Jack Abramoff is a loyal GOP supporter to whom Congressman Tom DeLay once referred as one of his “closest and dearest friends.” He’s achieved the status of “Bush Pioneer,” having raised more than $100,000 for the Bush 2004 reelection campaign. He’s also filled the coffers of GOP congressional candidates.
Abramoff has been a good friend to the GOP. But as the list of bad deeds and dirty connections grows by the day, watchers are worrying that this friendship is incompatible with a healthy democracy.
The list of charges and accusations is long enough to warrant a website devoted just to observing Abramoff’s complicated dealings. The most recent scandal involving Abramoff broke on Nov. 9, 2005, when Philip Shenon reported for The New York Times that President Bush’s meeting with Omar Bongo of Gabon (accused by the United States of human rights abuses) on May 26, 2004, was directly linked to a $9-million fee collected by GrassRoots Interactive, a Maryland lobbying firm that Abramoff’s former colleagues say he controlled.
Truthdig is working on connecting the dots on Abramoff’s alleged web of corruption. Please check in for regular updates and improved resources.
Abramoff Reached Beyond the Limits
Jan. 04, 2006 | The Los Angeles Times chronicles Abramoff’s early years, stretching as far back as 1972, when, in his high school’s race for student council president, Abramoff was disqualified for exceeding an election spending cap. more
Abramoff Pleads Guity To Second Set of Fraud Charges
Jan. 04, 2006 | “Once-powerful lobbyist Jack Abramoff completed the second half of his plea deal with the government Wednesday by admitting to conspiracy and wire fraud charges stemming from his 2000 purchase of a gambling boat fleet,” the Associated Press reports.
Abramoff Pleads Guilty, Will Make Deal
Jan. 3, 2006 | Abramoff pleads guilty to federal charges of conspiracy, tax evasion and mail fraud, agreeing to cooperate in a corruption investigation that could rock the Republican Congressional leadersip. more
Lobbyist Nears Terms on Plea Deal
Dec. 22, 2005 | Anne E. Kornblut reported for The New York Times: “Jack Abramoff, the Republican lobbyist under indictment for fraud in South Florida, is expected to complete a plea agreement in the Miami criminal case, setting the stage for him to become a crucial witness in a broad federal corruption investigation, people with direct knowledge of the case said.” more
Lobbyist’s Ex-Associate Pleads Guilty to Fraud
Dec. 16, 2005 | John-Thor Dahlburg of the L.A. Times wrote: ” A former business associate of Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty Thursday to fraud and conspiracy charges related to a deal to buy a fleet of Florida-based gambling boats, the latest twist in a federal inquiry that has reached to Congress.” more
President Says DeLay Is Not Guilty of Money Laundering
Dec. 15, 2005 | Jim VandeHei reported for the Washington Post; “President Bush said yesterday he is confident that former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) is innocent of money-laundering charges, as he offered strong support for several top Republicans who have been battered by investigations or by rumors of fading clout inside the White House.” more
Plea Deal Near With 2nd Abramoff Associate: Kidan Has Agreed to Cooperate in Probes
Dec. 9, 2005 | Susan Schmidt and James V. Grimaldi of the Washington Post reported: “Federal prosecutors have all but finalized a plea agreement with a second business partner of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff in exchange for cooperation in the ongoing criminal investigations of Abramoff, congressional aides and Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio), lawyers in the case said yesterday.” more
Records Show Burns’ Abramoff Meetings
Dec. 7, 2005 | The Associated Press reported: “Sen. Conrad Burns and his staff met Jack Abramoff’s lobbying team on at least eight occasions and collected $12,000 in donations around the time that the lawmaker took legislative action favorable to Abramoff’s clients in the Northern Mariana Islands, records show.” more
In a Season of Scandals, Ethics Panels Are on Sidelines
Dec. 5, 2005 | Jeffrey H. Birnbaum of the Washington Post reported: “The House ethics committee, the panel responsible for upholding the chamber’s ethics code, has been virtually moribund for the past year, handling only routine business despite a wave of federal investigations into close and potentially illegal relationships between lawmakers and lobbyists.” more
Doolittle and Abramoff Connections
Dec. 2, 2005| The Sacramento Bee reported: “The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post have reported that investigators and prosecutors in the U.S. Justice Department’s public integrity and fraud divisions are looking into disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s dealings with four lawmakers. One of them is Rep. John Doolittle, a Republican from Rocklin, Calif. (The others are former House Majority Leader DeLay, Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, and Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont.)” more
Lobbyist’s Role in Hiring Aides Is Investigated
Dec. 2, 2005 | Anne Kornblum reported for The New York Times: “With a federal corruption case intensifying, prosecutors investigating Jack Abramoff, the Republican lobbyist, are examining whether he brokered lucrative jobs for Congressional aides at powerful lobbying firms in exchange for legislative favors, people involved in the case have said.” more
The Plot Thickens
Nov. 28, 2005 | Karen Tumulty and Massimo Clabresi of CNN report: “How far will it go? That’s what many nervous officials in Washington are wondering as they brace for what is showing signs of becoming the biggest influence-peddling scandal in decades. An investigation that began nearly two years ago into whether lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his associate Michael Scanlon bilked six Indian tribes out of $80 million now looks as though it could touch dozens of lawmakers, their current and former staff members and Bush Administration officials.” more
