Abramoff -- His Crimes and Connections to Public Figures... [List Edits]
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|Abramoff -- His Crimes and Connections to Public Figures...|
Edited on Fri Jan-02-09 08:01 AM by chat_noir
This new topic is awaiting edits. It was started by Peter Frank.
The Abramoff Scandal is Expanding: More GOP woes for 2009
Thu Jan 01, 2009 at 09:29:18 PM PST
For many the Jack Abramoff scandal is old news, ancient history and in the past. As the corrupt Bush Administration winds down many of his corrupt fellow travelers are hoping that the Abramoff scandal is dead and buried—and that their involvement will never bubble to the surface. These Corruptionists hope that the Abramoff scandal is over, but they are just whistling past the graveyard.
Quietly, the professionals at the Department of Justice have been working this massive scandal—that is complex by design—to build cases that move from the outer edges to the heart of political corruption in Washington DC. Abramoff is just a doorway in—not an endpoint—and prosecutors are zeroing in on some big fish in a corrupt stream.
June 9, 2008
McCover-Up: Abramoff & the GOP Money Machine
June 8, 2008
New Abramoff Plea is Trouble for McCain & the GOP
June 5, 2008
SENATOR McCOVER-UP: Abramoff & the GOP Foreign Money Machine
May 18, 2008
Trouble for McCain: Jack Abramoff, Charlie Black & the 1980s...
February 28, 2008
McCain: I Am Withholding Evidence to Protect Republicans
February 25, 2008
McCain shelters Repub buddies in Abramoff scandal
February 22, 2008
Jack Abramoff: John McCain’s other Lobbyist problem...
NOTE: Much of this material was first published by Dengre and Sherlock Google on DailyKOS, but it needed to be put into one long timeline to be comprehensible.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jack A. Abramoff (born February 28, 1958) is an American political lobbyist, a Republican political activist and businessman who is a central figure in a series of high-profile political scandals.
Abramoff pled guilty on January 3, 2006, to three criminal felony counts in a Washington, D.C., federal court related to the defrauding of American Indian tribes and corruption of public officials.<1> The following day, on January 4, he pled guilty to two criminal felony counts in a separate federal court, in Miami, related to his
fraudulent dealings with SunCruz Casinos.<2>
From http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/000784.php a copy of a picture introduced at a federal trial, and therefore public use.
From left to right, Neil Volz (former Ney aide, then Team Abramoff member), Ralph Reed, Paul Vinovich (Ney aide), Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH)
Background - The super-rich Tan Family from China acquired sweatshops, hotels, bars and golf courses in the Marianas, a US Territory in the South Pacific. Local officials looked the other way at labor violations and far worse. Workers are lured from foreign lands and then forced to work at menial labor for low wages with expenses taken out—and they are not allowed to leave. There are 42,000 foreign workers in the Marianas out of a population of 53,000.
Young women are forced into prostitution, really sex slavery, for the local sex tour industry for Asian businessmen. These women are called “Party Girls” and can be had for $70. When they inevitably become pregnant, they are forced to have abortions by their employers, often the Tan Family.
Because abortion on Saipan is illegal, most of the Chinese women have abortions at one of the Saipan clinics, which are disguised as acupuncture clinics, and clinics that offer massage and Chinese medicine. Two have been positively identified as abortion clinics (Wendy L. Doromal before the Senate's Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on March 31, 1998, Laura Myers, "Sen. Panel Hears of Marianas Abuses," Associated Press Online, 31 March 1998)
Charging the workers $7,000 to $10,000 for employment “fees”, they are forced into overtime and basically indentured servitude. Island sweatshops produce clothing and other goods worth $2 billion annually. Each item can be labeled “Made In The USA”, even though there are no minimum wage laws and workers cannot become US citizens. The Tan Family businesses together have more labor abuse violations that any other company in history. The Gap was the largest retailer making clothes in the Marianas, followed by Dayton-Hudson, May Department Stores, Wal-Mart and Jones Apparel, along with 13 other chains such as Nordstroms, J. Crew and The Limited.
Over the last decade, the Tan family and their companies have spent at least $200,000 on lobbying and contributions to Washington political campaigns. The Gap and Wal-Mart, for example, give campaign contributions to Congresspeople who protect their Marianas sweatshops, such as Rep. John Sweeney of New York. The Wal-Mart PAC alone gave Sweeney $13,500.
More significantly, the commonwealth government and Saipan business associations invested more than US$11.5 million between 1995 and 2002 to lobby in Washington against changes to the islands' status.
Following numerous smaller cases brought by the Labor Department and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) against other plants, officials in Clinton's administration proposed curtailing Saipan's legal exemptions. The drive foundered on opposition by congressional Republicans, who were extensively wined and dined by the Tans. A picture of family members with President George W Bush hangs above Tan's desk in Hong Kong.
John Sweeney, a College Republican, was hired right out of law school to be Executive Director and Chief Counsel of the New York State Republican Party. From there he was appointed by Gov. Pataki to be the New York State Commissioner of Labor from 1995 to 1997. He ran the next year for Congress. He currently receives contributions from more PACs than all of NY’s 29 other Representatives.
1994- Between 1994 and 2001, the Northern Mariana Islands paid $6.7 million to Jack Abramoff’s law firm, Preston Gates, for lobbying services.
1997 - Jack Abramoff arranges for lawmakers and aides to take trips to the Marianas and meet the local business leaders and be wined and dined by the Tans.
1998 - According to a 1998 investigation by the Department of Interior Office of Insular Affairs, a number of Chinese garment workers reported that if they became pregnant, they were "forced to return to China to have an abortion, or forced to have an illegal abortion" in the Marianas. These days, many pregnant workers still feel they have little choice but to visit one of Saipan's underground abortion clinics -- or else lose their jobs. (http://www.alternet.org/story/35458 /)
March 26, 1998 - "Beneath the American Flag: Labor and Human Rights Abuses in the CNMI," report by Congressman George Miller and Democratic Staff of the House Committee on Resources. Clinton Administration considers federal takeover of island labor and immigration.
1998-2004 – The FBI is now investigating what they call “The Wives Club”, in which corrupt GOP politicians let their wives and girlfriends with no previous experience take 10% to 15% of contributions off the top for “fund-raising”. Christine Delay, the wife of Tom Delay, received $115,000 in consulting fees from Ed Buckham’s Alexander Strategy Group for small task. Ed and Wendy Buckham pocketed over $1 million in fees from US Family Network charity, while Robert Abramoff, Jack’s brother, set up 100 phony companies and charities to launder money to make the Abramoffs rich, including Aenas Enterprises in CA. Abramoff meanwhile hired Julie Doolittle, with no previous experience, and gives her small tasks paid off with big money. Julie Doolitle also got 15% of any contributions to her husband’s Leadership Fund. Lisa Rudy, the wife of Delay aide Tom Rudy, was paid $50,000 for consulting in acknowledged corrupt scheme to influence votes of Delay. Rep. John Sweeney paid his fiancé and future wife Gayle, $42,570 to do fund-raising, at which she had no previous experience, like Julie Doolittle. Mrs. Sweeney got 10% of campaign contributions. Personal skimming off the top is apparently all part of the Republican “Pay To Play” Culture of Corruption over the last 12 years.
