The Ticking Time-Bomb
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QUOTE _ "I'd love us to get our mitts on that moolah."
Abramoff, in an e-mail to an ally, about an American
Indian tribe's contributions to Democrats.
04/30/06 C-SPAN Book TV:
"K Street Gang", Abramoff Scandal & His boss, Preston Gates,
Bill Gate's father.
(9.03MB) 39Min 27 Sec
Abramoff's Israeli connections
Abramoff also allegedly convinced Congressman Robert Ney, House
Administrative Committee chairman, to award a contract worth $3
million to a start-up Israeli telecommunications firm called
Foxcom Wireless. The contract was for
the installation of antennas in House of Representatives
buildings to improve cell-phone reception. Not surprisingly,
such equipment can be designed to have what is known as a "back
door" to enable a third party, in this case Mossad, to listen
in. That an Israeli firm should be given such a contract through
a selection process that was described as "deeply flawed and
unfair" is explicable, particularly as there were American
suppliers of the same equipment, and it suggest that the private
conversations of some of our Congressmen might not be so private
In a previous scandal in 2001, FBI
investigators strongly suspected that two Israeli companies,
which had been allowed to obtain U.S. government
telecommunications contracts, were able to use back-door
technology to compromise the security of DEA, Pentagon, and
White House phones.
Plea: Digging Up K Street
The history of lobbying shows a web of conflicts
Where The Trail Leads"...
"Abramoff Provided A Full Picture Of What Evidence He
Could Offer Against Other Suspects"...
Congress sweats, Abramoff will tell all
The lobbyist's plea paves the way for him to name names
in a scandal that may snare several lawmakers.
By Associated Press
Published January 4, 2006
WASHINGTON - The plea deal worked out by Jack Abramoff
could send seismic waves across the political landscape
in this congressional election year.
Republicans, who control Congress and the White House,
are likely to take the biggest hits.
The GOP has more seats to lose and has closer ties with
the former lobbyist. But some Democrats with links to
Abramoff and his associates are also expected to be
snagged in the influence-peddling net.
While the full dimensions of the corruption
investigation are not yet clear, some political
consultants and analysts are already comparing its
damage potential to the 1992 House banking scandal that
led to the retirement or ouster of 77 lawmakers.
"You don't have to be a political genius to sniff the
smell of blood in the water," said GOP consultant Rich
Abramoff, a former $100,000-plus fundraiser for
President Bush with ties to former House Majority Leader
Tom DeLay, pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy, tax
evasion and mail fraud.
"I plead guilty, your honor," Abramoff said in flat,
unemotional tones, accepting a plea bargain that said he
had provided lavish trips, golf outings, meals and more
to public officials "in exchange for a series of
"I only hope that I can merit forgiveness from the
Almighty and those I have wronged or caused to suffer,"
Abramoff said. "Words will not ever be able to express
how sorry I am for this, and I have profound regret and
sorrow for the multitude of mistakes and harm I have
In one case, he reported payments totaling $50,000 to
the wife of a congressional aide to DeLay to help block
legislation for a client.
One lawmaker who could be in the crosshairs is Rep. Bob
Ney, R-Ohio, chairman of the House Administration
Committee. In the Abramoff plea agreement, prosecutors
detailed the legislative favors that Ney - identified as
"Representative No. 1" in court papers - allegedly
performed for Abramoff's clients after receiving
political contributions, overseas travel and other
Also facing questions is Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the
Senate minority leader. Reid has denied that his
intercession in an Indian-casino case that would have
helped Abramoff was linked to a $5,000 contribution from
an Abramoff client. Reid received $40,000 in Abramoff-related
Abramoff also admitted defrauding four Indian tribes and
other clients, taking millions in kickbacks from a
one-time business partner, misusing a charity he had
established and failing to pay income taxes on millions
of ill-gotten gains.
Abramoff faces as much as 11 years in federal prison as
well as fines in connection with his guilty pleas on
charges of conspiracy, mail fraud and tax evasion. The
precise penalty is to be determined in part by the
extent of his cooperation with prosecutors. Together
with his former business partner, Michael Scanlon, he is
expected to face restitution costs of $25-million.
Abramoff is also expected to plead guilty today to
additional charges in Miami in connection with the 2000
purchase of a fleet of gambling boats.
The plea cleared the way for Abramoff's cooperation with
federal prosecutors in bringing charges against former
business and political associates.
At the Justice Department, officials said they intend to
make use of e-mails and other material in Abramoff's
possession as part of an investigation that is reported
to be focusing on as many as 20 members of Congress and
"This investigation continues . .. however long it
takes, wherever it leads," said Alice Fisher, assistant
"This is going to grow and multiply," said Bill Mateja,
a former top official in the Bush Justice Department
who's now a Dallas lawyer. "If I were on Capitol Hill, I
would be shaking in my boots. Because if anyone knows
where the skeletons are buried, it's Jack Abramoff."
The timing couldn't be worse politically, especially for
Republicans. Lawmakers who may be indicted could find
themselves coming to trial this summer, just ahead of
the midterm elections. About the same time, I. Lewis
"Scooter" Libby, former chief of staff to Vice President
Dick Cheney, is expected to stand trial in the CIA leak
DeLay, who had to step down as majority leader in
September after a grand jury in Texas indicted him in a
campaign finance investigation, is awaiting a trial
The impact on DeLay from the Abramoff case is unclear.
While DeLay's former aide Tony Rudy is alleged to have
accepted $50,000 from Abramoff, the court papers allege
no wrongdoing by DeLay.
Regardless, speculation is swirling over whom Abramoff
might bring down and on the possible fallout for others.
"Most seats in Congress are relatively safe this year.
But they are not safe from a tsunami," said University
of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato. "Iraq,
plus economic problems, plus these scandals, could
produce a tsunami."
People need to know "that government is not for sale,"
Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher said in
pledging to pursue the investigation "wherever it goes."
For months, federal prosecutors have focused on whether
Abramoff defrauded his Indian tribal clients of millions
of dollars and used improper influence on members of
Congress. Tribes represented by the lobbyist contributed
millions of dollars in casino income to congressional
Some lawmakers have already returned contributions.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., on Tuesday joined
the list. Others who have done so are Rep. Ernest
Istook, R-Okla.; Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan.; Sen. Max
Baucus, D-Mont.; Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont.; Sen.
Conrad Burns, R-Mont.; and Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D.
While Abramoff and his clients gave to both Democrats
and Republicans, Norman Ornstein, a political analyst at
the American Enterprise Institute, said the scandal
"will disproportionately affect Republicans. They are
the majority party and because Abramoff is a
Information from the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post,
Dallas Morning News, Knight Ridder news service and Cox
News Service was used in this report.
How they got caught: After
lobbyist broke off engagement, ex-fiancee told of
illicit dealings to FBI
Bang The Manicurist Slowly
Yahoo! News - Jan 3, 2006
... And, as Raw Story reported today, we may only know
about Michael Scanlon because of a jilted former lover,
Emily Miller, who avenged herself after Scanlon took ...
Ever Consider A Career in Diplomacy?
Getting those trains to run
on time: State Department press aide Emily Miller. (Ray
Lustig - The Washington Post)
By Richard Leiby
Tuesday, May 18, 2004; Page C03
Despite an outcry among media types, the State
Department yesterday offered its full support for
controversial press aide Emily J. Miller, who shocked
both her boss, Colin Powell, and "Meet the Press" host
Tim Russert when she ordered a cameraman to stop filming
an interview with Powell that ran a few minutes over
schedule Sunday in Jordan.
"I think she's great and she's doing a good job for us,"
Richard Boucher, State's top spokesman, told us. "Russert
went on and on and on. We asked the cameraman to help us
cut it off. He did and moved the camera."
After NBC's Jordanian cameraman proceeded to film palm
trees instead of Powell, Russert called it "attempted
news management gone berserk." He said nothing like it
had ever happened in his 13 years as the show's host.
In just six months on the job, Miller, 33, who controls
access to Powell, seems to have made more enemies than
usual among the reporters who cover the State
Department. "Her manner is brusque, abrasive,
demeaning," said one, asking to remain anonymous so as
not to be frozen out of interviews with Powell. "She's
not doing the secretary a service; she's doing him a
Miller responded: "This is much ado about nothing and
overshadows the successful meetings on Mideast peace
that the secretary was having. My job was to keep the
trains moving so that five interviews could get done."
About six weeks ago, Boucher investigated reporters'
complaints about Miller's conduct during a pool-camera
shoot. "There were one or two places where she was too
aggressive," he acknowledged. "We all make mistakes
In 2001 Miller was working as press secretary to
then-Majority Whip Tom DeLay when she lashed into Post
Magazine writer Peter Perl while he was doing a profile
of her boss, screaming: "You lied! . . . You betrayed
him! You twisted his words! . . . We don't know you. You
don't exist. . . . You are dead to us." A DeLay
spokesman told us yesterday, "Tom thinks Emily did a
fine job for him."
As we approach the coming of Abramoffukkah, we learn
more and more about the origin story behind the scandal.
It goes something like this: Our parents always told us
that the problem with Washington was that with all the
lobbyists and special interests and money moving hither
and yon, there was too much skin in the game. Now we
learn that most of that skin was wrapped around the
manyly bone structure and vital internal organs of Jack
Abramoff, who may have influence-peddled his way into
the bosom of a considerable number of well-heeled
Emily Miller - a jilted
We only have Abramoff on the hook today because his
partner, Michael Scanlon, rolled on him. And, as Raw
Story reported today, we may only know about Michael
Scanlon because of a jilted former lover, Emily Miller,
who avenged herself after Scanlon took up with a
manicurist by going to the
FBI and dropping the proverbial dime. You may remember
Miller from the time she famously attempted to
prematurely end a Meet The Press interview with
But wait, it gets even more enjoyable.
Tom Delay, whose extensive dealings with Abramoff have
goosed speculation that his name may be well-suited to
appear on the Abramoffukkah bingo card, has loudly
complained that all of the scandals surrounding him are
baseless and are all "just another seedy attempt by the
liberal media to embarrass me." Deliciously, Scanlon and
Miller met one another when they both worked for Tom
Delay -- he as his director of communications, she as
his press secretary -- and soon after, took up their
campaign of furtive, secret a-boinking. So I guess these
means that the "liberal media" includes Delay's own
press mouthpieces. Who knew?