Under Scrutiny in Probe of Lobbyist
Nov. 26, 2005 | Ney, Delay and the Abramoff connection. Susan Schmidt and James V. Grimaldi of The Washington Post report: “The Justice Department’s wide-ranging investigation of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff has entered a highly active phase as prosecutors are beginning to move on evidence pointing to possible corruption in Congress and executive branch agencies, lawyers involved in the case said.” more
Questions on Campaign Fundraising
Nov. 25, 2005 | Carl Hulse of The New York Times writes: “The American system of underwriting political campaigns is often derided as legalized bribery. Now the Justice Department is contending that it can amount to illegal bribery as well.” more
Lawmakers Who Wrote Letters, Got Money
Nov. 17, 2005 | The Associated Press reported: “The 33 lawmakers who wrote letters urging the Bush administration to reject a Louisiana Indian casino as they collected political money from rival tribes, their lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his associates between 2001 and 2004.” See the list
Lobbyist Sought $9 Million to Set Bush Meeting
Nov. 11, 2005 | Philip Shenon of The New York Times reported: “The lobbyist Jack Abramoff asked for $9 million in 2003 from the president of a West African nation to arrange a meeting with President Bush and directed his fees to a Maryland company now under federal scrutiny, according to newly disclosed documents.” more
Abramoff Indicted in Casino Boat Purchase
Aug. 12, 2005| James V. Grimaldi reports for The Washington Post: “Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff and a business partner were indicted by a federal grand jury in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday, charged with five counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy in their purchase of a fleet of Florida gambling boats from a businessman who was later killed in a gangland-style hit….” more
Controversial lobbyist had close contact with Bush team
May 6, 2005 | The Associated Press reported: “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, records show….The records from Abramoff’s firm, obtained by The Associated Press from the Marianas under an open records request, chronicle Abramoff’s careful cultivation of relations with Bush’s political team as far back as 1997.” more
Jack Abramoff: The friend Tom DeLay can’t shake
April 7, 2005| James Harding writes for Slate: “Where to begin examining the extraordinary career of Jack Abramoff? His work trying to secure a visa for the great Zairian kleptocrat Mobutu Sese Seko, perhaps, or the bilking of an estimated $66 million out of Native American tribes, clients he described as “monkeys,” “troglodytes,” and “idiots”? Or his leadership of a 1980s think tank financed, unbeknownst to him apparently, by the intelligence arm of South Africa’s apartheid regime?” more
At $500 an Hour, Lobbyist’s Influence Rises With G.O.P.
April 3, 2002 | David E. Rosenbaum reported for The New York Times: ” In the last six months of 2001, the Coushatta Indians, a tribe with 800 members and a large casino in southwest Louisiana, paid $1.76 million to the law firm of Jack Abramoff, a Republican lobbyist here. Last month, the Bush administration handed the tribe a big victory by blocking construction of a casino by a rival tribe that would have drained off much of the Coushattas’ business.” more
Michael P.S. Scanlon Plea Agreement
Nov. 21, 2005| Plea Agreement (pdf): Pete Yost of the Associated Press reported: “Michael Scanlon, a former partner to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring to bribe public officials, a charge growing out of the government investigation of attempts to defraud Indian tribes and corrupt a member of Congress. Scanlon, a former aide to Rep. Tom DeLay, entered the plea before U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle and agreed to pay restitution totaling more than $19 million to the tribes. Scanlon, who is expected to cooperate in the investigation of Abramoff and members of Congress, could face up to five years in prison.” more
Adam R. Kidan and Jack A. Abramoff Indicted on Charges of Conspiracy and Wire Fraud
Aug. 11, 2005 | Press release: “R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Michael S. Clemens, Special Agent in Charge of the Miami Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced today the return of an Indictment by a federal grand jury sitting in Ft. Lauderdale charging defendants, Adam R. Kidan and Jack A. Abramoff, with Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud and Mail Fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, and five (5) counts of Wire Fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343. The Indictment also seeks criminal forfeiture in the approximate amount of $60 million. The statutory maximum penalty for each of the six (6) counts contained in the Indictment is five (5) years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.” more
Jack in the House
“JackintheHouse.org explores the world of GOP super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who spent years trading money for influence in the halls of Congress. The site provides a road map to Abramoff’s unscrupulous backdoor deals with ethically challenged members of Congress and provides a means for visitors to urge the chairman of the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct to take action against those who have worked for Jack’s interest, rather than the public interest.” JackintheHouse.org is a project of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).