LA Times ignored indicted ex-White House official Safavian's connections to DeLay


In reporting on the October 5 indictment of former White House official David Safavian for obstruction of justice and lying to investigators, the Los Angeles Times made no mention of Safavian's connections to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), who is currently under indictment for conspiracy and money laundering. In contrast, both The New York Times and The Washington Post mentioned DeLay in their coverage of Safavian's indictment.

The October 6 Los Angeles Times article reported that Safavian, formerly the General Services Administration's (GSA) chief of staff, allegedly lied to investigators about lobbyist Jack Abramoff's ties to the GSA. According to the Los Angeles Times, the indictment alleges that Safavian falsely denied Abramoff had any dealings with the GSA, and that he accepted an offer from Abramoff to go on a golf junket to Scotland without disclosing to an ethics officer that Abramoff "had business pending before the agency." Abramoff, currently the subject of a criminal investigation by the Justice Department, is closely linked to DeLay. In fact, the Justice Department's inquiry into Abramoff recently expanded to include a 2000 trip DeLay took to Britain, for which Abramoff paid the travel expenses -- an apparent violation of House ethics rules. Despite the fact that the scandals surrounding Safavian and DeLay share a common link in Abramoff, the Los Angeles Times simply noted that Abramoff has "close ties to top Republican lawmakers in Congress."

By contrast, the October 6 New York Times article reported that although "Mr. DeLay has not been linked to the investigation of Mr. Safavian," news of Safavian's indictment followed revelations that the Justice Department's investigation of Abramoff expanded to include DeLay. According to The New York Times: "Administration officials acknowledged this week that the Justice Department had asked the British police to interview former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher about a meeting with Mr. DeLay during a 2000 trip to Britain arranged by Mr. Abramoff. It was the first public acknowledgment that Mr. DeLay's actions were also under investigation."

Similarly, an October 6 Washington Post article on Safavian's indictment noted that "[f]ederal investigators are known to be looking at trips to Scotland that Abramoff arranged for members of Congress and others, including former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and House Administration Committee Chairman Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio) and Ralph Reed, former executive director of the Christian Coalition and now a candidate for lieutenant governor in Georgia."

Posted In
Government, Ethics
Tom DeLay Scandal
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