It's all a seven-layer dip of tasty malfeisance with the
sourest of creams yet to be added. Still, you have to
wonder, with the intricate webs of distrust so clearly
on display within the Congress, between members and
aides and lobbyists, isn't it just awesome that it will
be these people who will try to decide who gets to
wiretap who?— DCEIVER
How they got caught: After lobbyist broke off
engagement, ex-fiancee told of illicit dealings to FBI
Michael Scanlon found himself at the center of one of
the biggest political scandals in Washington history as
a result of cheating and lying—but not the type
involving the numerous clients he was paid to lobby
Congress for, former coworkers and friends of his ex-fiancee
Scanlon was implicated in the Abramoff scandal by his
former thirtysomething fiancee, Emily J. Miller, whom he
met in the late 1990s while working as communications
director for former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay
(R-TX), three former associates who worked with Scanlon
at DeLay’s office said. Colleagues say Miller went to
the FBI after Scanlon broke off their engagement and
announced his intention to marry another woman.
Miller did not return a call seeking comment. Scanlon’s
attorney, Stephen Braga, did not respond to phone calls
or emails seeking comment. Former coworkers of Scanlon
and Miller at DeLay’s office and of Miller at the State
Department would speak only under condition of
anonymity, saying they did not want to be called as
witnesses in a trial.
Miller was DeLay’s young press secretary and as
communications director, Scanlon was her boss. The two
began a secretive office romance and Scanlon eventually
proposed marriage, associates say.
In 2003, Miller left DeLay’s office to work at the State
Department. Scanlon departed too, partnering with
now-indicted conservative lobbyist Jack Abramoff in
lobbying for an array of Indian tribes. As Scanlon’s
star rose, troubles between the couple mushroomed.
In May 2004, Miller found herself at the center of
attention when—while live on air—she ordered a cameraman
for NBC’s Meet the Press to stop filming Colin Powell. A
copy of the transcript shows Miller, who also used to
work as an NBC staffer, as a brusque press aide. Powell
eventually ordered that the interview continue and asked
Miller to step aside.
What many people didn’t realize at the time, however, is
that during the Powell interview Miller was upset
because her fiancee, Michael Scanlon, had broken off
their engagement, two of Miller’s former State
Department co-workers said. While still engaged to
Miller, Scanlon had started an affair with a manicurist
and broke up with Miller because he planned to marry the
other woman, three of Scanlon’s former associates at
DeLay’s office said. They added that the two had
numerous public arguments.
But Miller had something on Scanlon. He confided in her
all of his dealings with Abramoff, former colleagues
said. She saw his emails and knew the intimate details
of his lobbying work—work which is now the center of a
criminal fraud investigation. After the breakup, Miller
went to the FBI and told them everything about Scanlon’s
dealings with Abramoff, her coworkers added.
In turning him in, she became the agency’s star witness
against her former lover. Scanlon pled guilty in
November and is cooperating with prosecutors; Abramoff
reached a plea agreement today.
Scanlon's former colleagues did not speak warmly of him,
saying he was not a very likable person because of the
way he treated others, and that he later became
flamboyant with his newfound wealth.
Aside from the Powell interview, Miller also attracted
attention after berating a Washington Post Magazine
reporter. In 2001, while Miller was working as press
secretary to DeLay she told a reporter who was writing a
profile about DeLay. "You lied! . . . You betrayed him!
You twisted his words! . . . We don't know you. You
don't exist. . . . You are dead to us."
A DeLay spokesman told the Post at the time, "Tom thinks
Emily did a fine job for him."
Jack Abramoff and Israel
The American Conservative has some comments about Jack
Abramoff and his connections to Israel.
E-mail info, tips, questions or suggestions to
One of the more intriguing aspects of the federal
investigation into the activities of Washington lobbyist
Jack Abramoff is his Israeli connections. His large $2.2
million bail is reported to be due to fears that he
would flee to Israel, as some of his business associates
have already done, to avoid prosecution. Abramoff, an
Orthodox Jew and ardent Zionist, set up a charity called
Capital Athletic Foundation, which illegally provided
$140,000 worth of weapons and security equipment to
hard-line Israeli settlers.
Abramoff also allegedly convinced Congressman Robert
Ney, House Administrative Committee chairman, to award a
contract worth $3 million to a start-up Israeli
telecommunications firm called Foxcom
Wireless. The contract was for the installation of
antennas in House of Representatives buildings to
improve cell-phone reception. Not surprisingly, such
equipment can be designed to have what is known as a
"back door" to enable a third party, in this case Mossad,
to listen in. That an Israeli firm should be given such
a contract through a selection process that was
described as "deeply flawed and unfair" is explicable,
particularly as there were American suppliers of the
same equipment, and it suggest that the private
conversations of some of our Congressmen might not be so
private after all.
In a previous scandal in 2001, FBI investigators
strongly suspected that two Israeli companies, AMDOCS
and Comverse Infosys, which had been allowed to obtain
U.S. government telecommunications contracts, were able
to use back-door technology to compromise the security
of DEA, Pentagon, and White House phones.
Results 1 - 10 of about 352,000 for Jack Abramoff ISRAEL
DeLay May Face New Jeopardy as Abramoff Probers Target
Jack Abramoff leaves Federal
Court in Washington Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2006.
Jan. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Jack Abramoff's guilty plea
yesterday pushed the federal investigation of the
lobbyist deep into the office of former House Majority
Leader Tom DeLay by implicating one of his top
People close to the investigation identified the
``Staffer A'' mentioned on page 13 of Abramoff's 15-page
plea agreement as DeLay's former deputy chief of staff,
Tony Rudy. While a member of DeLay's staff, Rudy helped
Abramoff stop a measure that would have prohibited
Internet gambling, according to the government. In
return, Rudy's wife was paid $50,000 through a
non-profit group, the government says. DeLay himself
isn't named in the agreement.
The link to DeLay is at least the third to emerge in a
20- month investigation of Abramoff's ties with
lawmakers, and it comes as DeLay, 58, fights separate
money-laundering charges in Texas that forced him to
step down as House majority leader.
Abramoff, 46, told a federal judge in Washington he will
cooperate with prosecutors investigating political
``If I were DeLay, I would be very concerned,'' said
Bill Mateja, a white-collar criminal-defense lawyer with
Fish & Richardson PC in Dallas and formerly a senior
counsel in the Justice Department's corporate criminal
task force. ``A staffer is certainly a subject of the
investigation. Whether it takes them all the way to
DeLay, we'll have to wait and see.''
Rudy didn't return a phone call seeking comment.
Abramoff's agreement to cooperate may scuttle DeLay's
chances of returning as majority leader, because the
Texas Republican may continue to be under a legal shadow
for many more months. President George W. Bush said in
an interview with Fox News Channel on Dec. 14 that he
hoped Delay would be able to reclaim the majority
leader's post because of his success in passing
``Do I? Yes, I do,'' the president said when asked
whether he thought DeLay was innocent in the Texas case.
He added, ``When he's over there, we get our votes
through the House.''
Abramoff's plea also increases the political jeopardy
for Republicans in general during this election year,
since most of the donations from the lobbyist and his
former associates and clients went to members of that
Abramoff pleaded guilty yesterday to tax evasion, wire
fraud and conspiring to corrupt public officials. He is
set to plead guilty today to conspiracy and wire fraud
in a separate case in federal court in Miami and will
cooperate with prosecutors, according to a copy of the
plea agreement obtained by Bloomberg News. The
government will dismiss four other charges against him
in connection with his purchase of a casino cruise-ship
line in 2000, the agreement says.
The plea agreement in Washington charged Abramoff with
conspiring to corrupt ``Representative #1,'' previously
identified as Representative Robert Ney, an Ohio
Republican, in return for legislative favors for the
lobbyist's clients. Neither Ney nor DeLay has been
``The corruption scheme with Mr. Abramoff is very
extensive, and we will continue to follow it wherever it
leads,'' Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher told
reporters. ``This case is very active and ongoing.''
In November, former DeLay spokesman Michael Scanlon,
Abramoff's business partner, pleaded guilty to helping
the lobbyist defraud Indian-tribe clients of more than
$50 million. Scanlon is also cooperating with
DeLay's lawyer, Richard Cullen, said DeLay isn't
concerned that Abramoff's plea arrangement will put the
lawmaker in jeopardy.
``He's not apprehensive about this, because he knows he
hasn't done anything wrong and he's confident that will
be the ultimate conclusion,'' Cullen said.
Cullen said he couldn't comment on Rudy, saying DeLay
has always demanded that his staff ``comply to the
highest ethics and violate no laws. He would have no
tolerance with staffers that did not obey the law.''
About 220 lawmakers received at least $1.7 million in
political donations from Abramoff, his associates and
nine tribal clients between 2001 and 2004, according to
a review of Federal Election Commission and Internal
Revenue Service records. Of those, 201 are still in
Congress. Republicans got $1.1 million, 64 percent of
Many lawmakers are giving money back to Abramoff's
clients or donating the funds to charity. House Speaker
Dennis Hastert, an Illinois Republican, said yesterday
he would donate his Abramoff-related money to charity.
Hastert received $57,250 from Abramoff, his associates
and his clients from 2001 to 2004, ranking fifth among
all lawmakers. Republican Senator Conrad Burns of
Montana, who ranked first, said last month he'd give
donations he got from Abramoff to charity, and Democrat
Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, who ranked fourth, said he
would send Abramoff-related donations back to the
DeLay was the top recipient of funds directly from
Abramoff, having accepted $17,000 in donations from the
lobbyist from 2001 to 2004.
The reference to Rudy in Abramoff's plea agreement
suggests that the investigation is also zeroing in on
Capitol Hill staff members as well as lawmakers.
Rudy went to work for Abramoff at the Greenberg Traurig
LLP law firm in Washington in 2001. In 2000, Abramoff
and former DeLay chief of staff Ed Buckham used their
credit cards to underwrite a trip to the U.K. attended
by DeLay and his wife, the Washington Post reported in
Before Rudy left DeLay's office, he helped Abramoff stop
legislation curbing Internet gambling on behalf of
eLottery Inc., the Washington Post reported in October.
Norwalk, Connecticut-based eLottery paid Abramoff's
former firm, Preston Gates LLP, $720,000 in 2000.
Preston Gates, Abramoff's employer at the time, said it
was lobbying on legislation to ban Internet gambling.
The legislation was defeated. DeLay was one of 44
Republicans to vote against the measure in July 2000,
with 165 Republicans voting for it. The measure, which
needed 270 votes to pass the House, failed by 15 votes.
At the time, Rudy's wife, Lisa, was being paid fees by
Toward Tradition, a Seattle-based Orthodox Jewish
nonprofit organization run by Rabbi Daniel Lapin, a
friend of Abramoff's, the Post reported in October.
Rudy in June 2002 also solicited a $25,000 donation for
Abramoff's Capital Athletic Foundation charity from a
Cyprus- based importer of Russian vodka, the government
charged. Abramoff then used that money to help pay for a
Scotland golf trip. The foundation's ledgers, released
in November by a Senate Committee investigating the
lobbyist, showed Abramoff spent more than $160,000 on
the August 2002 trip that was attended by Ney and other
officials, including Christian activist Ralph Reed.
