Jack Abramoff and the Republican Culture of Corruption
Jack Abramoff, the disgraced long-time Washington insider whom Congressman Tom DeLay once referred to as one of his "closest and dearest friends," collected $100,000+ for President George W. Bush's re-election campaign, "earning premier status within the campaign" as a Bush Pioneer, as well as raised funds for GOP congressional candidates. 
As a Republican Party lobbyist, Abramoff was Senior Director of Government Affairs for the Greenberg Traurig law and lobbying firm from January 2001 to March 2004, when he was fired and became a consultant at the Cassidy & Associates lobbying shop. Abramoff was "brought into Cassidy" by Gregg Hartley, a former top aide to House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), according to Roll Call's Brody Mullins.  
Abramoff cut his ties with Cassidy & Associates on or around July 8, 2004, "to form his own company, Middle Gate Ventures,"
to do "such business opportunities as energy projects, real estate
development and motion picture production -- no lobbying," according to the Washington Post's
Judy Sarasohn. In March 2004, Abramoff had "signed an exclusive
contract with Cassidy for him to steer lobbying business to the
Abramoff was College Republican National Committee (CRNC) National Chairman from 1981-85, as well as a Director of the National Center for Public Policy Research. 
Client "Company A" is Tyco
Tyco International Ltd., "whose former CEO" L. Dennis Kozlowski "became a symbol of corporate
corruption, acknowledged" January 5, 2006, that "it is the Jack
Abramoff client referred to as 'Company A' in court documents
describing the lobbyist's scheme to funnel millions of dollars in
lobbying fees to himself," the Associated Press's Sharon Theimer reported.
Guilty Plea Deals
On January 4, 2006, a day after he entered guilty pleas
to "defrauding Indian tribal clients of millions of dollars, conspiring
to bribe members of Congress and evading taxes" before a federal judge
in Washington, DC, Abramoff pleaded guilty in federal court in Miami
before U.S. District Judge Paul C. Huck to "conspiracy and wire fraud
stemming from his 2000 purchase" of SunCruz Casinos, a fleet of
gambling boats in Florida. 
See Current Articles & Commentary
Follow the Money: Dumping $$$ ... and Waiting
Abramoff's plea deals cleared "the way for his cooperation with federal
prosecutors in bringing charges against former business and political
associates" and is sending "seismic waves across the political
landscape," as predicted by the Associated Press's Tom Raum.
Almost immediately following Abramoff's second guilty plea in
Miami on January 4, 2005, President Bush, Representative Tom DeLay,
Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Representative Roy Blunt and "numerous lawmakers hastily jettisoned campaign donations linked" to Abramoff while Republican Party officials "pondered the impact of a spreading scandal on their 2006 election prospects," the Associated Press's David Espo wrote.
The Wall Street Journal reported November 25, 2005, that the Justice Department's
"investigation into possible influence-peddling ... [was] examining his
dealings with four lawmakers, more than a dozen current and former
congressional aides and two former Bush administration officials,
lawyers and others involved in the case. ... [Namely] House Majority
Leader Tom DeLay of Texas, Rep. Bob Ney (R., Ohio), Rep. John Doolittle (R., Calif.) and Sen. Conrad Burns (R., Mont.), according to several people close to the investigation."
"Five of the former aides worked for Mr. DeLay, including" Tony Rudy, Ed Buckham and Susan B. Hirschmann. "The three were top aides to Mr. DeLay and are now Washington lobbyists." 
- Chart of "How Abramoff Spread the Wealth" (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/graphic/2005/12/12/GR2005121200286.html) posted December 12, 2005, by the Washington Post.
- "Unraveling Abramoff. Key Players in the Investigation of Lobbyist Jack Abramoff" (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/custom/2005/12/23/CU2005122300939.html) posted December 23, 2005, by the Washington Post. Includes links to "The Players", "Timeline", "Follow the Money", "The 'A' Team", and "'Post' Coverage".
- Jack Abramoff Lobbying and Political Contributions, 1999 - 2006 (http://www.capitaleye.org/abramoff.asp), Capital Eye.
- Involvement in the Abramoff-Reed Indian Gambling Scandal
- Role "in paying for overseas trips for DeLay"
- Grand Jury Investigation in Guam over a separate matter
- Work he did for client eLottery Inc. 
- Jack Abramoff Lobbying and Political Contributions, 1999 - 2006.
- Funneling funds to extreme right-wing settlers in the colonial
settlement of Beitar Illit -- and setting up a "sniper school". NB: for
this purpose phony charities were set up to transfer the funds with tax
Abramoff's Lobbyist Work
Following the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in
1994, Abramoff moved back to Washington, DC. He worked from 1994-2001
as a lobbyist for Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds, a
Washington branch of the Seattle-based Preston Gates and Ellis
law firm. In January 2001, he joined the law firm of Greenberg Traurig,
whose website described him as "directly involved in the Republican
party and political conservative
movement leadership structures and is one of the leading fund raisers
for the party and its congressional candidates." This page biography
has since been removed from their website.
In July 2005, Timothy E. Flanigan
"acknowledged that as general counsel at Tyco International, a
corporation that became embroiled in scandal before his arrival in
December 2002, he had personally supervised Mr. Abramoff's lobbying
work for Tyco in 2003."
"Abramoff listed the president's office among the agencies his team of
lobbyists sought to influence on behalf of Tyco during Flanigan's
tenure at the Bermuda-based conglomerate."
