Former General Services Administration chief of staff David Safavian was just convicted of obstruction of justice for lying to federal investigators about a 2002 golf trip financed by disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff (pictured, above)!
This is the second time he's been convicted of this terrible crime. The first time, though, a federal appeals court overturned it.
Abramoff is in jail now, for fraud, and the truth is that he basically did what all powerful lobbyists did, only more so.
Federal prosecutors alleged that Abramoff and Safavian worked together at a law firm in the 1990s. After Safavian took a top GSA job in 2002, Abramoff began asking him whether his clients could lease the Old Post Office in downtown Washington. Abramoff also requested help in leasing or purchasing a portion of the Naval Surface Warfare Center in White Oak for a Jewish school he supported. The GSA was trying to find ways to develop the properties.
As Safavian was helping Abramoff, the lobbyist invited the GSA official on an August 2002 golf trip with seven others to Scotland. Safavian's share for the trip, which included posh hotels and a private jet flight, came closer to $17,453 than the $3,100 check he gave Abramoff, prosecutors said.
Oh no, favor-trading and private jet travel! Why go work for the GSA if you can't get those awesome GSA perks?
Government is broken and there is nothing to be done about it besides convict a few small-time officials of penny-ante crimes. Like Rod Blagojevich and his expensive fucking senate seat! The trick remains to never make obvious the de facto graft involved in "public service."
Fun facts: the GSA was founded when President Truman asked former President Hoover what he should do to fix to federal government. It took the Bush administration two terms to realize that the GSA is better off with a career bureaucrat in charge than with idiot political hacks like Safavian and Lurita Doan, the now-former GSA head who is totally, admirably insane. In mid-2008 they finally just promoted some boring in-house guy.
The last time Safavian was convicted, he was sentenced to 18 grueling months in prison.