Representative Chris Shays, a Connecticut Republican,
said in an e-mailed statement that ``Jack Abramoff's
guilty plea and his close association with Tom DeLay
underscore the need for a new majority leader in the
Shays said that ``it is time we make it clear that
ethics are an essential part of how we do business and
that our leadership needs to reflect this strong ethical
To contact the reporters on this story:
Michael Forsythe in Washington
Jonathan D. Salant in Washington at
Last Updated: January 4, 2006 00:01 EST
Scandal cuts both directions
Jack Abramoff is a sorry symbol of an embarrassing axiom
that power corrupts.
Abramoff is a Washington lobbyist who used money to buy
influence. He entered a guilty plea Tuesday to three
felonies and pledged to cooperate in a criminal probe
that edges ever closer to former House Majority Leader
Abramoff admitted paying tens of thousands of dollars to
influential people, sending an Ohio congressman on a
golfing trip to Scotland that was paid for by Indian
tribes who were Abramoff's clients, and making a $10,000
donation to the National Republican Campaign Committee
at the best of that same Ohio congressman.
It's the latest in a line of scandals to stain
Republican political interests.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said Abramoff's
confession is “not a surprise because this Republican
Congress is the most corrupt in history and the American
people are paying the price.”
We are likewise not surprised that Pelosi and Democrats
will try to score political points on the issue. But we
find it implausible if not impossible to believe that
Republicans are the only scoundrels in politics.
As reported last week, a former congressman from our own
area, Frank Ballance, is serving four years in prison
for misappropriating public funds from a nonprofit
agency. Democratic politicians on the state and federal
level, nationwide, have been accused of everything from
improper hiring practices to bribing the Nigerian
government to grease the skids for a business deal.
Republicans are getting caught at the moment. And we
hope every last one of the guilty pay a serious price
for their transgressions.
But Pelosi and the Democrats might not be laughing for
long. Eventually, as it always is in politics, the
scandal shoe will be on the other foot.
Search Jack Abramoff + Ralph Reed
Ralph E. Reed, Jr., (born
Portsmouth, Virginia) is a controversial
American political activist, best known as the first
executive director of the
Christian Coalition during the early 1990s. He is
now a Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor of
Georgia. Reed is
currently under investigation by various federal and
state authorities probing the activities of
Grover Norquist and Reed.
Religious Movements Homepage:
In addition to founding the
Coalition, Pat Robertson also founded the
... Reed, Ralph. 1996. After the
Revolution: How the Christian Coalition is ...
Ralph Reed played
tribes against each other
Monday, June 6, 2005
Republican activist Ralph Reed helped disgraced lobbyist
Jack Abramoff play tribes against each other, The
Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Reed organized campaigns in Texas and Alabama that
benefited Abramoff's wealthy gaming tribes. On the other
side were tribes that were having legal problems with
their gaming operations or wanted to expand.
In Texas, Reed accepted $4.2 million from Abramoff and
his partner, Michael Scanlon. The money was used to
support the closure of the Tigua Tribe's casino and
another owned by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe. Reed said
he didn't know the money came from the Coushatta Tribe
of Louisiana, a gaming tribe.
In Alabama, Reed and Abramoff funneled a $1.15 million
donation from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, a
gaming tribe, to two anti-gambling groups who used it to
launch a successful campaign against a statewide lottery
that would have helped the Poarch Band of Creek Indians,
who want to expand to Class III gaming.
Reed acknowledges the money came from a gaming tribe but
says none of it came from the tribe's casino. But the
anti-gambling groups say they wouldn't have taken the
money if they had known the source.
The controversy has become an issue as Reed seeks the
Republican nomination for lieutenant governor of
DeLay-Abramoff Money Trail
Nonprofit Group Linked to Lawmaker Was Funded Mostly by Clients of Lobbyist
By R. Jeffrey Smith
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 31, 2005; Page A01
The U.S. Family Network, a public advocacy group that operated in the 1990s
with close ties to Rep. Tom DeLay and claimed to be a nationwide grass-roots
organization, was funded almost entirely by corporations linked to embattled
lobbyist Jack Abramoff, according to tax records and former associates of
During its five-year existence, the U.S. Family Network raised $2.5 million
but kept its donor list secret. The list, obtained by The Washington Post,
shows that $1 million of its revenue came in a single 1998 check from a
now-defunct London law firm whose former partners would not identify the
Two former associates of Edwin A. Buckham, the congressman's former chief of
staff and the organizer of the U.S. Family Network, said Buckham told them
the funds came from Russian oil and gas executives. Abramoff had been
working closely with two such Russian energy executives on their Washington
agenda, and the lobbyist and Buckham had helped organize a 1997 Moscow visit
by DeLay (R-Tex.).
The former president of the U.S. Family Network said Buckham told him that
Russians contributed $1 million to the group in 1998 specifically to
influence DeLay's vote on legislation the International Monetary Fund needed
to finance a bailout of the collapsing Russian economy.
A spokesman for DeLay, who is fighting in a Texas state court unrelated
charges of illegal fundraising, denied that the contributions influenced the
former House majority leader's political activities. The Russian energy
executives who worked with Abramoff denied yesterday knowing anything about
the million-dollar London transaction described in tax documents.
Whatever the real motive for the contribution of $1 million -- a sum not
prohibited by law but extraordinary for a small, nonprofit group -- the
steady stream of corporate payments detailed on the donor list makes it
clear that Abramoff's long-standing alliance with DeLay was sealed by a much
more extensive web of financial ties than previously known.
Records and interviews also illuminate the mixture of influence and illusion
that surrounded the U.S. Family Network. Despite the group's avowed purpose,
records show it did little to promote conservative ideas through grass-roots
advocacy. The money it raised came from businesses with no demonstrated
interest in the conservative "moral fitness" agenda that was the group's
In addition to the million-dollar payment involving the London law firm, for
example, half a million dollars was donated to the U.S. Family Network by
the owners of textile companies in the Mariana Islands in the Pacific,
according to the tax records. The textile owners -- with Abramoff's help --
solicited and received DeLay's public commitment to block legislation that
would boost their labor costs, according to Abramoff associates, one of the
owners and a DeLay speech in 1997.
A quarter of a million dollars was donated over two years by the Mississippi
Band of Choctaw Indians, Abramoff's largest lobbying client, which counted
DeLay as an ally in fighting legislation allowing the taxation of its
The records, other documents and interviews call into question the very
purpose of the U.S. Family Network, which functioned mostly by collecting
funds from domestic and foreign businesses whose interests coincided with
DeLay's activities while he was serving as House majority whip from 1995 to
2002, and as majority leader from 2002 until the end of September.
After the group was formed in 1996, its director told the Internal Revenue
Service that its goal was to advocate policies favorable for "economic
growth and prosperity, social improvement, moral fitness, and the general
well-being of the United States." DeLay, in a 1999 fundraising letter,
called the group "a powerful nationwide organization dedicated to restoring
our government to citizen control" by mobilizing grass-roots citizen
But the records show that the tiny U.S. Family Network, which never had more
than one full-time staff member, spent comparatively little money on public
advocacy or education projects. Although established as a nonprofit
organization, it paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees to Buckham
and his lobbying firm, Alexander Strategy Group.
There is no evidence DeLay received a direct financial benefit, but
Buckham's firm employed DeLay's wife, Christine, and paid her a salary of at
least $3,200 each month for three of the years the group existed. Richard
Cullen, DeLay's attorney, has said that the pay was compensation for lists
Christine DeLay supplied to Buckham of lawmakers' favorite charities, and
that it was appropriate under House rules and election law.
Some of the U.S. Family Network's revenue was used to pay for radio ads
attacking vulnerable Democratic lawmakers in 1999; other funds were used to
finance the cash purchase of a townhouse three blocks from DeLay's
congressional office. DeLay's associates at the time called it "the Safe
DeLay made his own fundraising telephone pitches from the townhouse's
second-floor master suite every few weeks, according to two former
associates. Other rooms in the townhouse were used by Alexander Strategy
Group, Buckham's newly formed lobbying firm, and Americans for a Republican
Majority (ARMPAC), DeLay's leadership committee.
They paid modest rent to the U.S. Family Network, which occupied a single
small room in the back.
Nine months before the June 25, 1998, payment of $1 million by the London
law firm James & Sarch Co., as recorded in the tax forms, Buckham and DeLay
were the dinner guests in Moscow of Marina Nevskaya and Alexander
Koulakovsky of the oil firm Naftasib, which in promotional literature
counted as its principal clients the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of
Buckham, a graduate of the University of Tennessee, had worked for DeLay
since 1995, after serving in other congressional offices and then as
executive director of the Republican Study Committee, a group of fiscally
conservative House members.
Their other dining companions were Abramoff and Washington lawyer Julius
"Jay" Kaplan, whose lobbying firms collected $440,000 in 1997 and 1998 from
an obscure Bahamian firm that helped organize and indirectly pay for the
DeLay trip, in conjunction with the Russians. In disclosure forms, the
stated purpose of the lobbying was to promote the policies of the Russian
Kaplan and British lawyer David Sarch had worked together previously. (Sarch
died a month before the $1 million was paid.) Buckham's trip with DeLay was
his second to Moscow that year for meetings with Nevskaya and Koulakovsky;
on the earlier one, the DeLay aide attracted media attention by returning
through Paris aboard the Concorde, a $5,500 flight.
Former Abramoff associates and documents in the hands of federal prosecutors
state that Nevskaya and Koulakovsky sought Abramoff's help at the time in
securing various favors from the U.S. government, including congressional
earmarks or federal grants for their modular-home construction firm near
Moscow and the construction of a fossil-fuel plant in Israel. None appears
to have been obtained by their firm.
Former DeLay employees say Koulakovsky and Nevskaya met with him on multiple
occasions. The Russians also frequently used Abramoff's skyboxes at local
sports stadiums -- as did Kaplan, according to sources and a 2001 e-mail
Abramoff wrote to another client.
Three sources familiar with Abramoff's activities on their behalf say that
the two Russians -- who knew the head of the Russian energy giant Gazprom
and had invested heavily in that firm -- partly wanted just to be seen with
a prominent American politician as a way of bolstering their credibility
with the Russian government and their safety on Moscow's streets. The
Russian oil and gas business at the time had a Wild West character, and its
executives worried about extortion and kidnapping threats. The anxieties of
Nevskaya and Koulakovsky were not hidden; like many other business people,
they traveled in Moscow with guards armed with machine guns.