December 31, 1998 – In late 1998, “Marianas Islands' visitors included DeLay, his wife and daughter, and six of his aides. At a New Year's Eve dinner on Saipan in 1998, Delay lavishly praised the CNMI governor -- a moment caught on camera by ABC's 20/20: "You are a shining light for what is happening in the Republican Party, and you represent everything that is good about what we're trying to do in America in leading the world in the free-market system."” Tom Delay then reportedly went off with a local official to attend a cockfight. http://www.alternet.org/story/35458 /
1998 - In 1998, there was a change in the local CNMI Government and Abramoff had lost his lobbying contract with CNMI. The money still flowed as the Tan Family kept paying through the Saipan Garment Manufacture Association, and a money-laundering front they called the Western Pacific Economic Council. It was getting harder and harder to for Abramoff to deal with the locals on CNMI, so he decided it was time to change the Government.
September, October 1998 – In making his first run for Congress, John Sweeney receives contributions from The Gap PAC as well as the Wal-Mart PAC, companies who are in the top 5 running sweatshops in the Marianas, totaling $2,000. Sweeney also received $1,000 in October 1998 from UNITE HERE, a hospitality workers union with members in the Marianas, as well as $5,000 from Tom Delay and his ARMPAC fund.
January 1999 – John Sweeney sworn in as US Representative.
October 3, 1999 – “On Oct. 3, 1999, Rep. John Doolittle received a $1,000 contribution from Abramoff, the first from the star lobbyist. Three weeks later, Doolittle wrote a letter to Fitial praising his entry into the commonwealth's legislature race and endorsing his election. "I know that you are a legislator and businessman who cares deeply about the people of your community," Doolittle wrote. "Your hard work in previous legislatures has succeeded in improved relations with the U.S. government, and we need you in the House again to ensure continued success." Doolittle's letter, complete with the disclaimer that it was paid for by the John T. Doolittle for Congress committee in Roseville, Calif., was published in the Saipan Tribune on Nov. 2, four days before Fitial was elected.”
1999 - Edwin Buckham, evangelical minister, former chief of staff and an old family friend of House Majority Whip Rep. Tom DeLay, gets involved, along with former DeLay aide Mike Scanlon, in a 1999 effort by Abramoff to allegedly dangle U.S. tax dollars to influence a election for the speaker of the legislature in the Northern Mariana Islands. They wanted Ben Fitial, local garment association director, elected as Speaker of the CNMI House. So Ed Buckham and Mike Scanlon went to CNMI and promised two Representative, (one from the island of Rota and the other from the island of Tinian) Federal projects if they switched their votes. Once in office, the new speaker pressed the island's governor to reinstate a lobbying pact with Jack Abramoff.
January 2000 – Abramoff and Scanlon and others pay for an illegal Congressional junket to the Marianas. This trip was allegedly to check on the situation there but in reality it was to allow dozens of GOP reps and their staff to play golf, relax and be treated "luxuriously" by Abramoff, the Tans and others.
2000 - The deal was struck and DeLay's Congress showered CNMI with millions of dollars. Most of it went through the Transportation Committee, especially the Aviation Subcommittee, which John Sweeney sits on. In 2000, there was $1.25 million for resurfacing the runways for the airport on Rota. Jack's Congressional partners also changed the way that Airport Improvement Project money was appropriated to insure that CNMI got a little bit out of every dollar spent.
DeLay also tried to muscle the local government power company to turn over the operation of the power company to Enron as part of their reward for helping the CNMI keep it immigration laws local.
2000 – A comprehensive study of Marianas sweatshops and violation lawsuits by unions. A copy of study can be found at http://www.american.edu/TED/saipan.htm#footnotes . The Gap was the largest retailer making clothes in the Marianas, followed by Dayton-Hudson, May Department Stores, Wal-Mart and Jones Apparel, along with 13 other chains such as Nordstroms, J. Crew and The Limited.
On the sex slavery, the report says, “Sex club owners, whose business mostly caters to Japanese tourists, maintain tight control over their employees through intimidation, physical and verbal abuse, confiscation of their passports, and strict monitoring of their movement. Without their passports, these indentured women cannot leave the island, and their fear of money lenders' and/or traffickers' retribution on them and their families as well as their shame stop them from reporting their plight. Fear and intimidation are common tactics used among CNMI employers. For example, it is not unusual for them to threaten to deport and harm or kill foreign workers and their families if they voice factories' abuses to the media, CNMI and federal government agents, and other foreigners.”
2000 - Abramoff funnels a lucrative $1.2 million no-bid Northern Marianas Islands government contract to Los Angeles businessman Rabbi David Lapin, to conduct ethics-in-government programs there. But near as anyone in the Marianas can determine today, David Lapin failed to provide any services.
2000 – Michael Scanlon and Abramoff partner together in getting money for and starting up several non-profit and for-profit entities. The non-profits did not spend money on their alleged missions but served as Abramoff’s personal bank for himself and to make hidden payments for the purpose of corrupting Republican members of Congress and their staff.
May 29, 2000 – Abramoff sends $1,000 contribution to John Doolittle.
October 30, 2000 – Abramoff sends $10,000 contribution to John Doolittle’s Superior California State Leadership Fund, through which Doolittle’s wife is able to skim personal cash at the rate of 15% off the top.
November, December 2000 – Greenberg Traurig runs up $314,000 bill for the RNC effort in Bush vs. Gore, which the RNC never repays, making it an undeclared contribution in-kind to the Bush election effort. Rep. John Sweeney leads GOP “Brooks Brothers Riot” in Miami Courthouse and succeeds in stopping third recount of Miami vote. President Bush nicknames Sweeney “Congressmen Kick-Ass.”
January, 2001 – Jack Abramoff switches law firms, from Preston Gates to Greenberg Traurig. He tries to bring his best clients with him, including those from the Marianas.
January 4, 2001 – Jack Abramoff sends a a pitch letter to the Governor of CNMI, Pedro P. Tenorio, making the case why CNMI should rehire him as their lobbyist for the coming Bush era. There was some hesitation on CNMI to spend more money on a Washington Lobbyist now that their GOP allies controlled everything. Abramoff needed somebody to travel to CNMI to make his case, to seal the deal. Since Doolittle and Delay had already done their part earlier to pitch Abramoff, John Sweeney, “Congressman Kick-Ass”, was chosen by Abramoff to be the salesman to the Marianas. Sweeney’s campaign later received $3,000 in contributions from Greenberg Traurig itself.
January 8 , 2001 – Rep. John Sweeney arrives in the Marianas to urge business and the government to continue to lobby Washington, even though the GOP now rules the entire government. Despite the many confirmed reports of abuse, sex slavery and forced abortions, he defends the Marianas violations, rejecting the idea of federal enforcement. Sweeney addresses the Saipan Chamber of Commerce (Saipan Times Jan 15, 2001):
““While there have been criticisms about alleged poor working conditions of garment workers in the Northern Marianas, Mr. Sweeney said the situation in the U.S. mainland is far worse as he joined enforcement agents in banging down doors of sweatshop establishments in New York.
