to be convicted after a trial, although Abramoff and three others have pleaded guilty.

Safavian worked with Abramoff as a lobbyist in the 1990s. He was appointed to the GSA in 2002 and as the White House's top procurement officer in 2004.

At the time of the 2002 trip, Abramoff was trying to lease the Old Post Office Building in Washington and to acquire another piece of federal property. Safavian was given permission to go on the junket after certifying that Abramoff had no dealings with the GSA, which manages government property.

Other guests on the trip included Rep. Robert Ney, R-Ohio; and Ralph Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition.

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