During the DeLays' visit on Aug. 5 to 11, 1997, the congressman met with
Nevskaya and was escorted around Moscow by Koulakovsky, Naftasib's general
manager. DeLay told the House clerk that the trip's sponsor was the National
Center for Public Policy Research, but multiple sources told The Post that
his expenses were indirectly reimbursed by the Russian-connected Bahamian
The DeLay-Abramoff Money Trail
DeLay spokesman Kevin Madden said the principal reason for his Moscow trip
was "to meet with religious leaders there." Nevskaya, in a letter this
spring, said Naftasib's involvement in such trips was meant "to foster
better understanding between our country and the United States" and denied
that the firm was seeking protection through its U.S. contacts.
Nevskaya added in an e-mail yesterday that Naftasib and its officials were
not representing the ministries of defense and interior or any other
government agencies "in connection with meetings or other lobbying
activities in Washington D.C. or Moscow."
A former Abramoff associate said the two executives "wanted to contribute to
DeLay" and clearly had the resources to do it. At one point, Koulakovsky
asked during a dinner in Moscow "what would happen if the DeLays woke up one
morning" and found a luxury car in their front driveway, the former
associate said. They were told the DeLays "would go to jail and you would go
The tax form states that the $1 million came by check on June 25, 1998, from
"Nations Corp, James & Sarch co." The Washington Post checked with the
listed executives of Texas and Florida firms that have names similar to
Nations Corp, and they said they had no connection to any such payment.
James & Sarch Co. was dissolved in May 2000, but two former partners said
they recalled hearing the names of the Russians at their office. Asked if
the firm represented them, former partner Philip McGuirk at first said "it
may ring a bell," but later he faxed a statement that he could say no more
because confidentiality practices prevent him "from disclosing any
information regarding the affairs of a client (or former client)."
Nevskaya said in the e-mail yesterday, however, that "neither Naftasib nor
the principals you mentioned have ever been represented by a London law firm
that you name as James & Sarch Co." She also said that Naftasib and its
principals did not pay $1 million to the firm, and denied knowing about the
Two former Buckham associates said that he told them years ago not only that
the $1 million donation was solicited from Russian oil and gas executives,
but also that the initial plan was for the donation to be made via a
delivery of cash to be picked up at a Washington area airport.
One of the former associates, a Frederick, Md., pastor named Christopher
Geeslin who served as the U.S. Family Network's director or president from
1998 to 2001, said Buckham further told him in 1999 that the payment was
meant to influence DeLay's vote in 1998 on legislation that helped make it
possible for the IMF to bail out the faltering Russian economy and the
wealthy investors there.
"Ed told me, 'This is the way things work in Washington,' " Geeslin said.
"He said the Russians wanted to give the money first in cash." Buckham, he
said, orchestrated all the group's fundraising and spending and rarely
informed the board about the details. Buckham and his attorney, Laura
Miller, did not reply to repeated requests for comment on this article.
The IMF funding legislation was a contentious issue in 1998. The Russian
stock market fell steeply in April and May, and the government in Moscow
announced on June 18 -- just a week before the $1 million check was sent by
the London law firm -- that it needed $10 billion to $15 billion in new
House Republican leaders had expressed opposition through that spring to
giving the IMF the money it could use for new bailouts, decrying what they
described as previous destabilizing loans to other countries. The IMF and
its Western funders, meanwhile, were pressing Moscow, as a condition of any
loan, to increase taxes on major domestic oil companies such as Gazprom,
which had earlier defaulted on billions of dollars in tax payments.
On Aug. 18, 1998, the Russian government devalued the ruble and defaulted on
its treasury bills. But DeLay, appearing on "Fox News Sunday" on Aug. 30 of
that year, criticized the IMF financing bill, calling the replenishment of
its funds "unfortunate" because the IMF was wrongly insisting on a Russian
tax increase. "They are trying to force Russia to raise taxes at a time when
they ought to be cutting taxes in order to get a loan from the IMF. That's
just outrageous," DeLay said.
In the end, the Russian legislature refused to raise taxes, the IMF agreed
to lend the money anyway, and DeLay voted on Sept. 17, 1998, for a foreign
aid bill containing new funds to replenish the IMF account. DeLay's
spokesman said the lawmaker "makes decisions and sets legislative priorities
based on good policy and what is best for his constituents and the country."
He added: "Mr. DeLay has very firm beliefs, and he fights very hard for
Kaplan did not respond to repeated messages, and through a spokesman for
lawyer Abbe Lowell, Abramoff declined to comment.
No legal bar exists to a $1 million donation by a foreign entity to a group
such as the U.S. Family Network, according to Marcus Owens, a Washington
lawyer who directed the IRS's office of tax-exempt organizations from 1990
to 2000 and who reviewed, at The Post's request, the tax returns filed by
the U.S. Family Network.
But "a million dollars is a staggering amount of money to come from a
foreign source" because such a donor would not be entitled to claim the tax
deduction allowed for U.S. citizens, Owens said. "Giving large donations to
an organization whose purposes are as ambiguous as these . . . is
extraordinary. I haven't seen that before. It suggests something else is
"There are any number of red flags on these returns."
Buckham and Tony Rudy were the first DeLay staff members to visit the
Choctaw Reservation near Meridian, Miss., where the tribe built a 500-room
hotel and a 90,000-square-foot gambling casino. Their trip from March 25 to
27, 1997, cost the Choctaws $3,000, according to statements filed with the
DeLay, his wife and Susan Hirschman -- Buckham's successor in 1998 as chief
of staff -- were the next to go. Their trip from July 31 to Aug. 2, 1998,
was described on House disclosure forms as a "site review and reservation
tour for charitable event," and the forms said it cost the Choctaws $6,935.
Buckham, who was then a lobbyist, arranged DeLay's trip, which included a
visit to the tribe's golf course to assess it as a possible location for the
lawmaker's annual charity tournament, according to a tribal source. Abramoff
told the tribe he could not accompany DeLay because of a prior commitment,
the source said.
One day after the DeLays departed for Washington, the U.S. Family Network
registered an initial $150,000 payment made by the Choctaws, according to
its tax return. The tribe made additional payments to the group totaling
$100,000 on "various" dates the following year, the returns state. The
Choctaws separately paid Abramoff $4.5 million for his lobbying work on
their behalf in 1998 and 1999. Abramoff and his wife contributed $22,000 to
DeLay's political campaigns from 1997 to 2000, according to public records.
A former Abramoff associate who is aware of the payments, and who spoke on
the condition of anonymity to protect his clients, said the tribe made
contributions to entities associated with DeLay because DeLay was crucial to
the tribe's continuing fight against legislation to allow the taxation of
Indians' gambling revenue.
An attorney for the tribe, Bryant Rogers, said the funds were meant not only
to "get the message out" about the adverse tax law proposals but also to
finance a campaign by Buckham's group within "the conservative base" against
legislation to strip tribes of their control over Indian adoptions. "This
was a group connected to the right-wing Christian movement," Rogers said.
"This is Ed Buckham's connection."
In March 1999, after the tribe had paid a substantial sum directly to the
U.S. Family Network, Buckham expressed his general gratitude to Abramoff in
an e-mail. "I really appreciate you going to bat for us. Remember it is the
first bit of money that is always the hardest, but means the most," Buckham
said, according to a copy. He added: "Pray for God's wisdom. I really
believe this is supposed to be what we are doing to save our team."
During this period, a fundraising letter on the U.S. Family Network
stationery was sent to residents of Alabama, announcing a petition drive to
promote a cause of interest to Abramoff's Indian gambling clients in
Mississippi and Louisiana, including the Choctaw casino that drew many
customers from Alabama: the blocking of a rival casino proposed by the
Poarch Creek Indians on their land in Alabama.
"The American family is under attack from all sides: crime, drugs,
pornography, and one of the least talked about but equally as destructive --
gambling," said the group's letter, which was signed by then-Rep. Bob Riley
(R), now the Alabama governor. "We need your help today . . . to prevent the
Poarch Creek Indians from building casinos in Alabama."
Asked about the letter, Rogers said "none of us have seen" it and "the
tribe's contributions have nothing to do with it." A spokesman for Riley
said that he could not recall the circumstances behind the letter, but that
he has long opposed any expansion of gambling in Alabama.
DeLay, meanwhile, saluted Choctaw chief Philip Martin in the Congressional
Record on Jan. 3, 2001, citing "all he has done to further the cause of
freedom." DeLay also attached to his remarks an editorial that hailed the
tribe's gambling income and its "hiring [of] quality lobbyists."
Throughout this period, the U.S. Family Network was paying a monthly fee of
at least $10,000 to Buckham and Alexander Strategy Group for general
"consulting," according to a former Buckham associate and a copy of the
contract. While DeLay's wife drew a monthly salary from the lobbying firm,
she did not work at its offices in the townhouse on Capitol Hill, according
to former Buckham associates.
Neither the House nor the Federal Election Commission bars the payment of
corporate funds to spouses through consulting firms or political action
committees, but the spouses must perform real work for reasonable wages.
"Anytime you [as a congressman] hire your child or spouse, it raises
questions as to whether this is a throwback to the time when people used
campaigns and government jobs to enrich their families," said Larry Noble,
executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan
watchdog group, and a former general counsel of the FEC.
Research editor Lucy Shackelford; researchers Alice Crites, Madonna Lebling,
Karl Evanzz and Meg Smith; and research database editor Derek Willis
contributed to this report.
Pleads Guilty to 3 Counts
Lobbyist to Testify About Lawmakers In Corruption Probe
By Susan Schmidt and James V. Grimaldi
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, January 4, 2006
Jack Abramoff, the once-powerful lobbyist at the center of a wide-ranging
public corruption investigation, pleaded guilty yesterday to fraud, tax
evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials in a deal that requires him
to provide evidence about members of Congress.
The plea deal could have enormous legal and political consequences for the
lawmakers on whom Abramoff lavished luxury trips, skybox fundraisers,
campaign contributions, jobs for their spouses, and meals at Signatures, the
lobbyist's upscale restaurant.
Jack Abramoff, center, leaves Federal Court in Washington Tuesday, Jan. 3,
2006. The once-powerful lobbyist pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal charges
of conspiracy, tax evasion and mail fraud, agreeing to cooperate with
prosecutors investigating influence peddling that has threatened powerful
members of the U.S. Congress. At right is his attorney Abbe Lowell. (AP
Photo/Gerald Herbert) (Gerald Herbert -- AP)
NAME: Jack Abramoff.
AGE: 46; born Feb. 28, 1959, in New Jersey.
EDUCATION: Beverly Hills High School, Brandeis graduate, Georgetown
University law degree.
EXPERIENCE: Lobbyist with Greenberg Traurig, Jan. 2001-March 2004; founder
of Eshkol Academy, a school for Orthodox Jews in Montgomery County, Md.,
2001; lobbyist with Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds, 1994-2001;
Hollywood film producer as president of Regency Entertainment Group,
1986-94; director, Citizens for America, pro-Reagan lobbying group, 1985;
chairman of college Republicans and member of executive committee,
Republican National Committee, early to mid-1980s.