"I think, we as members of the U.S. Congress need to build some flexibility in our understanding of the situation." In recognizing the contribution of the garment manufacturers on the island's economy, Mr. Sweeney said Washington should be made to understand that the departure of the industry will devastate the Northern Marianas. Meanwhile, Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio said he agrees with Mr. Sweeney that CNMI must continue to lobby in Washington to protect the interests of the people of the Commonwealth.””
http://www.saipantribune.com/archives/newsstoryarch.asp ... )
February – November 2001 – A new contract was signed with the Marianas and the New Team Abramoff at Greenberg Traurig goes to work blocking any efforts to end the system of abuse. Abramoff also effortlessly organizes to have his clients on CNMI showered with tens of millions of dollars from US taxpayers. Records show at least 195 contacts between Abramoff's Marianas lobbying team and the Bush administration from February through November 2001. http://www.truthout.org/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi/37 ...
April 6, 2001 – Just 3 days before meeting with Ben Fitial from CNMI, John Sweeney receives a $1,000 campaign contribution from Jack Abramoff’s law firm, Greenberg Traurig. This money has never been returned.
April 9, 2001 – Speaker Ben Fitial of the Marianas House meets with Doolittle and Sweeney of the House Appropriations Committee. Mr. Fitial: "I am very glad that the CNMI has friends in such powerful positions. Whether the issue is construction funding or Compact impact assistance, the Appropriations Committee will make the important decisions, and I am confident we will receive a fair hearing because of our friends that serve on that committee."
May 23, 2001 – “Senator Conrad Burns, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the chair of an appropriations subcommittee that controls spending for the Interior Department, meets Abramoff's lobbying team at least eight times in early 2001 and collects $12,000 in donations. Burns votes against a bill that would have ended a "guest worker" program in the Northern Mariana Islands' garment industry; in 1999, he had voted in favor of an identical bill.” (DKospedia)
2001 – Rep. John Doolittle wants more appropriations for Fitial. Sweeney, being on Appropriations and Aviation, must have helped. Around $28 Million in grants and earmarks flowed to CNMI from Congress and the Bush Administration in 2001. That is in addition to the usual $40 some million paid each year to support the US Territory. One of the reasons that so much money flowed to CNMI in 2001 was that it was an election year on CNMI and Fitial was running for Governor. The GOP in Washington was trying to buy him the election with pork for the Marianas.
April 26, 2001 - Indicted Delay aide Tony C. Rudy meets with appropriations staff of Rep. Sweeney's office.
May 4, 2001 - Indicted Delay aide Tony C. Rudy meets with Rep. Sweeney to discuss Appropriations request.
May 25, 2001 - Jack Abramoff Teamate Kevin A. Ring has phone conversation and correspondence with K. Kaloi (House Resources) regarding CNMI appropriations; sends talking points to same; phone conversation with Labor Department official regarding minimum wage; correspondence with staff of Rep. Sweeney regarding appropriations. All in all, with the help of Sweeney and Doolittle, $28 million in additional “earmark” funds were secured by Abramoff for the Marianas in 2001.
June 20, 2001 - Indicted Delay aide Tony C. Rudy meets with Rep. Sweeney regarding Marianas issues; discussions with L. Lamora (Watts) regarding upcoming minimum wage effort.
June 2001 -Sen. Conrad Burns supports a bill that urged the Interior Department to rescind a requirement that the Marianas provide the usual matching funds for a federal program subsidizing local construction projects, giving them the Aviation and other funds for free.
September 11, 2001 – Terror attack on World Trade Center. Tourism and manufacturing suffer greatly in the Marianas. Abramoff clients there can no longer afford him and tell him so.
October 2001 – Kevin Ring sends an e-mail to the Marianas and cc to Abramoff, noting the huge amount of federal money won for them in 2001: "We believe that this additional funding along with other funds we expect to secure by the end of the year will make clear to even our biggest critics that we pay for ourselves”.
Fall 2001 – LAT Aug 07, 2005: “ Black was also apparently less than popular with the island's immigrant-labor-driven textile businesses because he had started a post September 11th investigation into whether the island's loose immigration policies represented a security risk.
The acting U.S. attorney was a controversial official in Guam. At the time he was removed, Black was directing a long-term investigation into allegations of public corruption in the administration of then-Gov. Carl Gutierrez. The inquiry produced numerous indictments, including some of the governor's political associates and top aides.
Black also arranged for a security review in the aftermath of Sept. 11 that was seen as a potential threat to loose immigration rules favored by local business leaders. In fact, the study ordered by Black eventually cited substantial security risks in Guam and the Northern Marianas.”
October 1, 2001 – Abramoff warns his Marianas clients in an e-mail: “The other immediate (next two weeks) challenge is the Justice Department. Last week the bad guys who still work there (the ones who got that bad letter on Murkowski issued) started a drum beat that the CNMI had to be taken over, because it was a loophole in the federal immigration network, and that, as such, was a threat on terrorism.
They have been spending a week or so telling everyone who will listen that the CNMI, if it is not taken over, will be a major entry point for terrorists. This, of course, is patently ridiculous, actually just the opposite, and we have been working to counter this, but they are not backing down. We had the COS of the Justice Department in our box at today's Redskins game and it seems that there might be a classified document floating in the department which deals with this matter. Making it classified, if that is indeed the case, was a good idea by our opponents, since that means we cannot get it. Hopefully Babauta has some connections there and can get a copy (perhaps at least on a redacted version), which he can pass on to you to draft a response. If this is at a stage where it is gaining momentum, he will need to leak into the press that they are considering this and how it is exactly the opposite of what should be happening. This is a real potential threat. It will require some major action from the Hill and a press attack to get this back in the bottle. He should just follow the example we have used in the past, where we get the press out front carefully and push the Administration back.
I am supposed to see the Attorney General next week (the Thursday after Simchas Torah) and Kevin was slated to play basketball with him before then. We will both mention this to him. The AG will be fine, but the underlings are a worrisome matter.”
October, December 2001 – John Sweeney receives $5,000 from Wal-Mart PAC.
February 2002 – Abramoff meets with then-Gov. Guttierez of the Marianas to win a new $1.3 million contract and conspires with him to get US Atttorney Black replaced. LA Times, July 1, 2006: Abramoff, the report said, told investigators that the two came up with a plan to smear Black by releasing copies of a letter Gutierrez had written in 1995 to President Clinton. The letter referred to Black as "a good Democrat" and recommended he be reappointed as U.S. attorney. Black was originally appointed as acting U.S. attorney by President George H.W. Bush in 1991. Saying he is a good Democrat will get him demoted is the theory. In one e-mail to Abramoff referred to Black as "a total commie…. We need to get this guy sniped out of there." In another e-mail, Abramoff wrote: "We are opposed to Black. He has been screwing us for years…. So this is good payback. I don't care if they appoint Bozo the clown, we need to get rid of Fred Black."
