Opinion: Griles did the crime but not the time
"J. Steven Griles was convicted earlier this year of withholding information from the Senate Indian Affairs Committee in 2005 about his meeting Jack Abramoff. Facing a possible five year jail sentence, Griles has enlisted a small army of the well-connected who are petitioning the sentencing Judge for leniency, while Griles himself is asking for community service -- part of which time would be seved working with the American Recreation Coalition and the Walt Disney Company.

Griles is scheduled for sentencing on June 26. The career lobbyist is the second-highest-level Bush administration official to be caught up in the ongoing Department of Justice investigation of former Republican Party uber-lobbyist, the currently imprisoned Jack Abramoff. Griles, the former Interior Deputy Secretary who, according to SourceWatch, "oversaw the Bush administration's push to open more public land to energy development," doesn't think he deserves jail time. Evidently this is one situation in which Griles prefers not to follow Abramoff's lead.

In an effort to avoid doing time, Griles and his legal team have developed a two-pronged strategy: Line up a host of A-listers to send letters to D.C. District Judge Ellen Huvelle seeking leniency; and personally petition the judge to be sentenced to a fine, three months home confinement, and 500 hours of community service with the American Recreation Coalition (ARC), a Washington-based non-profit organization formed in 1979, and the Walt Disney Company.

"It's not difficult to imagine that Griles may soon be working for the ARC," said Scott Silver, the executive director of Wild Wilderness, an Oregon-based grassroots environmental organization who has been tracking these matters for years. "It is, after all, a perfect match-up since they already enjoy the benefits of what has been more than a 20 year working relationship."

Griles "was involved in efforts to help two of Abramoff's clients -- the Louisiana Coushatta tribe and the Saginaw Chippewa tribe of Michigan -- fend off casino proposals from rival tribes and may have done so while engaged in employment negotiations with Abramoff, recent news reports have said. Griles has said through spokespeople that he did not play a major role in endeavors to aid the tribes," The Hill's Josephine Hearn has reported.

"Although Griles initially denied doing any favors for Abramoff's casino-owning Indian tribe clients, court records show that Griles inserted himself into several casino cases at Interior," Greenwire's Dan Berman recently pointed out. "In March, Griles pleaded guilty to withholding information from the Senate Indian Affairs Committee in 2005 about his meeting Abramoff through Italia Federici, president of the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy. Griles was dating Federici at the time." Earlier this month, Federici pleaded guilty to tax and perjury charges and agreed to cooperate with the government's wide-ranging Abramoff probe."

Get the Story:
Bill Berkowitz: J. Steven Griles did the crime but doesn't want to do the time (Media Transparency 6/19)

Selected Leters:
Bill Anoatubby | Jim Cason | Donald Hodel | Neal McCaleb | Gale Norton | Ross Swimmer

More Letters:
Exhibit Volume 1 (PDF 266 pages)

Related Stories:
Norton gave Griles credit for trust reform task force (6/19)
Neal McCaleb defends former DOI colleague (6/18)
Griles set for sentencing in Abramoff scandal (6/18)
Italia Federici set for guilty plea for Abramoff (06/08)
Abramoff investigators want dirt on Norton (06/07)
Italia Federici to plead guilty in Abramoff probe (06/06)
Griles marries former DOJ official after guilty plea (04/20)
Griles' seat on federal commission goes unfilled (4/9)
Norton associate faces charges in Abramoff scandal (4/5)
Former girlfriend of Griles a target of investigation (4/3)
A href="/News/2007/002170.asp">Editorial: Griles deserves tougher prison sentence (4/2)
The downfall of J. Steven Griles (3/26)
J. Steven Griles pleads guilty for lying about Abramoff (3/23)
Griles shares two homes with former DOJ official (02/15)
Legal Times: Griles hid romance from investigators (2/6)
Abramoff's old law firm defending Griles (1/25)
Facing charges, Griles resigns from lobbying firm (1/18)
Facing charges, Griles steps down from federal panel (1/16)
Griles told of likely prosecution over Abramoff (1/11)
Griles a target of Abramoff investigation (1/10)
Griles said to be under scrutiny in Abramoff probe (11/15)
Abramoff to report to prison as probe gets hotter (11/14)
Abramoff scandal leaves reforms to tribes, not Congress (6/23)
Norton protected Griles after $1M investigation (09/14)
Wayne Smith fingers Griles as Abramoff 'point man' (6/22)
Abramoff White House visit coincides with Griles meeting (05/11)
Tribes, states weigh lawsuits against oil companies (5/8)
Norton denies fraud or major problem with trust (3/29)
GAO report warns of billions in lost oil, gas royalties (3/29)
Norton denies Abramoff played a role in resignation (03/13)
Tribes, states object to Interior's lack of audits (03/01)
Pombo starts investigation of DOI royalty program (2/16)
Bush, Democrats oppose $7B royalty giveaway (2/15)
Interior to give away $7B in oil and gas royalties (2/14)
Oil companies fall behind on royalty payments (2/10)
Griles trying hard to avoid Abramoff indictment (02/08)
Griles arranged for Norton photo with Abramoff (01/30)
Griles denies doing favors for Abramoff, tribes (01/09)
In the Loop: Griles attended DOI's Christmas party (12/16)
Norton refutes alleged influence of Abramoff (12/15)
Watchdog group sues DOI over Abramoff documents (12/07)
McCain expects 'lots' of indictments in Abramoff case (12/05)
Dorgan vows to continue Abramoff lobbying probe (11/29)
Griles intervened in Coushatta leadership dispute (11/29)
Inside the BIA, according to Jack Abramoff (11/23)
Plea deal cites members of Congress and another tribe (11/22)
Scanlon free after guilty plea in tribal lobbying scheme (11/22)
Charges laid against Scanlon in tribal lobbying probe (11/21)
Senate committee to continue Abramoff investigation (11/18)
Salon: Italia Federici a 'minor' Republican player (11/18)
Campbell denies relationship with Italia Federici (11/18)
Audio: Italia Federici testifies before Senate panel (11/17)
Opinion: Something creepy about Federici's CREA (11/16)
Opinion: Griles' role in lobbying scandal still a mystery (11/14)
C-SPAN Moment: Putting the screws to Steve Griles (11/11)
Senate panel sets hearing for Italia Federici (11/09)
Column: Where in the world is Italia Federici? (11/07)
Editorial: Steve Griles and the revolving door (11/04)
Griles, Rossetti to testify on Coushatta Tribe (11/02)
Griles called to testify on Abramoff scandal (11/01)
Norton associate to testify at Abramoff hearing (10/28)
Interior drawn into Senate committee's lobbying probe (10/26)
Abramoff tried to hire Griles at lobbying firm (08/29)
Gaming leads to new concerns about lobbyists (05/26)
Meskwakis gave $50K to group founded by Norton (04/22)
Griles fought casino opposed by Abramoff's clients (03/14)
Tribe gave $75K to group founded by Norton (03/14)
DOI investigates contacts with group started by Norton (03/03)
Report: Former Norton organization subpoenaed (3/1)
Tribes gave $175K to group founded by Norton (2/28)
Bush nominates replacement for Griles at Interior (02/09)
In the Loop: Griles forms new lobbying partnership (01/31)
Editorial: Good riddance to J. Steven Griles (12/20)
Norton to remain on job for second Bush term (12/10)
Top Interior official resigns from Bush administration (12/08)
Griles blames controversies on Bush opponents (12/08)
Report blames lax culture for Griles ethical 'train wreck' (03/17)