FAMILY: Wife, Pam; five children.
QUOTE: "I'd love us to get our mitts on that moolah." Abramoff, in an e-mail
to an ally, about an American Indian tribe's contributions to Democrats.
-- Associated Press
Wednesday, Jan. 4, at noon ET
Abramoff Pleads Guilty to Felony Charges
Washington Post staff writer Susan Schmidt discusses her article in The Post
on the plea bargain of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and the growing
political scandal surrounding his dealings with members of Congress.
How Abramoff Spread the Wealth
This graphic charts lobbying fees paid to Jack Abramoff and which lawmakers
received campaign donations from Abramoff and his associates.
In court papers, prosecutors refer to only one congressman: Rep. Robert W.
Ney (R-Ohio). But Abramoff, who built a political alliance with House
Republicans, including former majority leader Tom DeLay of Texas, has agreed
to provide information and testimony about half a dozen House and Senate
members, officials familiar with the inquiry said. He also is to provide
evidence about congressional staffers, Interior Department workers and other
executive branch officials, and other lobbyists.
"The corruption scheme with Mr. Abramoff is very extensive," Alice S.
Fisher, head of the Justice Department's criminal division, said at a news
conference with other high-ranking officials of the Internal Revenue Service
and the FBI. "We're going to follow this wherever it goes."
Fisher declined to identify the officials under scrutiny. "We name people in
indictments," she said, adding: "We are moving very quickly."
Among the allegations in the court documents is that Abramoff arranged for
payments totaling $50,000 for the wife of an unnamed congressional staffer
in return for the staffer's help in killing an Internet gambling measure.
The Washington Post has previously reported that Tony Rudy, a former top
aide to DeLay, worked with Abramoff to kill such a bill in 2000 before going
to work for Abramoff.
Abramoff's appearance in U.S. District Court came nearly two years after his
lobbying practices gained public notice because of the enormous payments --
eventually tallied at $82 million -- that he and a public relations partner
received from casino-rich Indian tribes. Yesterday, he admitted defrauding
four of those tribal clients out of millions of dollars. He also pleaded
guilty to evading taxes, to conspiring to bribe lawmakers, and to conspiring
to induce former Capitol Hill staffers to violate the one-year ban on
lobbying their former bosses.
Under terms of his plea agreement, Abramoff can expect to receive a jail
sentence of 9 1/2 to 11 years, and he is required to make restitution of
$26.7 million to the IRS and to the Indian tribes he defrauded. Today he is
to plead guilty to fraud and conspiracy counts in a related case in Florida
involving his purchase of a casino cruise line.
Standing before U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle in Washington
yesterday, Abramoff looked sheepish and sad. "Your Honor, words will not be
able to ever express how sorry I am for this, and I have profound regret and
sorrow for the multitude of mistakes and harm I have caused," he said
softly. "All of my remaining days, I will feel tremendous sadness and regret
for my conduct and for what I have done. I only hope that I can merit
forgiveness from the Almighty and from those I have wronged or caused to
Abramoff has been in extensive discussions with government lawyers for
months leading up to yesterday's plea.
Ney, chairman of the House Administration Committee, is among the first of
those expected to feel the fallout. In the court documents -- which identify
him only as "Representative #1" -- Ney is accused of meeting with one of
Abramoff's clients in Russia in 2003 to "influence the process for obtaining
a [U.S.] visa" for one of the client's relatives and of agreeing to aid a
California tribe represented by Abramoff on tax and post office issues.
Ney also placed comments in the Congressional Record backing Abramoff's
efforts to gain control of the Florida gambling company, SunCruz Casinos,
and offered legislative language sought by Abramoff that would have reopened
a Texas tribe's shuttered casino.
Abramoff Lobbying and Corruption Scandal
Jack Abramoff is a long-time Washington insider whom
Congressman Tom DeLay once referred to as one of his "closest and dearest
Gus (Kostas) Boulis
By JEFF SHIELDS
a.m. Feb. 9, 2001
Abramoff's ex-partner in the SunCruz (Casinos)
deal, 41-year-old Adam Kidan, pleaded guilty on Dec. 15 to two charges and
faces sentencing on March 1.
Abramoff and Kidan admitted using the fake wire transfer to secure $60
million in loans they used to buy SunCruz from Miami businessman
Konstantinos "Gus" Bouli
Boulis was later murdered in a mob-style hit; three men were charged last
fall and have pleaded not guilty. Both Abramoff and Kidan have denied
involvement in the slaying.
SunCruz founder gunned
down in Lauderdale while driving car
Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis
Charged in Killing Of Fla. Businessman
Boulis Slain After 2000 Abramoff Deal
3 Charged in Killing Of
Boulis Slain After 2000 Abramoff Deal
Anthony Moscatiello (top), Anthony
Ferrari (lower left), 48,
and James Fiorillo (lower right), 28,
were arrested in connection with the ambush slaying
of Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis.
Jan. 3, 2006, 3:08PM
Prosecutor in DeLay case subpoenas
By SUZANNE GAMBOA
WASHINGTON -- The prosecutor in the Texas money laundering case against Rep.
Tom DeLay issued subpoenas today looking for links between lobbyist Jack
Abramoff and fundraising by the former majority leader.
District Attorney Ronnie Earle issued the subpoenas in Austin the same day
that Abramoff pleaded guilty in Washington to federal charges of conspiracy,
tax evasion and mail fraud.
Abramoff's plea came in a wide-ranging corruption investigation that is
believed to be focusing on as many as 20 members of Congress and
congressional aides, including DeLay and one of his former aides.
Investigators allege Abramoff and his ex-partner Michael Scanlon defrauded
several Indian tribes of tens of millions of dollars in a lobbying scheme
that also involved bribery of public officials.
In the Texas case, Earle sought records from Abramoff's former employers,
legal firms Greenberg Traurig LLP and Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds,
LLP. He also subpoenaed records from a lawyer for the Mississippi Band of
Choctaw Indians, a former Abramoff client, and from a representative for the
Barona Band of Mission Indians, a California tribe.
DeLay attorney Dick DeGuerin said Earle "goes where the fish bite."
"Ronnie Earle is an opportunist," DeGuerin said. "He issues subpoenas to try
to make a connection between his case and the latest scandal, whatever it
happens to be. The Abramoff thing is the latest he's doing. It has nothing
to do with the case in Texas. Nothing. Zip."
DeLay is facing money laundering charges stemming from corporate
contributions to a fundraising committee he formed for 2002 state
legislative elections. Texas law bans using corporate or union contributions
for election or defeat of a candidate.
DeLay is accused with two associates of funneling corporate money through
Texans for a Republican Majority, TRMPAC, and the Republican National
Committee to several state legislative campaigns in 2002.
DeLay has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and labeled the investigation
He was forced to step aside as majority leader after he was indicted on
money laundering and conspiracy charges in September. No trial date has been
set because of pending appeals filed by Earle and DeLay.
Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds contributed $25,000 and the Barona
Band, $5,000 to TRMPAC in 2002. The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
contributed $1,000 in 2001, according to TRMPAC records.
In his subpoenas, Earle asks for correspondence between the subpoenaed
parties and TRMPAC; Americans for a Republican Majority, DeLay's national
fundraising committee; David Safavian, the Bush administration's former
chief procurement official indicted in the Abramoff case; Abramoff, former
Christian Coalition director Ralph Reed and DeLay's co-defendants.
Witness May Have Pivotal
Role in Probe of Alleged Corruption
By Susan Schmidt and James V. Grimaldi
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Before he hit his mid-thirties, Michael Scanlon played enough roles to fill
a lifetime: lifeguard, press aide to a powerful congressman,
multimillionaire public relations entrepreneur.
Now the sandy-haired, buttoned-down Republican -- author of e-mails
detailing wildly brash schemes to make money in politics -- is likely to
take a turn as a star witness for the prosecution in the Justice
Department's investigation of lawmakers, lobbyists, Capitol Hill staffers
and executive branch officials.
Michael Scanlon, a former business partner of ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, is
to plead guilty tomorrow in a deal with prosecutors. (Gerald Herbert - AP)
Scanlon's help could be important to the probe, which focuses on the
activities of former influential lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Scanlon was
Abramoff's closest business partner at the height of the lobbyist's power,
joining in an enterprise that collected $82 million in fees from Indian
tribes between 2000 and 2004.
On Friday, Scanlon was charged with conspiracy, accused of plotting with
Abramoff to defraud the tribes and bribe government officials, including a
member of Congress. He is to appear in court tomorrow to enter a guilty plea
worked out with prosecutors who have spent nearly two years sifting through
the deals that made Scanlon a rich man almost overnight.
His cooperation also increases pressure on Abramoff to make his own deal
with the prosecution. Abramoff has told his legal team that despite the
millions of dollars he brought in, he is all but out of money, lawyers in
the case said. Abramoff and another business partner are facing trial in
Florida on separate fraud charges.
Scanlon has more to show from his alliance with Abramoff. He was a
reporter-friendly spokesman for then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.)
in 2000 when he quit Capitol Hill to join forces with Abramoff. Soon he was
raking in a seven-figure salary, astounding former colleagues as he shed his
student loans and picked up a mansion on the Delaware shore, an estate in
St. Barts and an in-town apartment at the Ritz-Carlton in the District.
E-mail released by Senate investigators shows that Scanlon and Abramoff
referred to their secret partnership as "gimme five" -- code for their
arrangement to split tens of millions of dollars in profits Scanlon's firm
was taking in from the tribes. Abramoff, who cultivated a reputation as the
best-connected Republican lobbyist in Washington, typically urged his tribal
clients to hire Scanlon, never telling them he would be getting a chunk of
the fees they paid Scanlon.
As a witness in the wide-ranging, influence-peddling probe of Abramoff and
government officials, Scanlon may have knowledge of many areas of interest
to investigators. In addition to Abramoff's dealings with the tribes,
Scanlon was in a position to know whether lawmakers and their aides provided
legislative favors for Abramoff's lobbying clients, including the tribes.
E-mail shows Abramoff often talked of gaining sway over key officials at the
Interior Department, which plays a regulatory role in tribal land issues and
Indian gambling operations.
Scanlon's cooperation is crucial to helping prosecutors prove that any favor
to a lawmaker was in explicit exchange for an official act, said Leonard
Garment, an attorney for President Nixon during Watergate.
"It is important because you have direct evidence from someone who was
involved who can testify with respect to the payment of money or some other
thing of value to the legislator," Garment said.
