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Waxman Panel Seeks Testimony From Former Rove Aide

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has summoned Susan Ralston, a former top aide to White House adviser Karl Rove, to appear at a deposition on April 5 about her contacts with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

A March 30 letter from the committee to Ralston, said the panel would question her regarding whether White House officials reimbursed Abramoff for tickets and meals provided by him; whether White House officials acted improperly on behalf of Abramoff and his clients; and why Republican National Committee e-mails were used to communicate about official business with Abramoff.

Ralston, Abramoff’s former assistant at Preston Gates, resigned in October 2006 after a Congressional report found that she accepted tickets from Abramoff to nine sports and entertainment events while providing him with White House information. The report did not find evidence that Rove, who the Senate Judiciary Committee is seeking to question on the U.S. attorneys scandal, knew about Ralston’s actions.

In a separate March 28 letter to Rove, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the panel’s chairman, asked that he explain a Jan. 26 teleconference conducted by White House deputy director of political affairs J. Scott Jennings to General Services Administration political appointees that included discussion about targeted Democratic House Members. Waxman says the teleconference may have violated the Hatch Act, which prevents government employees from engaging in political activity. But the White House called the presentation a typical one.

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