Republican activists Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed landed more than 100 meetings inside the Bush White House, according to documents released Wednesday that provide the first official accounting of the access and influence the two presidential allies have enjoyed.
The White House released the Secret Service visit records to settle a lawsuit by the Democratic Party and an ethics watchdog group seeking visitors logs for the two GOP strategists and others who emerged as figures in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.
[..]White House officials said Norquist, who runs the nonprofit Americans for Tax Reform, was cleared for 97 visits to the White House complex between 2001 and 2006, including a half-dozen with the president.
Reed, former executive director of the Christian Coalition and an unsuccessful candidate for lieutenant governor in Georgia earlier this year, got 18 meetings, including two events with Bush.
Officials said they believe all appointments with Bush involved larger group settings, such as Christmas parties or policy briefings for GOP supporters.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said, however, it was possible some of Norquist's meetings might have been directly with Karl Rove, the president's longtime confidant and political strategist. Read on...
By Nicole Belle — September 21, 2006