2002 – LAT Aug 7 05: “In 2002, Abramoff was retained by the Superior Court in what was an unusual arrangement for a public agency. The Times reported in May that Abramoff was paid with a series of $9,000 checks funneled through a Laguna Beach lawyer to disguise the lobbyist's role working for the Guam court. No separate contract was authorized for Abramoff's work.
The auditor's office is reviewing Abramoff's payments totaling $324,000 in 36 separate checks for $9,000 paid through lawyer Howard Hills of Laguna Beach. Hills said he was a middleman.”
US Attorney Black starts a Grand Jury investigation of Abramoff for potential money laundering.
May 2002 – Classified Marianas Security Report is completed with US Attorney Black’s input: “If the present high risk environment is allowed to stand, it will continue to threaten Federal and public interests and seriously jeopardize the national security of the United States.
The lack of Federal jurisdiction over immigration, customs and financial matters coupled with a long history of deliberate territorial indifference to corrective action, creates an atmosphere which fosters criminal activity and public corruption, prevents Federal authorities from achieving optimum effectiveness in their enforcement of U.S. law, and produces critical security obstacles for Federal agencies.”
The report also describes the problem of corruption and money laundering. Every time Abramoff went to the Marianas, he went to Tinian, where the Tans have a casino-hotel. “Money laundering investigations and prosecutions are significantly handicapped by the political empowerment of both Guam and the C.N.M.I. as specified by the Covenants currently in place. Unfettered access into the C.N.M.L and the presence of an unregulated international gambling casino on Tinian, allow for the perfect venue to launder illegal funds, regardless of their source. This situation is further compounded by the lack of any civil or criminal revenue enforcement by the territorial government or sufficient Federal assets to continually scrutinize banking and money handling businesses.”
“The P.R.C. has built and currently operates a 600-room hotel and international gambling resort on the island of Tinian in the C.N.M.I. This facility has been in operation for approximately three years. Federal officials indicate that it has-never enjoyed more than a 20 percent occupancy rate and is believed to be a "marker" for mainland China with involvements in international money laundering operations. In March of 2002, this casino became the subject of investigation by Federal authorities because it received $3.5 million in fraudulent loans in connection with the Bank of Saipan fraud scheme cited earlier.”
This critical report is then covered up by the Bush Administration and the DoJ for 2 election cycles--to protect the CNMI/GOP connection and also to help the Tans with their labor abuse issues and possible regulation of their casino and other practices. In addition, new casinos are planned at this time--and Delay and Abramoff might have even been negotiating a piece of the action.
Late June 2002 – Abramoff’s e-mails show he illegally was given a copy of the classified Marianas Security Report. LA Times July 1, 2006: “Abramoff, according to e-mails cited by the inspector general, worried the FBI report would prompt Congress to restrict immigration in the Northern Marianas — cutting off a supply of low-wage labor for garment manufacturers who had hired Abramoff to protect their interests.
After seeing the FBI report, the lobbyist suggested an attack on Black. "We have to make sure that Black guy is smeared into the ground," Abramoff wrote in an e-mail to his clients.””
October 29, 2002 – John Sweeney receives $1,000 from UNITE HERE, a hospitality workers union with members in the Marianas.
Late 2002 – Abramoff learns from his pipeline to the White House—which includes Susan Ralston, who used to be his personal secretary and was now working directly with Karl Rove--of the impending nomination of Leonardo Rapadas to replace Frederick Black as US Attorney of the Marianas. Abramoff instructs his team to send out e-mails claiming credit for getting rid of Black who--as he said in an earlier e-mail--“has been screwing us for years”.
November 18, 2002 – Following the request of U.S. Attorney Black, a federal grand jury in Guam subpoenas the Guam Superior Court for records involving a lobbying contract with Jack Abramoff.
November 19, 2002 – The very next day, President George W. Bush demotes U.S. Attorney Black and appoints Republican Rapadas to the post of US Attorney, after the Marianas Republicans had earlier made their choice known to Karl Rove in person in Washington. The prosecution of Abramoff and certain other Marianas scandals involving local high officials and the Tan family go by the wayside under the Rapadas term. Black later accuses Bush of removing him to stop the investigation of Abramoff, which would be Obstruction of Justice. Rep. John Conyers and CREW in Washington DC years later both say there should be a Special Prosecutor, not just an Inspector General investigation of the Black removal.
April 11, 2003 – John Sweeney begins paying a company called Creative Consulting for fund-raising. The company had been founded a day earlier by Gayle Ford. Between April 2003 and January 2004, Sweeney's campaign paid $42,570 to the firm. Sweeney proposed to Ford in September 2003 and married her in 2004, making her an official member of “The Wives’ Club”.
Sweeney spokeswoman Melissa Carlson said the congressman considers his wife "his best representative in the district when he's fund-raising." She said Ford, who had no previous fund-raising experience, receives a 10 percent commission on whatever she raises. Ford also works for Powers & Company, the lobbying firm of former state GOP Chairman William Powers, Sweeney's longtime political ally and onetime boss. (Source: Wikipedia)
June 17, 2003 –John Sweeney receives $5,000 from Wal-Mart PAC.
November 4, 2003 – John Sweeney receives $1,000 from UNITE HERE, a hospitality workers union with members in the Marianas.
December 2003 – Roger Stillwell, from the Interior Department’s Insular Affairs, in charge of the island protectorate, “received four tickets from Jack Abramoff to a Washington Redskins game valued at $316 with an actual cost of $2,147… He also accepted two tickets to a 2003 Simon and Garfunkel concert worth $166”. (AP)
February 2004 – The Washington Post breaks the Abramoff Scandal, with $45 million paid by Indian tribes being funneled through phony charities and third parties for political bribery on casino matters.
March 1, 2004 – John Sweeney receives $5,000 from UNITE HERE, a hospitality workers union with members in the Marianas.
March 2, 2004 - Abramoff leaves Greenberg Traurig. In a statement, the firm says Abramoff "disclosed to the firm for the first time personal transactions and related conduct which are unacceptable to the firm."
August 24, 2004 - John Sweeney receives $1,000 from Greenberg Traurig, Abramoff’s former law firm.
September 30, 2004 – John Sweeney receives $1,000 from UNITE HERE, a hospitality workers union with members in the Marianas.
October 20, 2004 – John Sweeney receives $1,000 from UNITE HERE, a hospitality workers union with members in the Marianas.
March 28, 2005 - John Sweeney receives $1,000 from Greenberg Traurig, Abramoff’s former law firm.
May, 2005 – Tom Delay interview to Galveston Daily News on charges of sweatshops in the Marianas: “in interviewing these employees one-on-one, there was no evidence of any of that going on. No evidence of sweatshops as portrayed by the national media. It's a beautiful island with beautiful people who are happy about what's happening."
June to October, 2005 - Between June and October of 2005, Justice Department staffers pull financial disclosure reports on at least nine members of Congress and at least seven former congressional staffers, including Rep. John Sweeney.