In the first ten months that President George W. Bush was in office, "GOP
fundraiser Jack Abramoff and his lobbying team logged nearly 200
contacts with the new administration as they pressed for friendly hires
at federal agencies and sought to keep the Northern Mariana Islands
exempt from the minimum wage and other laws," the Associated Press reported
May 6, 2005.
"The meetings between Abramoff's lobbying team and the administration ranged from Attorney General John Ashcroft to policy advisers in Vice President Dick Cheney's office, according to his lobbying firm billing records."
"The records from Abramoff's firm, obtained by The Associated
Press from the Marianas under an open records request, chronicle
Abramoff's careful cultivation of relations with Bush's political team
as far back as 1997, [when] Abramoff charged the Marianas for getting
then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush to write a letter expressing support for
the Pacific territory's school choice proposal, his billing records
"'I hope you will keep my office informed on the progress of
this initiative,' Bush wrote in a July 18, 1997, letter praising the
islands' school plan and copying in an Abramoff deputy," the AP
"White House spokeswoman Erin Healy said Thursday that Bush
didn't consider Abramoff a friend. 'They may have met on occasion, but
the president does not know him,' she said."
"The documents [obtained by the AP] show his team also had
extensive access to Bush administration officials, meeting with Cheney
policy advisers Ron Christie and Stephen Ruhlen, Ashcroft at the Justice Department, White House intergovernmental affairs chief Ruben Barrales, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, Deputy Interior Secretary J. Steven Griles and others.
"Most of the contacts were handled by Abramoff's subordinates,
who then reported back to him on the meetings. Abramoff met several
times personally with top Interior officials, whose Office of Insular
Affairs oversees the Mariana Islands and other U.S. territories.
"In all, the records show at least 195 contacts between
Abramoff's Marianas lobbying team and the Bush administration from
February through November 2001.
"At least two people who worked on Abramoff's team at Preston Gates wound up with Bush administration jobs: Patrick Pizzella, named an assistant secretary of labor by Bush; and David Safavian, chosen by Bush to oversee federal procurement policy in the Office of Management and Budget," the AP wrote.
Also see Lou Dubose's "The Pimping of the President" posted June 9, 2005, in the Texas Observer.
Political Contributions: "Bush Pioneer"
In 1997, Abramoff gave $500 to the campaign of Republican Congressman Doc Hastings. The New York Times
reported that Abramoff made an additional $500 donation to Hastings and
that the Seattle law firm Abramoff worked for, Preston, Gates &
Ellis, donated $13,000 to Hastings' campaign.
"The access of Abramoff and his team to the [Bush]
administration came as the lobbyist was establishing himself as a GOP
fundraiser," the Associated Press reported May 6, 2005.
"Abramoff and his wife each gave $5,000 to Bush's 2000 recount
fund and the maximum $1,000 to his 2000 campaign. By mid-2003, Abramoff
had raised at least $100,000 for Bush's re-election campaign, becoming
one of Bush's famed 'pioneers.'
"Money also flowed from the Marianas to Bush's re-election
campaign: It took in at least $36,000 from island donors, much of it
from members of the Tan family, whose clothing factories were a routine
stop for lawmakers and their aides visiting the islands on
"Two Tan family companies gave $25,000 each to the National Republican Senatorial Committee for the 2002 elections. Greenberg Traurig, too, was a big GOP giver. Its donations included $20,000 to the Republican National Committee for the 2000 elections and $25,000 each to the GOP's House and Senate fundraising committees in 2000 and again in 2002."
Exemplfying the "political decadence of late-stage conservatism"
"Well-connected Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff came into the news
lately when it turned out he had collected more than $9 million in fees
from various Indian tribes during the past two years, although tribal
interests faced little political opposition at that time. (He was
dumped by his firm, Greenberg Traurig, which cited 'personal
transactions and related conduct which are unacceptable to the firm.'
Abramoff responded with a statement noting that Washington lobbying 'is
different from other areas in the practice of law.' Indeed.) But while
Abramoff is far from Washington's first corrupt lobbyist, he's among a
troika of right-wing operatives who exemplify a more recent trend: the political decadence of late-stage conservatism." --Washington Monthly, April 2004.
Master of Sleaze
"Only a genius like Abramoff could make money lobbying against an
Indian tribe's casino and then turn around and make money defending
that tribe against himself. Only a giant like Abramoff would have the
guts to use one tribe's casino money to finance a Focus on the Family crusade against gambling in order to shut down a rival tribe's casino.
"Only an artist like Abramoff could suggest to a tribe that it
pay him by taking out life insurance policies on its eldest members.
Then when the elders dropped off they could funnel the insurance money
through a private school and into his pockets.
"This is sleaze of a high order. And yet according to reports in The Washington Post and elsewhere, Abramoff accomplished it all," wrote David Brooks in the March 22, 2005, New York Times.
- "Can you smell money?!?!?!" Jack Abramoff wrote. --Quoted May 1, 2005, New York Times. 
- "This is really high on the priority list of tribal concerns.
... This is a cash cow in many circumstances, and tribes are concerned
about protection of tribal assets." 
- Jack Abramoff mentioned in Nina J. Easton's Gang of Five: Leaders at the Center of the Conservative Crusade [Simon & Schuster 2000 ISBN 0684838990].
Wikipedia also has an article on Jack Abramoff. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.
BACK TO TOP
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Martin County Democratic Executive Committee has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Martin County Democratic Executive Committee endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)
"Go to Original" links are provided as a convenience to our readers and allow for verification of authenticity. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted here may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the "Go to Original" links.