"Scanlon presumably is in a position to say that it wasn't just ordinary
assistance of a neutral or innocent character, that it was a quid pro quo,
that if you vote a certain way or introduce a certain bill, I will pay you
money or give you a brace of tickets to a Washington Redskins game. That is
the way a case is proved."
Scanlon, a relatively junior member of DeLay's staff -- he refers to his
former boss as "Mr. DeLay" -- may not have been privy to all of DeLay's
dealings with Abramoff, a lobbyist the Texas lawmaker once called "one of my
closest and dearest friends." But Scanlon could be a guide to the activities
of top House GOP staffers, some of whom are now lobbyists and political
consultants who work closely with DeLay, now the former majority
Witness May Have Pivotal Role in Probe of Alleged Corruption
The criminal charge against Scanlon shows that the lawmaker of most
immediate interest to prosecutors is House Administration Committee Chairman
Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio). Prosecutors charged that Scanlon and Abramoff
conspired to bribe Ney -- referred to in the charging document as
"Representative #1" -- by providing him and staff members with a golf trip
to Scotland, sports tickets, meals, and campaign contributions.
From Ney, prosecutors allege, Scanlon and Abramoff "sought and received" a
series of official acts, including meeting with clients, sponsoring
legislation and approving a license to install wireless communications in
the U.S. House for an Abramoff client.
Ney also placed comments in the Congressional Record favorable to Abramoff's
2000 purchase of the Florida casino boat company, SunCruz Casinos. Scanlon
handled SunCruz's dealings with Ney and his chief of staff, Neil Volz, who
later also went to work for Abramoff.
Ney has denied wrongdoing, and his lawyer said that any official acts Ney
performed had no connection to favors from Abramoff's team.
Solomon L. Wisenberg, a former federal prosecutor, said a guilty plea and
cooperation agreement often are announced to pressure other potential
witnesses to cooperate. He said it also is a signal that investigators think
Scanlon has told them what they need to make their bribery cases.
"The government would not enter into a plea agreement with somebody and
offer to give them credit for cooperation unless they were getting something
in return," Wisenberg said.
Scanlon's cooperation will be a key element incriminal trials that rely
heavily on documents, such as e-mails and memos. "You have to have someone
who can tell the story," Wisenberg said.
Scanlon was also a link between Abramoff's SunCruz dealings and DeLay's
On Inauguration Day 2001, Scanlon and Abramoff's SunCruz business partner
Adam Kidan were guests at a reception in DeLay's Capitol Hill office
celebrating the swearing in of George W. Bush, according to two people who
were at the reception who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
A week later, Abramoff and his partners leased a corporate jet to ferry
congressional staffers to the Super Bowl in Tampa and a night of gambling
aboard a SunCruz ship. Among those aboard were DeLay aide Tim Berry, who
left this year as DeLay's chief of staff, and DeLay's former deputy chief of
staff, Tony Rudy, by then a newly minted lobbyist working for Abramoff. Two
staff aides to Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) also went on the trip.
Scanlon could help investigators learn more about the purpose of gifts and
nearly $3 million in campaign contributions Abramoff and his tribal clients
lavished on members of Congress and their staffers, who night after night
filled the lobbyist's four sports skyboxes. Scanlon may also be able to
elaborate on e-mails that have been made public by the Senate Indian Affairs
Committee, in which Abramoff discussed job offers to public officials and
his efforts to get political appointees at the Interior Department to
intercede on issues affecting clients.
Scanlon may also be knowledgeable about Abramoff's direction of tribal funds
to several charitable foundations and advocacy groups and tax-exempt
organizations, including one run by anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist.
E-mail shows that Scanlon was intimately familiar with some of the financial
dealings of anti-gambling activist Ralph Reed, former executive director of
the Christian Coalition.
Reed, a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor in Georgia, has
acknowledged receiving $4 million in dealings with Abramoff to whip up
anti-casino campaigns in the South, but has maintained he did not know the
funds came from the gaming proceeds of tribes that wanted to scuttle
E-mails and other documents obtained by The Washington Post, and some
released by the Indian Affairs Committee, show that Reed was routinely paid
with tribal funds that were sent to Scanlon's firm, then routed to an
Abramoff company called KayGold, and then sent to one of Reed's
Atlanta-based political consulting firms.
Scanlon's e-mails and memos often reveal an aggressive, take-no-prisoners
style. In a 2001 memo to a representative of the Louisiana Coushatta tribe,
Scanlon said his political program was "designed to make the Coushatta Tribe
a politician's best friend -- or worst political nightmare."
Abramoff, polished and soft-spoken in public, often showed contempt for his
clients in private communications with his young partner. It was in an
e-mail to Scanlon that Abramoff infamously referred to members of one tribe
as "monkeys." In another exchange about a new client, the Tigua tribe of
Texas, Abramoff said, "Fire up the jet baby, we're going to El Paso!!"
Replied Scanlon: "I want all their MONEY!!!" Said Abramoff: "Yawzah!"
Abramoff turned to Scanlon when he wanted to disguise the origins of money
from foreign entities, including the Malaysian government, e-mails and
records show -- another area of likely interest for prosecutors and the
Internal Revenue Service. Scanlon set up the American International Center,
a Rehoboth Beach foundation that claimed on its Web site to be "a premiere
international think tank."
Scanlon, who friends say never shook off the lure of summer days in the
lifeguard stand even when he was making millions, staffed it with two
longtime beach buddies -- one a former lifeguard and another a yoga
Excellent Links from
The Secret World of Jack Abramoff
How did Jack Abramoff get lucky enough to be the guy
passing out all that long
green? ... Both men have strong ties to Pat Robertson’s
Christian Coalition, ...
Get the Story:
Abramoff investigation has GOP holding its breath
Austin-American Statesman 10/16)
Storm Clouds Hanging Over Republicans
(The Los Angeles
Abramoff scandal takes toll on GOP, White House (10/14)
Abramoff tribes gave $10K to New Hampshire GOP (10/14)
suspect held in murder linked to Abramoff (10/14)
official pleads not guilty in Abramoff probe (10/10)
nominee withdraws over ties to Abramoff (10/10)
Indicted ex-Bush official worked for NIGA, tribes (10/7)
Special prosecutor sought in Abramoff investigation
Bush official indicted in Abramoff probe (10/6)
men held without bail in Abramoff-related case (10/3)
arrested in shooting linked to Abramoff (9/28)
Abramoff also boasted of ties to John Ashcroft (9/27)
Ex-White House official sought to close GovWorks (9/27)
Column: Abramoff scandal a sign of GOP corruption (9/27)
Editorial: Abramoff scandal taints the White House
court, Abramoff blamed partner for bad deal (9/26)
Nominee: Abramoff bragged of contact with Karl Rove
Ex-Bush official blames arrest on Abramoff probe (9/22)
Abramoff scandal may ensnare more Republicans (9/22)
Arrested Bush official has questionable ties (9/21)
Column: Abramoff scandal visits the White House (9/21)
House official arrested in Abramoff probe (9/20)
congressman hired ex-Abramoff associate (09/02)
leader wants probe of Griles-Abramoff links (8/31)
Abramoff tried to hire Griles at lobbying firm (8/29)
Choctaws were Jack Abramoff's first tribal client (8/22)
Abramoff makes first court appearance on charges (8/19)
associate charged in Montana for poaching (8/19)
Abramoff to cooperate with Miami murder probe (8/17)
Congressman vouched for indicted Abramoff pal (8/16)
Authorities feared Abramoff would flee to Israel (8/15)
Abramoff, partner indicted on bank fraud charges (8/12)
powerful Abramoff falls quickly from grace (8/12)
Coushatta Tribe footed DeLay's trip to the opera (8/12)
jury probe of Abramoff cut short by Bush (08/08)
defends GOP senator tied to Abramoff (07/28)
Opinion: Mississippi Choctaws not the victims (07/28)
Justice nominee questioned on ties to Abramoff (07/27)
Editorial: Tribal lobbying scandal a 'blockbuster'
claims Karl Rove linked to Jack Abramoff (07/15)
Reed defends work on behalf of Jack Abramoff (07/14)
Editorial: Mississippi Choctaws victims of own greed
Choctaws billed for meals at Abramoff restaurant (07/06)
asks DOJ to widen investigation of Abramoff (07/06)
Choctaws mum on donation to Christian Coalition (07/06)
Choctaw cash flowed freely to Ralph Reed for years
bashes Norquist for ripping off tribes (07/06)
Opinion: Tribes share blame for Abramoff scandal (7/4)
Abramoff gave free dinners to Congressmen (7/4)
Hayworth targeted for ties to Abramoff, DeLay (7/4)
Column: Abramoff defrauded Saginaw Chippewa Tribe (7/1)
Column: Abramoff defrauded Saginaw Chippewa Tribe (7/1)
Column: Ralph Reed worshipped casino god (7/1)
backs lottery proposal he fought in Alabama (7/1)
says e-mail response to Abramoff was a joke (6/30)
Editorial: Maybe Abramoff should be sent to jail (6/30)
Abramoff cut Ralph Reed off from Choctaw money (6/29)
Column: Kosher deli owner brought home the pork (6/29)
Tribe drops lobbyist who worked with Abramoff (6/28)
Hayworth downplays links to Abramoff scandal (6/28)
SagChip leader feels vindicated on Jack Abramoff (6/28)
Lobbying Report: Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
Choctaws hire three ex-Abramoff lobbyists (6/27)
Investigation links Reed, Norquist to Abramoff (6/27)
Column: E-mail trail shows how to scam tribes (6/27)
player takes center stage in Abramoff scandal (6/27)
Political Play of the Week: Senate lifeguard (6/27)
Opinion: Ralph Reed helps launder tribal money (6/27)
Tribes lobby to fleece their own people (6/24)
Choctaws hire lobbyist accused in Abramoff fraud (6/24)
Editorial: Reed lied about taking money from Choctaws
Opinion: Reed didn't lie, he just followed the law
Reed pressed by rival to document tribal ties (6/24)
Column: Jack Abramoff's Choctaw Nation (6/24)
Column: No limits to Republican sleaze in Washington
Editorial: Washington in worst lobbying scandal ever
committee plans to issue lobbying report (6/23)
scrutiny, Choctaw tribe goes into hiding (6/23)
Mississippi Choctaws focus of Senate lobbying hearing
Column: Wasichus testify on lobbying scandal (6/23)
on Senate hearing into lobbying scandal (6/22)
Mississippi Choctaws at center of lobbying hearing
Coushatta Tribe gave millions to lobbyists, campaigns
Influence peddling on the rise in Washington (6/22)
Another hearing on Abramoff lobbying scandal (06/21)
House told DOI to pay attention to Abramoff (06/20)
