Tuesday, December 20, 2005

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And you thought Heidi Fleiss' little black book was bad

If this Anne Kornblut story in the New York Times is true, then there are a lot of people inside the beltway who are going to be feeling very, very nauseous for the next few weeks:

Jack Abramoff, the Republican lobbyist under criminal investigation, has been discussing with prosecutors a deal that would grant him a reduced sentence in exchange for testimony against former political and business associates, people with detailed knowledge of the case say.

Mr. Abramoff is believed to have extensive knowledge of what prosecutors suspect is a wider pattern of corruption among lawmakers and Congressional staff members. One participant in the case who insisted on anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations described him as a "unique resource."

Other people involved in the case or who have been officially briefed on it said the talks had reached a tense phase, with each side mindful of the date Jan. 9, when Mr. Abramoff is scheduled to stand trial in Miami in a separate prosecution.

What began as a limited inquiry into $82 million of Indian casino lobbying by Mr. Abramoff and his closest partner, Michael Scanlon, has broadened into a far-reaching corruption investigation of mainly Republican lawmakers and aides suspected of accepting favors in exchange for legislative work.

posted by Dan on 12.20.05 at 10:06 PM


Bring it on.

posted by: Brock on 12.20.05 at 10:06 PM [permalink]

As Mark Kleiman suggests, it's hard to think that the prosecutors would be willing to ease up on Just Plain Jack unless they thought he could reel in a lot of other very big fish. In this connection, one of his lunch partners swore that a year or so ago Abramoff waxed indignant about Tom DeLay's affirmations of innocence, and told him that he'd kept all the E-mails confirming DeLay's full knowledge of what Abramoff was doing.

(For today's MDA of Abramoff Scandal, see http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10547524/ -- in which the guy has now managed to entangle the Superior Court of Guam. At this point I wouldn't be surprised to learn that he was connected to Abraham Lincoln's murder.)

posted by: Bruce Moomaw on 12.20.05 at 10:06 PM [permalink]

Abramoff and mini-me, Scanlon, appear to be guilty of the most blatant political corruption to soil Washington this decade. Burn in Hell boys. They'll be taking down a few other prominent names--e.g. Ralph Reed, who apparently conned/bought off Christian groups to oppose gambling casinos of competing (non-contributing) Indian tribes.

Hope the Feds brought their BIG shovels.

posted by: Kelli on 12.20.05 at 10:06 PM [permalink]

Amusing that the article refers to him as a "Republican lobbyist" and only mentions his bribery of Republicans. Did I not just see the other day that Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) returned $18,892 from Abramoff (including $1,892 estimated to pay for a previously unreported use of Abramoff's skybox at the MCI Center), and Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) return $67,000? Of course, Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) and Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT) returned their own contributions ($150,000 and around $20,000, respectively.)

He certainly seems to have had his fingers in a lot of pies.

posted by: John Thacker on 12.20.05 at 10:06 PM [permalink]


I noticed the same thing (although the article says "...mainly Republican lawmakers..."). Seems to me the only purpose of the last comment was to promote a certain stereotype (which is okay as long as the stereotype is not pointed to a 'persecuted' segment of society).

posted by: dylan on 12.20.05 at 10:06 PM [permalink]

This is great fun. It would be better if some sex was involved. We haven't had a Congressional sex scandal for a long time, and those are my favorite.

posted by: Tom Holsinger on 12.20.05 at 10:06 PM [permalink]

The other possibility, of course, is that the reporter is simply, well, reporting.

After all, the story says that the subjects of the investigation are "mainly Republican lawmakers."

Desite the attempt to confuse the issue being orchestrated by some Republican operatives, it is actually possible for lawmakers to accept donations - and even the ocassional gift - without engaging in any quid pro quos or the kind of systematic corruption some suspect of "the Hammer." Indeed, I would bet money that most Republican lawmakers who accepted money or gfts from Abramoff won't face criminal charges either... that the majority of people with some sort of financial tie to Abramoff didn't enageg in any legal misconduct.

posted by: Dan Nexon on 12.20.05 at 10:06 PM [permalink]

Its not surprising that Republican lawmakers are likely to be getting more payola simply because they have been in power in Washington. The party that has the power gets the money. And the fact is that the subjects of the investigation are primarily Republican lawmakers (for now, at least). Still, I suppose its a sign of the evil left-wing media to point this out ..

posted by: erg on 12.20.05 at 10:06 PM [permalink]

Democrats and Republicans have 'shared' in Abramoff's exploits in the same way, say The Yankees and The Cardinals have 'shared' World series titles over the last century. I have no doubt that the prospect of Abramoff spilling beans has a few Democrats and affiliates shaking in their sandals, but I feel pretty safe betting my lunch money that if the crap hits the fan, we'll see alot more R's knee-deep in it than D's.

This hardly attributable to just the fact the GOP is 'in power' right now as opposed to Democrats. As countless pieces demonstrate, Jack Abramoff is a rather infamous conservative/GOP activist and supporter, who's efforts over the last 15 years have largely been spent towards getting the GOP 'in power' to begin with.

posted by: Dustin R. Ridgeway on 12.20.05 at 10:06 PM [permalink]

The "Dems did it too" response kinda falls flat when you consider Delay's intentional pressuring of K Street lobbying firms to bind them to the GOP by hiring only GOP-linked staff.

Any corruption by Abramoff-linked Democrats certainly ought to be prosecuted, but the fact is, Abramoff was overwhelmingly engaged with Republicans.

I'd bet the dollar values are much higher on the GOP side, and that no Democrats were taken on the junkets to play golf in Scotland, etc.

posted by: Jon H on 12.20.05 at 10:06 PM [permalink]

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posted by: Phill on 12.20.05 at 10:06 PM [permalink]

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posted by: Xanax on 12.20.05 at 10:06 PM [permalink]

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