The Most Corrupt Lobbyist Ever?
Posted on Jun 25, 2006
That’s what Truthdig has to wonder in light of newly released files detailing how Jack Abramoff funneled clients’ funds through nonprofit organizations, or others that show how Abramoff effectively charged people $100,000 for face time with President Bush or Karl Rove.
Newly released documents in the Jack Abramoff investigation shed light on how the lobbyist secretly routed his clients’ funds through tax-exempt organizations with the acquiescence of those in charge, including prominent conservative activist Grover Norquist.
The federal probe has brought a string of bribery-related charges and plea deals. The possible misuse of tax-exempt groups is also receiving investigators’ attention, sources familiar with the matter said.
Among the organizations used by Abramoff was Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform. According to an investigative report on Abramoff’s lobbying released last week by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Americans for Tax Reform served as a “conduit” for funds that flowed from Abramoff’s clients to surreptitiously finance grass-roots lobbying campaigns. As the money passed through, Norquist’s organization kept a small cut, e-mails show.
Wanted: Face time with President Bush or top adviser Karl Rove. Suggested donation: $100,000. The middleman: lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Blunt e-mails that connect money and access in Washington show that prominent Republican activist Grover Norquist facilitated some administration contacts for Abramoff’s clients while the lobbyist simultaneously solicited those clients for large donations to Norquist’s tax-exempt group.
Those who were solicited or landed administration introductions included foreign figures and American Indian tribes, according to e-mails gathered by Senate investigators and federal prosecutors or obtained independently by The Associated Press.
“Can the tribes contribute $100,000 for the effort to bring state legislatures and those tribal leaders who have passed Bush resolutions to Washington?” Norquist wrote Abramoff in one such e-mail in July 2002.