WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., has indicted David H. Safavian, the former chief of staff for the General Services Administration (GSA), on charges of obstructing a GSA proceeding, obstructing a U.S. Senate proceeding, and making false statements, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division announced today.
The five-count indictment returned today alleges that from May 16, 2002 until January 2004, Safavian made false statements and obstructed investigations into his relationship with a Washington, D.C., lobbyist (Lobbyist A). The investigations focused on whether Safavian, the chief of staff at the GSA from May 2002 until January 2004, aided the lobbyist in the lobbyist's attempts to acquire GSA-controlled property in and around Washington, D.C. In August 2002, the lobbyist allegedly took Safavian and others on a golf trip to Scotland.
Safavian is charged with making a false statement to a GSA ethics officer for claiming that Lobbyist A had no business with GSA at the time Safavian was planning on traveling with that lobbyist to Scotland. He is also charged with making a false statement and obstruction of a GSA-Office of Inspector General (GSA-OIG) proceeding for repeating the same statement to a GSA-OIG special agent. The indictment alleges that in communicating with both the ethics officer and the GSA-OIG special agent, Safavian concealed the fact that the lobbyist had business before GSA prior to the August 2002 golf trip, and that Safavian was aiding the lobbyist in his attempts to do business with GSA.
The indictment also charges Safavian with obstruction of a Senate proceeding and making false statements in connection with a Senate investigation conducted by the Committee on Indian Affairs. In February 2005, Safavian was contacted by the committee, which was investigating allegations of misconduct made by several Native American tribes against Lobbyist A and others. The committee requested that Safavian provide the committee information about the August 2002 Scotland trip with Lobbyist A. The indictment alleges that Safavian attempted to mislead the committee by once again falsely claiming that at the time of the Scotland trip Lobbyist A had no business before GSA, but instead did all of his work on Capitol Hill.
From November 2004 until September 2005, Safavian had served as the administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy at the Office of Management and Budget. Safavian was charged previously by criminal complaint, arrested on Sept. 19, 2005, and released on personal recognizance.
If convicted, Safavian faces maximum penalties on each of the five counts of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Nathaniel B. Edmonds and Guy D. Singer of the Fraud Section, which is headed by Acting Chief Paul E. Pelletier, and Trial Attorney Peter R. Zeidenberg of the Public Integrity Section, which is headed by Chief Noel L. Hillman. The case is being investigated by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the General Services Administration Office of Inspector General, the Department of the Interior Office of the Inspector General, and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division.
An indictment is merely an accusation and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty at trial beyond a reasonable doubt.