Republican tied to Abramoff pushes anti-gaming bill
Opinion sought on GOP group's use of tribal funds (6/16)
target Ney for role in Abramoff scandal (6/16)
Public Integrity Section leads Abramoff probe (6/15)
activist won't testify at lobbying hearing (06/14)
Reed hasn't been hurt by Abramoff scandal (06/13)
Tribe feels 'betrayed' by Jack Abramoff (06/13)
Lawmaker under scrutiny for links to Abramoff (06/10)
Republican leader defends letter to Gale Norton (06/10)
hearing to focus on Norquist and Reed (06/09)
Opinion: Abramoff and Norquist like 'cat burglars'
leads to new concerns about lobbyists (05/26)
Bloomberg: Abramoff tribes gave $1.4M to Congress (5/19)
funds helped Abramoff's failed Jewish school (5/18)
Abramoff tribes gave $153K to Montana delegation (5/16)
Column: Tribal bucks went to Republican interests (5/13)
jury in Abramoff probe subpoenas Democrats (5/13)
Familiar problems aired at recognition hearing (05/12)
Column: Ney investigated for Abramoff donations (5/11)
Abramoff refused to appear at hearing on high fees
Abramoff lobbying scandal prompts look at rules (5/9)
Abramoff tied to yet another Congressional trip (5/9)
Abramoff scandal an issue in Georgia campaign (5/9)
Abramoff accused of double-dealing another client (5/6)
Coushatta tribal member went on DeLay golf outing (5/6)
Cole recuses himself in any probe of DeLay (5/5)
Loop Contest: Name that Washington scandal (5/4)
Abramoff based political activities on Jewish faith
paid by Abramoff said to violate ethics rules (5/4)
legislation seeks overhaul of lobbying regulations (5/4)
Congressional travel linked to Abramoff (5/3)
Abramoff breaks silence on lobbying scandal (5/2)
Abramoff a target in federal bank fraud probe (5/2)
won't touch lawmakers in probe of Abramoff (4/28)
signed onto bill after using tribe's luxury suite (4/28)
of anti-Abramoff Sag Chip leaders debated (4/28)
ties between Abramoff and DeLay detailed (4/27)
DeLay chief of staff lobbied for NIGA (4/26)
Giago: White lawyers growing fat off tribes (4/26)
Abramoff used credit card to pay for DeLay's airfare
Column: Good Indians or bad Indians? Hard to tell (4/25)
tribes gave to Abramoff ended up in Israel (4/25)
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe gave $25K to GOP tax group (4/25)
Editorial: Saginaw Chippewa feud needs to end (4/25)
McCain hopes for indictment of Abramoff (4/22)
Meskwakis gave $50K to group founded by Norton (4/22)
GOP group won't give records to McCain (4/22)
Abramoff and Scanlon 'still hounding' Sag Chips (4/22)
Coushatta Tribe sues Abramoff, Scanlon in state court
Abramoff defends lobbying work for tribal clients (4/22)
subpoenas GOP groups linked to Abramoff (4/21)
Morongo Band denies any ties to Abramoff scandal (4/21)
used skybox funded by Abramoff's tribes (4/21)
Democrats to introduce bill to address Abramoff (4/21)
Republicans offer ethics probe into DeLay (4/21)
Congressman tied to Abramoff failed to pay tribal tab
Hastert pays tab for fundraiser at Abramoff restaurant
Vitter, Hastert never paid Abramoff restaurant tab
denies wrongdoing over Abramoff funded trips (4/19)
Opinion: McCain right to probe fleecing of tribes (4/19)
papers certified against anti-Abramoff leaders (4/19)
FBI to depose ex-associate of Abramoff's (4/18)
Texas tribes denies knowing Abramoff (4/18)
to Abramoff an issue for Ralph Reed campaign (4/18)
Opinion: Lobbying scandal cloaked in religion (4/18)
Burns: Support for Montana tribes is known (4/18)
Editorial: Burns should have said no to Abramoff (4/18)
asked again to investigate Abramoff (4/15)
DeLay's ties to Abramoff a focus of federal probe (4/13)
Opinion: Abramoff is DeLay's Monica Lewinsky (4/13)
the hell were you when we were poor?' (4/12)
Column: Treatment of tribes by lobbyists an outrage
Newsweek: Abramoff offered to expose DeLay, others
Assessment: The Abramoff/DeLay scandal (4/8)
Abramoff sold DeLay to desperate tribes (4/8)
Opinion: When ripping off Indians is acceptable (4/8)
rallies to DeLay's defense amid new reports (4/7)
Abramoff helped secure funding for 3rd DeLay trip (4/6)
says Michigan delegation backed school funds (04/04)
Editorial: Burns has chance to restore Indian funds
letter to Norton came after Abramoff sent checks (03/30)
Abramoff previously questioned over billing (03/30)
Reed says he too was 'deceived' by Abramoff (3/28)
sides fighting tribe have ties to Abramoff (03/25)
Column: Abramoff, Scanlon had help scamming tribes
Choctaw Band back in spotlight in Louisiana (03/22)
plans to finish hearings on lobbyist scandal (3/21)
Opinion: Ralph Reed did work for casinos, not the Lord
Coushatta Tribe hires law firm linked to DeLay (3/18)
Chairman: Montana tribes support Senator Burns (3/18)
Finance Committee investigates Abramoff (3/17)
won't say why he OKed Abramoff fundraiser (3/17)
denies wrongdoing on trip linked to tribe (3/16)
responsible for anti-tribal appropriations rider (3/16)
Hayworth predicts DeLay will weather ethics storm (3/15)
Column: Strange bedfellows in Abramoff scandal (3/15)
Editorial: Investigate overseas trip paid by Abramoff
fought casino opposed by Abramoff client (3/14)
gave $75K to group founded by Norton (3/14)
gambling firm funded DeLay's overseas trip (3/14)
Editorial: Facts don't look good for Senator Burns
investigates contacts with group started by Norton
denies helping Abramoff's former client (03/02)
Report: Former Norton organization subpoenaed (3/1)
gave $175K to group founded by Norton (2/28)
lobbying scandal hurts ex-Abramoff firm (02/17)
Tribe settles dispute over Abramoff fees (02/14)
Chip recall targets anti-Abramoff tribal leaders (2/11)
Editorial: Washington 'sharks' ate tribe for lunch
Donations funneled through Abramoff unaccounted (2/7)
Commentary: Tighten up lobbyist rules (01/18)
Commentary: Tribal lobbyist scandal is familiar tale
sought of Congressman linked to lobbyists (01/07)
Editorial: 'Shameful' dealings of Washington lobbyists
Abramoff and Scanlon scandal won't go away (12/20)
Editorial: Ney's judgment 'clouded' by Abramoff (12/20)
meet with ethics panel over Abramoff ties (12/16)
Congressman subject of inquiry for Abramoff ties (12/15)
Lobbyists say Abramoff probe has run its course (12/13)
Congressman questioned during lobbyist probe (12/10)
Editorial: Ney not exactly a victim in Tigua case
Abramoff 'totally in bed' with anti-gaming forces
eyes reform of lobbying disclosure laws (11/24)
freezing Abramoff's assets lifted in lawsuit (11/24)
Mississippi Choctaw lawyer referred Abramoff (11/22)
Ney chief of staff worked with Abramoff (11/19)
High-priced lobbyist scam linked to lawmakers (11/18)
Coushatta Tribe sues ex-lobbyists for $32M (11/17)
Tribe to testify at Senate lobbying hearing (11/16)
Abramoff's assets frozen in employee case (11/15)
'conned' by group opposing tribe (11/12)
critic of McCain received tribal donations (11/08)
Author: Abramoff, Scanlon likely to be indicted (10/28)
Senate panel asks Coushatta Tribe for tapes (10/27)
Reed paid $4.1M to oppose tribes (10/26)
more lawyers linked to lobbyist scandal (10/21)
Chat: Abramoff 'close friend' of DeLay (10/20)
Christian Coalition still after Poarch Creeks (10/19)
Congressman denies knowing of tribe's backing (10/18)
Opinion: Lobbyist scandal goes all the way to Bush
Congressman's anti-gaming push backed by tribe (10/15)
Tribe mum on Washington lobbyists (10/12)
Resources asked to investigate lobbyists (10/8)
Another tribe considers lawsuit against lobbyists (10/7)
rebuked yet again for flaunting influence (10/7)
Coushatta Tribe to sue lobbyists for $32M (10/4)
Lobbyist scandal reaches to top levels of GOP (10/4)
Choctaw Tribe's lobbying documents kept secret (10/4)
Documents detail lobbyists' role in tribal elections
Tom DeLay allowed tribes to be 'slickered' (10/4)
leader says lobbyists' high fees not worth it (10/1)
AG asked to investigate Abramoff, Scanlon (10/1)
rebuked for trading influence on House floor (10/1)
Ex-tribal lobbyists slammed in Senate hearing (9/30)
Abramoff mum at hearing while Scanlon a no-show (9/30)
Column: Lobbyists lurked in 'cesspool of greed' (9/30)
Washington lobbyists called before Senate panel (9/29)
Editorial: Send lobbyist hogs to the slaughterhouse
Tribe outraged over being played as 'moronic' (9/28)
told to donate to lobbyists' foundation (9/28)
Editorial: Actions of tribal lobbyists 'loathsome'
Lobbyists worked for, against 'moronic' Tiguas (9/27)
opposing Poarch Creeks tied to tribal lobbyists (09/16)
Coushattas used lobbyists to spy on tribes, critics
strategist now knows source of tribal funds (09/01)
strategist claims no knowledge of funds (8/31)
Bush-GOP strategist admits taking tribal money (8/30)
hearing on tribal lobbying probe set (8/26)
Coushatta member threatened over recall effort (08/09)
Coushatta Tribe's lobbying records subpoenaed (07/23)
Hearing on high lobbying fees expected in September
strategist denies secretly taking tribal money (7/15)
money secretly funneled to GOP strategist (06/25)
Indian Affairs Committee hits snag on big issues (06/17)
Affairs Committee activity this week (6/15)
Saginaw Chippewa leader who paid lobbyists ousted
Country awaits outcome of lobbying probe (05/18)
chairman says $120K fee to Abramoff worth it (05/18)
Republican governors report biggest donor in 2002
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe wonders where $14M went (04/20)
McCain demands documents from lobbyist, PR exec (04/12)
Coushatta treasurer accuses NIGC of lax oversight
Choctaw chief Martin defends embattled GOP lobbyist
McCain pushing Choctaw tribe to cooperate with probe
Coushatta leaders used tribal money to pay lobbyists
Coushatta Tribe paid $32M to lobbyist Jack Abramoff
McCain aggressive in pursuing lobbyist records (4/5)
McCain demands documents for tribal lobbyist's work
Embattled lobbyist signs deal with another firm (03/25)
Embattled tribal lobbyist gave to Conn. Congressman
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe hires new lobbying firm (3/9)
McCain begins investigation into high tribal fees (3/4)
Pueblo governor says $1M fee to PR firm not worth it
McCain calls for investigation into tribal spending
Four tribes spent $45M on lobbying and PR firms (2/23)
GOP lobbyist scores big with tribes (04/03)
Embattled tribe gets new lobbyist (12/13)
END TO END EVIL: The Real
Wed Jan 4, 2006 22:54
(To get to embedded links, go to http://cherylsealreports.com/endtoendevil.html
Before the White House, its creepy pals in Congress, and its sell-out
cohorts in the media succeed in spinning the Abramoff scandal as a
"bipartisan" problem, a few irrefutable facts about Abramoff must driven
home. Like so many sleazebags in high places, Abramoff has so far escaped
the full public consequences of his despicable actions through a slick
little system of “trickle, spin, and deny.” Trickle, as in the media’s focus
on a few select aspects of the criminal’s “career.” Spin and deny, as in the
media allowing said criminal and his supporters to self-righteously spin off
or tearfully deny these minimized charges. This system worked for Tom Delay
for years! It is only when the evil deeds are laid out end to end that the
real picture is allowed to come into focus for the public and hit home with
the force it should.
