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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Friends in Low Places

Jack Abramoff began his political career as a member of the College Republicans. It was the beginning of a career devoted to furthering the conservative movement at all costs. Today, this career has led to a scandal that reveals the corrupt nature of the Republican Party.

bramoff's work as a top Republican lobbyist led to three felony counts of conspiracy, mail fraud and tax evasion. There are multiple elements to this story, so let's break them down.


The Abramoff scandal is not a bipartisan scandal but is a Republican scandal. The corporate news media, partially because of the Right Wing Noise Machine and partially because of incompetence, has implicated both parties. The facts are otherwise. In fact, CNN stated today that the GOP claim that the scandal implicates both parties "does not seem substantiated by Federal Election Commission records."

Abramoff personally donated over $180,000 to political campaigns between 1998 and 2006. As this link and this link demonsrate, Abramoff gave 100% of these contributions to Republicans.

Some Democrats did, however, receive money from Abramoff's clients and associates. This doesn't mean that Abramoff donated to them. Indeed, the opposite is true. Abramoff defrauded his clients, many of which were Indian tribes. Native American tribes tend to support Democratic causes so it should not surprise anyone that they donated to Democrats. But these donations are not part of the scandal. It's the pay for play donations given exclusively to Republicans that form the heart of this scandal. Regardless, two thirds of the $4.4 million donated by Abramoff's associates went to Republicans. When you add in the 100% of his personal donations went to Republicans, this is clearly a Republican scandal.

Abramoff's personal memberships indicate his Republican beliefs. Abramoff personally led 3 organizations under the umbrella of the Heritage Foundation, a main player in the Vast Right Wing Conpsiracy. He was a member of the United Students of America foundation, a group dedicated to educating students on the need to defund political activism on campus and a group that funneled money to conservative causes.

Abramoff was an associate of many of Congress' top Republicans including Tom DeLay. He is a Republican powerhouse and there's no denying it.


George W. Bush was a direct beneficiary of Abramoff's crimes. In fact, their close relationship hints that Bush knew about the crimes but didn't care.

First, Abramoff donated $100,000 to Bush's re-election campaign, a donation that marked him as a "Pioneer". Despite words to the contrary, Bush has donated just $6,000 of the $100K figure to charity and has kept the rest of the tainted cash.

Second, Bush has felt it necessary to lie about his relationship with Abramoff. Bush's spokesperson originally claimed that Abramoff was not present at a May 9, 2001 meeting with the President. Time magazine, however, confirms that photographs prove Abramoff's attendance at the meeting.

In fact, Time magazine has viewed 5 photographs that show Bush and Abramoff together. Unfortunately these photos have not yet become public, but when they are you can count on seeing them adorn this blog on a daily basis.

Abramoff was admitted to the White House several times for meetings with top aides, including one with Bush's chief aide Karl Rove. Abramoff met with over 200 top administration officials. Grover Norquist, a Republican operative famous for admitting that "my goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub,"wrote in a letter that he would be honored if Abramoff joined him for a meeting at the White House.

Last week, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan refused to answer questions about Abramoff's meetings in the White House unless reporters had "something specific" to discuss. The emergence of the Time magazine article gave them "something specific" indeed. McClellan's response? He cancelled yesterday's daily White House press briefing.

The Right Wing Lie Machine has been working in overdrive to lie about the scandal, mislead reporters and cover its tracks. I won't let them. Abramoff's corruption was but an example of the pay-for-play model of governance that the Republicans abide by. Bush needs to answer for his dealings with this shady criminal. The Democrats must not let this issue die. The Republicans run this country like criminals and Abramoff's acts provide the smoking gun.

My question to Republicans is this: why do you continue to support massive criminality in government? Between Bush's illegal warrantless wiretaps and the illegal acts of a Republican lobbyist, it's clear that the GOP simply has no respect for the rule of law. As a future lawyer, I am outraged by the Republican Party's disrespect for the laws that make this nation great. Every other American citizen should agree.

Comments on ""


Blogger Snave said ... (1:03 PM) : 

This is indeed a problem for the Republicans. I believe such behavior within their party cuts into their ability to control the nation's political discourse. Thus, I think the Republicans will continue to support some people who are obviously in the wrong because the alternative would be to support the "immoral" Democrats, and to many conservatives, there could absolutely be nothing worse. The whole thing is about "values" and maintaining power, and the Democrats support concepts that make conservatives' blood boil... So Republican voters will hang on like bloody ticks, supporting corrupt leaders no matter what those leaders do. Why wouldn't they continue to vote Republican when their party, which portrays their version of morality, is pretty much in complete control?

In fairness, I believe this can be true on both sides of the political fence. I didn't approve of some of the things Clinton did while he was in office, but I continued to support the Democratic party and still do. I support the moral values expressed in the Democratic party platform, and always have. The GOP platform just doesn't cut it for me.

Like you, I find the current scandal(s) around Abramoff to be mainly a Republican problem. No Democrats have been fingered yet, some might eventually be named, who knows. But as long as Abramoff keeps talking, I feel confident he will be talking about Republicans accepting money and other goodies that they maybe had no business accepting.

Corporate media? I totally agree. I think the news media broadcasts what they think will sell, what will attract viewers, and what is in their own best interests to broadcast. If they get a helpful suggestion from the administration about what they should or shouldn't write or say, and their bottom line is making money (as it is in most businesses) why would they not obey? They want to stay in business and keep making money, after all. For the past ten years of so I have thought that the "liberal media" is a myth propagated for many years by the right wing in order to soften up the public to the point where they would believe the media actually IS liberal, and therefore something like FOX could be viewed as "fair and balanced". I think it would have been laughed off the air in 1980, but by the time it got going, the public had been conditioned to where it would believe the tripe FOX broadcasts.

I hope Time will get busy releasing those pictures of Bush and Abramoff together. It is obvious who Abramoff works for, by whom he is favored (the GOP), and that he is corrupt. I would imagine that the Republican leadership is sweating bullets about this whole business. If they aren't, maybe they should be!


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