September 23, 2005 - John Sweeney receives $1,000 from Wal-Mart PAC.
September 29-30, 2005 – John Sweeney receives $700 from Ed Buckham, of the corrupt Alexander Strategy Group, now closed due to the Abramoff Scandals.
October 5, 2005 - John Sweeney receives $497 in-kind contribution from Greenberg Traurig, Abramoff’s former law firm.
Oct. 6, 2005 - Rep. John Conyers, Jr. and Rep. George Miller called for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the removal of Frederick Black as US Attorney for the Marianas by President Bush.
November 11, 2005 – John Sweeney receives $3,000 from UNITE HERE, a hospitality workers union with members in the Marianas.
March 24, 2006 - John Sweeney receives $1,000 from Wal-Mart PAC.
May 2, 2006 – John Sweeney receives $3,000 from UNITE HERE, a hospitality workers union with members in the Marianas.
June 30, 2006 – Dept of Justice Inspector General Glenn Fine releases report on the Black Removal from the Abramoff case and clears the Bush White House of Obstruction of Justice. Fine’s report says because Abramoff’s exact recommendation of a person to replace Black was not taken, even though the Abramoff case was not followed up by Rapadas; and because the decision to replace Black was made before Abramoff requested it--there was no Obstruction on November 19, 2002.
Yet this report ignores the very early Abramoff e-mail of Oct. 1, 2001, published in the press in 2005, in which he boasts that he and Kevin Ring will be meeting with John Ashcroft to talk about the Marianas Security Report and will bring up the problem of “underlings” trying to get the report out. It also ignores Abramoff’s e-mail of early 2002, in which he exclaimed: “I don't care if they appoint Bozo the Clown, we need to get rid of Fred Black”. Rep. John Conyers and Miller continue to demand a Special Prosecutor to look into possible Obstruction of Justice by Bush in the Black Removal.
June 2006 - Democrats propose H.R. 5550, the Human Dignity Act, to reform the Marianas. Despite the proof of forced labor, forced prostitution and forced abortion, John Sweeney and the Republicans refuse to support the Human Dignity Act.
ABRAMOFF IN THE NEWS
Secret Service Reveals More Abramoff Visits: Secret Service Logs Show Abramoff Visit to Cheney Aide, White House Family Residence
U.S. Secret Service Forced to Release More White House Logs Detailing Abramoff Visits - Judicial Watch
Documents in PDF
Six More Abramoff White House visits uncovered
Republicans may press Ney to step down if indicted
GOP Chief, Abramoff Linked In New Government Report
McCain panel’s Abramoff report retribution for 2000, Norquist says
Abramoff sought credit for work he didn’t do
Report: Abramoff Had FBI Data: The lobbyist improperly got and acted on a secret file about the Marianas, an inspector general says
GUAM: DOJ Completes Abramoff-Gutierrez Investigation
White House Confirms Bush-Abramoff picture
Three More Lawmakers Linked to Abramoff ( Steven LaTourette, R-OH,Don Young, R-AK, and Shelly Moore Capito, R-WV)
Abramoff Pressed GSA Contact on Getting Land
Hardball: Do You Know Jack?
Abramoff's Evangelical Soldiers
Gambling might not rank as high as homosexuality or abortion on the list of social evils monitored by Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, but its growth has provided many occasions for his jeremiads. The indictment of Indian casino lobbyist and influential GOP activist Jack Abramoff was one such occasion. In a January 6 press release issued three days after Abramoff's indictment, Dobson declared, "If the nation's politicians don't fix this national disaster, then the oceans of gambling money with which Jack Abramoff tried to buy influence on Capitol Hill will only be the beginning of the corruption we'll see." He concluded with a denunciation of vice: "Gambling--all types of gambling--is driven by greed and subsists on greed."
What Dobson neglected to mention--and has yet to discuss publicly--is his own pivotal role in one of Abramoff's schemes. In 2002 Dobson joined a coterie of Christian-right activists, including Tony Perkins, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, to spearhead Abramoff's campaigns against the establishment of several Louisiana casinos that infringed on the turf of Abramoff's tribal clients. Dobson and his allies recorded messages for phone banking, lobbied high-level Bush Administration officials and took to the airwaves. Whether they knew it or not, these Christian soldiers' crusade to protect families in the "Sportsmen's Paradise" from the side effects of chronic slot-pulling and dice-rolling was funded by the gambling industry and planned by the lobbyist known even to his friends as "Casino Jack."
Among Abramoff's evangelical surrogates, only Reed emerged from their relationship with visible baggage. But this was not apparent at the time. Now, as a result of extensive media coverage of his involvement with Abramoff, his campaign for lieutenant governor of Georgia, intended as a stepping stone to higher office, is lagging. He has gone from denying early in his campaign that he accepted gambling money to claiming most recently that Abramoff lied to him about the source of his fees. To generate a strong turnout for his January 21 appearance at a Georgia Christian Coalition meeting, Reed was reduced to enticing his dwindling band of "supporters" with cash and free hotel rooms.
It is still unknown whether Dobson and his allies knew that Reed was working for Abramoff during the anti-Jena campaign. Abramoff claimed in a February 2002 e-mail to his employee Todd Boulanger that he was "working FOR and WITH them
S. Florida pleas spur a wider inquiry
BY Jay Weaver
Jan. 22, 2006
In September, a trio of Miami federal prosecutors and an FBI agent flew to Washington, D.C., to share explosive evidence with top Justice Department officials that was uncovered in the SunCruz Casinos fraud investigation.
The meeting came one month after a South Florida federal grand jury charged once-powerful Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff and New York businessman Adam Kidan with lying to lenders about their 2000 purchase of the Dania Beach-based gambling fleet.
The Miami team briefed Justice lawyers about something even bigger that spun out of the SunCruz case -- an alleged bribery conspiracy involving a broader cast of political characters. They included Abramoff's ex-lobbying partner, Michael Scanlon, who was a former aide to House Republican leader Tom DeLay of Texas; U.S. Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio; and Ney's former chief of staff, Neil Volz, who later worked as a lobbyist with Abramoff.
What began as a local loan-fraud case quickly turned into a corruption investigation that may mushroom into one of the worst political scandals in modern Washington history.
Controversial lobbyist had close contact with Bush team
WASHINGTON (AP) — 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 meetings between Abramoff's lobbying team and the administration ranged from Attorney General John Ashcroft to policy advisers in Vice President Dick Cheney's office, according to his lobbying firm billing records.
Abramoff, a $100,000-plus fundraiser for Bush, is now under criminal investigation for some of his lobbying work. His firm boasted its lobbying team helped revise a section of the Republican Party's 2000 platform to make it favorable to its island client.
In addition, two of Abramoff's lobbying colleagues on the Marianas won political appointments inside federal agencies.
Read more here….
Controversial lobbyist had close contact with Bush team - Associated Press - usatoday.com
the FEC says Abramoff gave NO MONEY to Dems
Type "Abramoff" and search.