Putting together the whole picture is much more difficult than it should be,
however. The mainstream media and its “subdomains” – the blowhard rightwing
talkshow hosts like Chris Matthews and Brit Hume and phony “foundations”
like the American Enterprise Institute and Heritage Foundation – are
dedicated to making sure that their “golden boys” are screened from scrutiny
and their lies promoted. Thus the coverage of NeoCon criminals is inevitably
heavy on the White House propaganda and light on the chronology of facts. I
had to search through several sources that included both political blogs and
newspapers that still believe in real reporting (Miami Herald, Texas
Observer, etc.) to put together the basic facets of the Abramoff case in one
place so that they could be laid end to end. And even still, I sense there
are still holes in the chronology large enough to drive Reggie the Rig (the
GOP’s mascot 18-wheeler) through.
But here’s a crash course – “Abramoff 101,” if you will.
Looking at the assembled "pieces," the Abramoff scandal can be divided into
five main categories, each being an aspect of this multifaceted and truly
evil slimebag. Here they are:
1. Abramoff the traitor. As the generic definition of treason is "an effort
to undermine a nation's government," then we can safely assign to Jack
Abramoff (forthwith JA) his premier title: TRAITOR. Since the early 1980s,
JA's primary agenda has been to turn the US government into a one-party
system - ie., a rightwing dictatorship. In short, JA has sought to overturn
the US government as we know it in order to insure the financial goals of
himself and other NeoCons. Here's an Abramoff quote from the 1983 College
Republican "manifesto": “It is not our job to seek peaceful coexistence with
the Left. Our job is to remove them from power permanently”:
While head of the College Republicans (1981-1985), JA turned this
organization into a sort of neo-brown shirt outfit, cranking out
mean-spirited, unscrupulous powermongers like Karl Rove. The organization
was not just mean-spirited, it was corrupt. Years after leaving the position
as top dog, Abramoff was raking in kick backs from the CR. In 2002, he
received about $10,000 for what was "officially" described as "accounting
and legal services." The group laundered hundreds of thousands of dollars to
itself through other organizations. The Seattle Times reported "Some of the
most prolific donors said they were unaware they had been giving so much
money to the group because the fund-raising letters often came under the
names of other official-sounding organizations, such as "Republican
Headquarters 2004," and led some to believe the money was going to Bush's
re-election campaign." Instead, most of the funds went back to a
money-laundering outfit called Response Dynamics Inc. (RDI).
The goal of all of these intrigues, of course, was to fuel the takeover of
the US government at all levels, from the White House to the House of
Representatives with rightwing Republicans. There was no "ideology"
involved, except as a surface "hook" to reel in the clueless. The only
objective was POWER, plain and simple. The issues tossed about by the "new
GOP" - issues like "family values," "democracy," and "fiscal responsibility"
- were simply phony "promos." lThey were thrown out like bait, just like the
plasma TVs or stereo systems offered to lure the gullible to signing onto a
rip-off timeshare scheme.
Those who say that Abramoff was an "equal opportunity, bipartisan" crook
with no such agenda are just as dishonest and intentionally misleading as JA
himself. JA has had a partisan agenda from day one. Media Matters reports
that "a search of the Center for Responsive Politics database of campaign
contributions did not find any contributions from Abramoff to Democrats or
Democratic leadership political action committees." Abramoff may have
peddled his influence to a few corrupt blue-dog Democrats, but he had no
intention of furthering the Democratic party in any way, shape or form.
2 Abramoff the White Supremacist:
JA was one of the driving forces in shoving the GOP further to the right,
and in a direction that can only be described as a "neo-confederate" mind
set. In the 1980s, Abramoff had close relationships with South Africa's
aparthied government, even taking funding for an anti-Communist movie
project from the fascist South African army. In addition, Abramoff treated
native Americans with cold contempt - ripping them off as cynically as any
"Indian hater" of the 19th century. Not only did Abramoff steal tens of
millions from six different tribes while he purported to be helping them
lobby for casinos, he actually took money from one Texas tribe as a
pro-casino lobbyist while sucking up millions more from another tribe in LA
that was lobbying against the TX tribe's efforts. Seems like the only thing
JA DIDN'T try was install smallpox-infected slots (as a 21st century version
of blankets) on reservations.
In addition, Abramoff ran sweatshops in the Marianas Islands, in which
native workers were outrageously exploited. Activist writer Geoff Parrish
described this nightmare: "Conditions in the Marianas' sweatshops are
horrific. Women are lured from China, Thailand, the Philippines, Bangladesh,
and other Asian countries--often with the promise of living and working in
the United States. Once they reached Saipan, the main island in the Northern
Marianas chain, workers found themselves toiling eight hours a day for $3 an
hour, then being forced to "donate" an additional four hours each day
(reducing the gross pay to $2 an hour). In off hours the workers were not
allowed to leave a crowded housing compound patrolled by armed guards. The
Women were forced to live 20 per room, eat poor-quality food, and were
charged by the company for housing and food through further reductions in
their pay. Women were not allowed to date or marry, and pregnant women were
forced to have abortions. Those who broke the rules were beaten."
Guess who insured that Abramoff's slave labor camps would be exempt from any
regulation? G.W. Bush . Oh, yes – his aid bought and paid for by Abramoff.
Of course, Bush is allowing the same slave labor system to prevail in Iraq
and Afghanistan now, too.
3. "Casino Jack" the Mob Crime Boss: Abramoff was able to buy the SunCruz
casino fleet in 2000 through fraudulent means. The Miami Herald reported how
JA paid GOP Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio (you know - the state that fixed the 2004
presidential election) to smear the original owner in high places: " Ney
placed critical remarks of former SunCruz owner Konstantinos ''Gus'' Boulis
in the Congressional Record in 2000. He called Boulis a ''bad apple'' and
praised [Abramoff right-hand man] Kidan as a businessman with a ``renowned
reputation for honesty and integrity.'' " The Herald continues, "After the
SunCruz sale, according to law-enforcement sources, Abramoff and Kidan
approved contributing $10,000 in SunCruz money -- on behalf of Ney -- to a
national campaign fund to help elect Republicans to Congress. Prosecutors in
Washington and South Florida believe that the partners donated the SunCruz
money in Ney's name as an illegal payback for his critical comments of
Boulis." Once Abramoff had control of the SunCruz fleet, he proceeded to
defraud the company of tens of millions of dollars in money-laundering and
There is direct - but currently totally covered-up - evidence linking
"Casino Jack" to the murder Boulis in 2001. Boulis was killed by Mafia hit
man 'Big Tony' Moscatiello and two other mobsters, Anthony Ferrari and James
Fiorillo. Moscatiello, his daughter, and Ferrari, cashed, between them,
$240,000 in payments from Abramoff's Casino, paid out for no discernible
reason. Of course, only a few bloggers like Mad Cow have put all these nasty
facts end to end in their real succession.
4. Abramoff as White House Puppeteer:
Records from JA's own firm reveal that JA began working on cultivating his
power base with Bush as early as 1997. JA and his assorted "interests"
directly paid out tens of thousands to Bush and the GOP in campaign
contributions. As a Bush "Pioneer," JA personally raised $100,000 for Bush's
2000 campaign. USA Today reports, "In President Bush's first 10 months, 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 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."
Oh, but it gets worse.
JA planted his own "eyes and ears" in the White House. In 2001, Sue Bonzon
Ralston became Special Assistant to the President & Assistant to the Senior
Advisor Karl Rove. According to Ralston's bio, "Ms. Ralston assists Mr. Rove
in overseeing the strategic planning, political affairs, public liaison, and
intergovernmental affairs efforts of the White House." What makes Ralston
particularly despicable is that although she herself is a Philippine
American, she has assisted JA in insuring that conditions for workers in the
Marianas Islands, many of them Philipinne women, remain abysmal and
exploitive. But Ralston is swimming in White House crap up to her eyebrows.
The New York Times reports, "It was Ms. Ralston who patched through a phone
call from Matt Cooper, the reporter for Time magazine, to Mr. Rove on the
day in July 2003 that they discussed Mrs. Wilson, then known by her maiden
name, Valerie Plame. And Ms. Ralston, while in Mr. Abramoff’s employ,
drafted a memorandum about his suites at local arenas, which he used to
entertain clients and public officials who have since gotten in trouble for
accepting his favors."
5. Abramoff as GOP Money Launderer: First and foremost, JA is the GOP's
chief money launderer and influence buyer. This should not be "breaking
news," as the networks this week are spinning the story. As Lou Dubose of
the "Texas Observer" points out, since the JA story first broke, "the media
has focused on the stunning $82 million Abramoff and Scanlon billed six
tribes for lobbying and public relations work. Far less attention has been
paid to the political contributions, by Abramoff’s account $10 million, made
by the six tribes. That piece of the story involves the K Street Project,
which moves the money of corporate lobbyists and their clients into the
accounts of Republican candidates, PACs, and issue advocacy groups." If to
this you add the cumulative amount of GOP-driven legislation "purchased" by
lobbyists with money funneled through Abramoff and power funneled through
the White House, the net "benefit" to the GOP is staggering.
So as you listen to the mainstream media's version of the Abramoff tale in
the coming days, you may find yourself stunned by just how few questions -
and answers - are forthcoming.
Abramoff and al-Arian:
Lobbyist's "Charity" a Front for Terrorism
by Juan Cole, a Professor of History at the University of Michigan
Dean: White House Must Tell
the Truth About Abramoff Ties
Just click "search" for more information on Jack Abramoff:
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