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White House Watch Lobbying for the administration usually translates into fat paychecks on K Street. But now it could be inviting trouble. The House Government Reform Committee’s recent inquiry into the relationship between Jack Abramoff and legislative affairs staffers in the Bush White House may call into question how close Abramoff and his minions got to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Republican lobbyists say the congressional push may be legislative-branch retribution for a number of ongoing Justice Department probes and U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Chief Judge Thomas Hogan’s recent decision that the DOJ’s search and seizure of Rep. William Jefferson’s (D-La.) office was lawful. “We have asked for documents from a number of different sources,” says Keith Ausbrook, chief counsel for the Government Reform Committee. As first reported by The Washington Post and Roll Call, the committee, led by Reps. Tom Davis (R-Va.) and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), is looking into Bush fund-raiser Jack Oliver, now with Bryan Cave Strategies, and former White House lobbyists, such as Nicholas Calio, now with Citigroup Inc., and Ziad Ojakli, now with Ford Motor Co., among others. Oliver, Calio, and Ojakli did not return calls. In May the committee issued subpoenas to Greenberg Traurig and former Abramoff clients, relating to their contact with the White House. Ausbrook wouldn’t discuss the inquiry’s scope but said the committee expects to handle the investigation internally, sifting through documents to see if they “justify” further scrutiny. So far no hearing has been set. — Anna Palmer
‘I Cut My Teeth On Watergate’ That’s what London-born, New York City-based photographer Neil Selkirk says when recounting taking pictures of “all the people who ended up in jail.” Selkirk’s latest project seems an unusual venture. No stranger to Washington, he’s finishing up a photo book focused entirely on lobbyists and estimates that within the next couple of weeks he will have photographed about 80 individuals. “They’re so incredibly interesting and different from anybody I’ve met before,” he says of his subjects. Selkirk, whose work has been in Vogue, Vanity Fair, and The New Yorker, initially began the project last fall, as a spread for the August 2006 issue of the photography magazine Aperture. The magazine’s editor in chief, Melissa Harris, explains via e-mail, “I was discussing the notion of behind-the-scenes power with one of my contributing editors and the man for whom she works, and this led us to a discussion of lobbyists.” Calling the topic “timely and meaningful,” she says she was confident that with Selkirk’s talent, the spread would intrigue her readers. Selkirk found himself intrigued as well and decided to expand the undertaking into an entire book, which will be published by Nazraeli Press. He acknowledges that when it comes to lobbyists, “there’s been an awful lot of negative stuff going around,” but says his photos are recognition that lobbyists are people too. Lobbyist and Holocaust survivor Anita Epstein of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman was referred to Selkirk by a fellow lobbyist whom he had already photographed. “I was just really taken by him,” says Epstein. “He’s got such high energy, and he’s fun, and he’s learning while he’s talking to you.” During her first photo shoot with Selkirk, Epstein mentioned that her daughter, Stephanie Silverman of Venn Strategies, is also a lobbyist, resulting in a second shoot with both. Selkirk describes the style of the photographs as “very direct,” adding, “They’re basically portraits, and the philosophy is, �Right here, right now.’ . . . It’s an attempt to not make the pictures contrived.” — Marisa McQuilken
Movin’ on Up Abortion rights advocacy group NARAL Pro-Choice America named former Justice Department attorney Cathleen Mahoney as its new legal director. Mahoney has served as director of the DOJ’s task force on violence against reproductive health care providers since 1999. — Marisa McQuilken

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