Abramoff's contributions to Republicans (100%): Data Provided by the Federal Election Commission as of 1/2/06
Of interest: Oliver North’s Senate campaign in 1994
GOP Superlobbyist Jack Abramoff and His Closest Allies
A Google search links Abramoff--possibly--to Tom DeLay, Richard DeVos, Ralph Reed, Mohammad Atta, Oregon State University, George W. Bush, Contras, Mobutu Sese Seko, Council for National Policy, The Mafia, David Safavian, Apartheid, Adam Kidan, Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy, Michael Scanlon,Bob Ney?
The Abramoff primer
Four scandals, 25 players, one sad episode for American democracy
The ever-widening scandal surrounding Republican super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff threatens to take down at least a half-dozen Congressmen in 2006, more of their aides, Executive Branch employees, and untold numbers of other members of the Republican Beltway hierarchy...
Appallingly, it's hard to tell with many of Abramoff's activities whether they are crimes, D.C. business as usual, or both. Here, then, compiled from the Washington Post and other sources, is a summary in alphabetical order of 25 of the key players involved...
SEN. CONRAD BURNS
REP. TOM DELAY
REP. JOHN DOOLITTLE
SEN. BYRON DORGAN
REP. DENNIS HASTERT
REP. DOC HASTINGS
RABBI DANIEL LAPIN
REP. ROBERT NEY
REP. RICHARD POMBO
SEN. HARRY REID
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Abramoff...spent ten years in Hollywood, producing such movies as Red Scorpion, an anti-communist film...
In college, Abramoff organized Massachusetts campuses for Reagan's presidential campaign in 1980. A year later, he graduated from Brandeis University and the Georgetown University Law Center.
Abramoff was soon elected chairman of the College Republican National Committee with the campaign being managed by Grover Norquist and aided by Ralph E. Reed, Jr.. "It is not our job to seek peaceful coexistence with the Left," Abramoff was quoted as saying in the group's 1983 annual report, "Our job is to remove them from power permanently".
Abramoff "changed the direction of the committee and made it more activist and conservative than ever before," notes the CNRC. <3>
At the CRNC in the 1980s, Abramoff developed political alliances with College Republican chapter presidents across the nation, many of whom now have gone on to graduate to significant national influence in American politics and business. Some of these long-standing alliances are the subject of various federal investigations into Abramoff and his political and business dealings.
Scanlon Pleads Guilty, Cooperates in Abramoff Probe (Update2)
``They're using Scanlon to get everybody,'' said Melanie Sloan, a former federal prosecutor who now heads Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, an advocacy group. ``That's how it works. You keep rolling people. I'm sure Tom DeLay is unhappy today to hear Michael Scanlon has made a deal.''
Scanlon Plea May Help Prosecutors Clear Constitutional Hurdle
Nov. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Former lobbyist Michael Scanlon's cooperation with U.S. Justice Department lawyers in a conspiracy investigation may help them clear a constitutional hurdle that protects lawmakers from prosecution over official acts.
Bob Ney is poster boy in bribe probe
Nov. 23, 2005
WASHINGTON - Identified in new court documents as "Representative No. 1," Republican Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio has become the poster boy in the Jack Abramoff bribery probe, a beneficiary of trips, tickets and campaign donations, allegedly in exchange for official acts.
Casino buyer pleads guilty to fraud
Jay Weaver and Wanda J. Demarzo
Dec. 16, 2005
New York businessman Adam Kidan pleaded guilty Thursday to defrauding lenders of more than $20 million in the purchase of SunCruz Casinos -- a deal that police believe is linked to the mob-style slaying of former SunCruz owner Gus Boulis.
Kidan agreed to help prosecutors build their fraud case against his former partner Jack Abramoff, a once-influential Washington lobbyist.
With the Abramoff case likely to reveal much more about the seamy side of Republican machinations, it would be helpful to compile all available info in a central spot.
Let's see how much material is out there, and watch as the entire picture takes shape. Peter Frank
There's a lot of material at this website: http://www.madcowprod.com /
I don't know if it would be considered a kosher source of information, however. AntiFascist.
See this DailyKos diary for some real meat:
Abramoff seems to be the spider at the center of much of the web of criminal influence peddling that have funneled money into the GOP during the past decade, creating ties between the Republican White House and terrorist-linked Persian Gulf bankers.
and this comment:
And people need to realize that the reason that the 9/11 attacks were never fully investigated was not for tinfoil reasons like "CIA planned it," but because too many al-Qaeda players have too many suspicious links to the president, members of the Bush Administration and to prominent Republicans.
The 9/11 trail leads directly back to rich Saudis who are playing an extremely complicated game of their own on their home turf, waging a proxy war with extremists, etc., etc., etc.
The problem that the Bush Administration has is that the whole lot of them are up to their neck in influence from the send Saudis who pumped and continue to pump money into Islamic extremism around the world.
The Abramoff story is chapter 1,342 of the book.
and more Abramoff diaries here:
He was Executive Director of "Citizens for America" a Reagan White House "citizen lobbying" effort that helped Ollie North organize the Contra speaking tours (that helped break open the Iran-Contra scandal).
In 1985 Jack went to Jamba, Angola to meet with and organize a US lobbying effort for Nicaraguan contras, the Afghan Mujahedeen and Laotian hill tribes.
It occurs to be that Mr. Abramoff is at the center of so many different criminal acts that perhaps this research topic should be subdivided. I suggest starting with the following:
Abramoff ripping off Indian tribes
Abramoff's influence on the Department of the Interior (including CREA)
The murder of Gus Boulis and the fraudulent acquisition of SunCruz
Abramoff and the GSA (David Safavian)
Abramoff and Israel (faking his Orthodox credentials, the sniper school, the Eshkol Academy)
Abramoff and the 9/11 terrorists
The Scotland golf trip
Abramoff and Congress
Abramoff and the College Republicans
Abramoff and Signatures restaraunt
Abramoff and the skybox tickets
Abramoff and the Marianas Islands
Abramoff and the Philippines
I fully realize that every single one of these topics bleeds into others. For example, David Safavian was on the Scotland golf trip and also greenlighted the sale of GSA land for the Eshkol Academy. With each parallel reference, it might be practicable to add a parenthetical (e.g. see "Section X for more on the Eshkol Academy").
Critical to this endeavor should be the collection of as many publicly released references to primary documents, particularly the thousands of emails which are often quoted only in part in the press.
The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs has released new documents from the 11/17/05 hearing:
And also from the 11/02/05 hearing:
Many of these emails are poorly redacted, which will allow the diligent researcher to draw good guesses about players who are currently being protected.
How a Lobbyist Stacked the Deck
Abramoff Used DeLay Aide, Attacks On Allies to Defeat Anti-Gambling Bill
By Susan Schmidt and James V. Grimaldi
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, October 16, 2005; Page A01
Abramoff quietly arranged for eLottery to pay conservative, anti-gambling activists to help in the firm's $2 million pro-gambling campaign, including Ralph Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition, and the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition. Both kept in close contact with Abramoff about the arrangement, e-mails show. Abramoff also turned to prominent anti-tax conservative Grover Norquist, arranging to route some of eLottery's money for Reed through Norquist's group, Americans for Tax Reform.
