WP: Abramoff, DeLay and eLottery

This article is a fascinating x-ray chart of not only how lobbyists work but how Washington does and, in particular, the “bringing back dignity and integrity” crowd in the Republican party and the private sector work. The story is classic Republican on Republican violence complete with revolving-door political operators, cynical religious right leaders, and even an evangelical moneylaundering shell group run by a guy serving seven years, currently, for soliciting sex with minors on the internet. This is a must read for folks who want to know how the sausage is made (and where it’s hidden).


And lest we forget the true caliber of the Republican Congressional leadership, one of the principals in the casino deal for which Abramoff faces fraud charges was murdered gangland-style.

Kay: Senators and presidents don’t have men killed!

Michael: Who’s being naive Kay?


More on Ralph Reed and Abramoff along with Rove.

Yet more on how Abramoff, and the Republican lobbyist-politician caste, does business:

Consider one memo highlighted in a Capitol Hill hearing Wednesday that Scanlon, a former aide to Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, sent the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana to describe his strategy for protecting the tribe’s gambling business. In plain terms, Scanlon confessed the source code of recent Republican electoral victories: target religious conservatives, distract everyone else, and then railroad through complex initiatives.

“The wackos get their information through the Christian right, Christian radio, mail, the internet and telephone trees,” Scanlon wrote in the memo, which was read into the public record at a hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. “Simply put, we want to bring out the wackos to vote against something and make sure the rest of the public lets the whole thing slip past them.” The brilliance of this strategy was twofold: Not only would most voters not know about an initiative to protect Coushatta gambling revenues, but religious “wackos” could be tricked into supporting gambling at the Coushatta casino even as they thought they were opposing it.

WASHINGTON - Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio has been subpoenaed by the Justice Department to provide documents related to the government’s investigation of indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, Ney’s office said Friday.


WASHINGTON, Nov. 19 - The Justice Department has signaled for the first time in recent weeks that prominent members of Congress could be swept up in the corruption investigation of Jack Abramoff, the former Republican superlobbyist who diverted some of his tens of millions of dollars in fees to provide lavish travel, meals and campaign contributions to the lawmakers whose help he needed most.

The investigation by a federal grand jury, which began more than a year ago, has created alarm on Capitol Hill, especially with the announcement Friday of criminal charges against Michael Scanlon, Mr. Abramoff’s former lobbying partner and a former top House aide to Representative Tom DeLay.

The charges against Mr. Scanlon identified no lawmakers by name, but a summary of the case released by the Justice Department accused him of being part of a broad conspiracy to provide “things of value, including money, meals, trips and entertainment to federal public officials in return for agreements to perform official acts” - an attempt at bribery, in other words, or something close to it.

Scholars who specialize in the history and operations of Congress say that given the brazenness of Mr. Abramoff’s lobbying efforts, as measured by the huge fees he charged clients and the extravagant gifts he showered on friends on Capitol Hill, almost all of them Republicans, the investigation could end up costing several lawmakers their careers, if not their freedom.

The investigation threatens to ensnarl many outside Congress as well, including Interior Department officials and others in the Bush administration who were courted by Mr. Abramoff on behalf of the Indian tribe casinos that were his most lucrative clients.

The inquiry has already reached into the White House; a White House budget official, David H. Safavian, resigned only days before his arrest in September on charges of lying to investigators about his business ties to Mr. Abramoff, a former lobbying partner.

“I think this has the potential to be the biggest scandal in Congress in over a century,” said Thomas E. Mann, a Congressional specialist at the Brookings Institution. “I’ve been around Washington for 35 years, watching Congress, and I’ve never seen anything approaching Abramoff for cynicism and chutzpah in proposing quid pro quos to members of Congress.”

Scanlon pleads guilty in plea bargain where he promises to cooperate with investigation:

(Ahead of Brian?)

Argh! I done been out-Ruckered by antlers!

Philadelphia, Pa.: First, thanks for hosting – these political discussions are addicting …

Wow, someone in the Abramoff Lobbying Scandal grew a pair and owned up to the unethical activities in which he was involved – did the Earth move at that moment? Seriously, is this plea bargain the beginning of a domino-like effect on all of these guys, Tom DeLay included?

Tom Edsall: Good morning, there is a lot going on so let’s get started.

The decision of Mike Scanlon to cooperate with prosecutors is a major break in the case. He was a central player and a first-hand witness to much of what took place. Bloomberg News Service this morning has an interesting story noting that Scanlon’s ability to testify about what was said to members of Congress and what the members agreed to offers a way for the prosecutors to get over a major stumbling block in cases involving members of the House and Senate: the “speech and debate” clause of the constitution which protects members from being criminally charged for legislative acts and floor speeches. The protection is important to make sure the executive branch does not try to use the law to criminally charge political opponents, but it also makes it very hard to try congressmen for bribery.