October 17, 2005
TVC's Sheldon Accepted Big Bucks to Support Gambling, Mislead Followers
The Washington Post reported Oct. 16 that the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, head of the Traditional Values Coalition, accepted at least $25,000 in direct funds, and perhaps thousands more in indirect support, from an online gambling company and indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff in a 2000 campaign to block federal legislation that would have banned online gambling.
Furthermore, former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed reportedly acted as a financial, political and marketing go-between, channeling (laundering) funds in a $2 million pro-gambling campaign involving former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's office, the gambling industry, and Christian rightists allied with Reed and Sheldon who were willing to accept money without knowing its source; shoot down antigambling legislation without concern for the facts; and battle fellow Christian rightists.
When the campaign briefly went sour, and Sheldon's lying was exposed, Sheldon diverted attention with an attack on homosexuals.
As XGW noted last week, Sheldon continues to exploit homosexuals to divert attention from his own unethical behavior.
In June 2000, according to checks and e-mails obtained by the Post, gambling company eLottery paid Sheldon $25,000 directly, and $80,000 to Reed that was laundered through Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and Virginia Beach, Va.-based Faith and Family Alliance. (Robin Vanderwall, head of the FFA, was a former Regent University Law School student and Republican operative later convicted of soliciting sex with minors.) Reed's company then collected a stake for itself and further laundered funds to Christian conservative and marketing outfits, according to the Post.
Vanderwall admits laundering money under instruction from Reed: "I was operating as a shell," Vanderwall said, adding that he was never told how the money was spent. He said: "I regret having had anything to do with it."
Meet the Lapin Brothers
Rabbis Daniel and David both count superlobbyist Jack Abramoff as a friend, and both now are turning up in news coverage of the Tom DeLay scandal.
by Rick Anderson
Daniel Lapin appears to be in overdrive these days. "I gave him your message," says a spokesperson for the Mercer Island rabbi, the Seattle talk-radio host, and the field commander in the religious right's war to reunite church and state. "He's just a busy guy," too busy to come to the phone and chat about Jack Abramoff, the dethroned D.C. superlobbyist and board member of Lapin's Mercer Island Judeo Christian charity.
By Evan Gahr
The little-noticed alliance between gay marriage opponents and alleged terrorist sympathizers
The Massachusetts Supreme Court decision to legalize homosexual marriage in the Bay state re-ignited the culture wars. The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, perhaps the preeminent liberal Jewish organization in Washington, DC, applauded the ruling. Religious-minded conservatives, however, were horrified. They are determined to stop the gay rights movement in its tracks. At what price?
But they sounded not like religious figures but rather crass politicians who lack any kind of moral compass. Rabbi Barry Freundel, of the Rabbinical Council of America, who wouldn't say much publicly, remained on the board. Father Richard John Neuhaus, editor of First Things magazine and head of the Institute on Religion and Public Life, simply dismissed the AMC connection as the nature of alliances. So did Rabbi Daniel Lapin of Toward Tradition, which seeks to unite Jews and Christians.
"What I see is that I am supporting an idea and if others with whom I don't agree on a variety of other topics also support the idea," Rabbi Lapin told the Forward after the original expose was published on JewishWorldReview.com, "then they are supporting my idea. I'm not supporting theirs . . . When America allied itself with Russia to defeat Nazi Germany in no way was America endorsing the contemptible politics of the Soviet Union."
About six weeks later, a bunch of young men killed 3000 innocent civilians when they plowed highjacked planes into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.
"Alliance for Marriage claims to represent several of the largest black denominations and millions of Latinos, Orientals, Jews and Muslims. Its board of advisers includes Bishop George McKinney of the huge Church of God in Christ, a black denomination; Patricia DeVeaux of the African Methodist Episcopal Church; and Vernon Shannon of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.
"Other members include Sayyid Sayeed, secretary-general of Islamic Society of North America; the Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, president of Institute on Religion and Public Life; Diane Knippers, president of Institute on Religion and Democracy; Episcopal Bishops Peter Beckwith of Illinois and Stephen Jecko of Florida; Catholic Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre; Steve Chin of Boston Chinese Evangelical Church; Grand Rabbi Y.A. Korff, and Rabbi Daniel Lapin."
The friend Tom DeLay can't shake.
By James Harding
Posted Thursday, April 7, 2005, at 6:36 PM ET
Abramoff is an orthodox Jew and DeLay is a committed Christian; their relationship is rooted in their parallel faiths. They were introduced more than a decade ago by Rabbi Daniel Lapin, the South African-born radio talk-show host who established Toward Tradition, a nonprofit coalition of Jews and Christians that aims to advance the agenda of the devout. Since Abramoff's troubles began, he and DeLay have sought to distance themselves from the other. But DeLay can't shake Abramoff loose so easily?not after their trips abroad, the major role Abramoff played in DeLay's well-financed and successful run for whip, the public praise DeLay heaped on Abramoff for helping bring Native Americans into the Republican fold. Abramoff has hired a number of ex-DeLay staffers, worked closely with the congressman on trade issues, and was partly responsible for DeLay's trips to Britain and Russia. And he has contributed tens of thousands of dollars to DeLay's various political organizations. Given the unfolding details of Abramoff's extraordinary three-ring circus of lobbying, political fund-raising, and supposed nonprofit work, the danger for the House majority leader is that the Abramoff story has only just begun to come out.
Posted on Wed, Jun. 22, 2005
Senators accuse lobbyist of `outright fraud'
BY ALLEN PUSEY
The Dallas Morning News
In an e-mail to Rabbi David Lapin, a West Coast talk show host, Abramoff lamented that the club had members with Nobel prizes but he had no awards to speak of. He asked if the rabbi's organization, Toward Tradition, could concoct one for him: "Perhaps something like Scholar of Talmudic Studies?"
"Indeed, it would be better if it were possible that I received these in years past, if you know what I mean," Abramoff said in an e-mail.
Jack Abramoff, cinematic genius? He shoulda stayed in Hollywood
By Peter Carlson
The Washington Post
Before Abramoff was a powerful Washington lobbyist and Republican fund raiser, before he was indicted on fraud charges, before he became the target of a Justice Department investigation of his alleged rip-off of casino-rich Indian tribes, before he was summoned to a Senate hearing where he took the Fifth Amendment and refused to testify, Jack Abramoff was a Hollywood producer.
When "Red Scorpion" was released, it was picketed by anti-apartheid protesters angry that Abramoff had shot the movie in territory controlled by South Africa's white supremacist government, using soldiers and military equipment lent by the South Africans. The protesters would have been even angrier if they'd known that the International Freedom Foundation, a right-wing group founded by Abramoff, was secretly bankrolled by the South African army ? but that wasn't known until a South African colonel revealed it in 1995.
Ironically, Abramoff's e-mails contain better dialogue than Abramoff's movies. The man's a natural. And he'd be the perfect screenwriter for a blockbuster about influence peddling in Washington.
Hey, it could happen. Peter Mirijanian, a Washington PR man, says his friend Abramoff is actively pursuing several movie ideas: "He is in discussion, and he is moving forward on a couple of projects."
Abramoff associate Daniel Lapin (anti-gay, anti-recycling rabbi) wrote a letter to support Rabbi Mordecai Tendler-- accused of sexual harassment.
Exclusive: Rabbi Mordechai Tendler gets public letter of support from friend Rabbi Daniel Lapin. Could Towards Tradition be RMT's next home?
Case of Rabbi Mordecai Tendler
(AKA: Mordechai Tendler)
Jerry Weller's Mystery Trip
Rep. Jerry Weller (R-Ill.), a member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, took a trip to Louisiana in mid-1999 that may have been paid for by former GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff. If Abramoff did in fact pick up the tab for the trip, that would be a violation of House ethics rules.
Weller travelled to Lafayette, La., on June 11-13, 1999, according to disclosure forms submitted by Weller to the Clerk of the House. The sponsor of the trip listed on the forms was Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds. The cost of the trip was $1,640, including meals.
Under House ethics rules, registered lobbyists or lobbying firms cannot pay for travel by lawmakers or Congressional staff, even if later reimbursed by an entity that is able to legally fund the trip, such as a nonprofit group.
Officials at Preston Gates said they had no record of the trip at all. “Based on a few hours of review of documents in response to Roll Call’s inquiry, we do not believe that the firm paid for a trip by Congressman Weller to Louisiana,” said a statement from the company on Monday night.
However, Abramoff worked for Preston Gates until early 2001, when he moved to Greenberg Traurig, and a source familiar with the situation said it likely involved Abramoff.
Abramoff plea could bring renewed scrutiny of Hastert letter
BY MIKE DORNING
Jan. 04, 2006
WASHINGTON - The guilty plea by lobbyist Jack Abramoff could bring renewed scrutiny of a letter sent by House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois to Interior Secretary Gale Norton urging her to block an Indian casino opposed by rival tribes represented by Abramoff just one week after the lobbyist hosted a fundraiser for Hastert's political action committee. Many in official Washington, Republicans and Democrats, were scrambling Wednesday to try to distance themselves from Abramoff - Hastert among them - fearing that they could be tainted by even the appearance of an association with the now disgraced lobbyist.
Abramoff pleaded guilty this week to corruption charges and agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors in a broadening investigation of bribery in Washington, which Abramoff admitted included the exchange of campaign contributions and other favors for official assistance to his clients. As part of his plea agreement, Abramoff is expected to help investigators determine whether others, including elected officials, broke any laws.
Indian tribes represented by Abramoff donated more than $20,000 to Hastert around the time of the fundraiser, which was held at Signatures, a Washington restaurant owned by Abramoff. Hastert's campaign committee did not pay the tab for the June 3, 2003, luncheon fundraiser until last year, following media inquiries about the unpaid check.
Hastert, who wields considerable influence as the top-ranking Republican in the House, was joined in his letter to Norton by three of the most powerful House Republican leaders: former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, then-Majority Whip Roy Blunt and Chief Deputy House Whip Eric Cantor, all of whom also received campaign contributions from Indian tribes represented by Abramoff.
Great Chronology of Abramoff News by Indianz.com (Must Bookmark)
Jack was also involved with the General Council of Islamic Banks
Shortly after 9/11, Abramoff signed up as a lobbyist for this consortium of banks that operate according to sharia, or Islamic law. According to the National Journal (Aug 31, 2002), the consortium was created after the attacks as President Bush began cracking down on terrorist financing. Abramoff's job was to spread the word about Islamic banking practices and to refute claims that Islamic banks sheltered money used for terrorist networks. And if anyone needed a good PR man, it was the chairman of the General Council for Islamic Banks, a Saudi businessman named Saleh Abdullah Kamel estimated to be worth in the neighborhood of $ 2.6 billion, who was quickly the subject of intense government scrutiny over his possible ties to terrorist activity.
You see, Kamel is also the chairman of Dallah al Baraka Group (DBG), which is suspected of having ties to al Qaeda and other extremist groups, and he was also the co-founder and large shareholder of Al Shamal Bank in Sudan, Osama bin Laden's bank of choice from 1983 onward. He was listed as being one of the seven "main individual sponsors of terrorism" in this report by French researcher Jean-Charles Brisard submitted to the UN Security Council in December 2002. (You might remember that Omar al-Bayoumi, who befriended and provided money to two of the 9/11 hijackers, was once an assistant to the Director of Finance for Dallah Avco, a DBG company that works with the Saudi aviation authority. And the WSJ has reported that the United States believes the Dallah al-Baraka Bank, another DBG company, was also used by al-Qaeda.)
Kamel's name also appeared in the "Golden Chain," a roster seized by Bosnian authorities in Sarajevo in March 2002 listing Saudi donors to bin Laden and his associates; and he was named as a defendant in two Sept. 11th related lawsuits: one filed by the victims' families in 2003 and another filed by Cantor Fitzgerald in September 2004 (Although claims of two plaintiffs from the first suit were dismissed, the same claims from other plaintiffs have yet to be.)
I believe I may have found the link between Abramoff and Rove:
Name Occupation Birth Death Known for
a very clear list of States ties to Abramoff and those involved
Worth remembering Delay screwing military personnel over supremely high interest loans - DU'ers were on this when it occurred..Delay was the KEYNOTE SPEAKER at the payday loan industry convention this year...
more:http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20050625/ap ... (link not available now)
Now the Defense Department is launching a new effort to warn service members about the dangers of payday loans, citing new reports that suggest these lenders are targeting them.
John Molino, deputy undersecretary of defense for military community and family policy, said last week the department would begin teaching service members how payday loans can lead to an endless cycle of debt.
A study released last month by two professors at the University of Florida and California State University found "irrefutable geographic evidence demonstrating payday lenders are actively and aggressively targeting U.S. military personnel."
In 12 of 19 states surveyed, the study found the single greatest concentration of payday loan stores in a county with a military base. Those states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
more:http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20050625/ap ... (link not available now)
According to Wall Street tea leaf readers, one of the major loansharking companies, Cash America, also stands to profit from increased energy and health costs, leading analysts to rate it a "strong buy" for people who don't have to worry about ever being charged a 700% interest rate. Not surprisingly, Cash America, which is based in Texas, has donated to the PAC formed by a Tom DeLay crony and its federal PAC gave to Republicans over Democrats by a two to one margin. Cash America's profits are so strong that it has catapulted into the Forbes 200 Best Small Companies, along with Texas competitor First Cash. ("Best" clearly means most profitable, not "best" in any other sense of the word.)
According to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics, these firms have PACs that gave to Republicans rather than Democrats in the 2004 election cycle by an average ratio of two to one. So you know who's pushing for their legislative interests and what those legislative interests are: less regulation, less tax, you get the idea.
Grover and Jack's Long Adventure
About once a month since 2001, Grover Norquist has invited a top Bush administration official or a Republican congressional leader to dine with him and some 20 or 30 corporate lobbyists who help subsidize Americans for Tax Reform, the anti-tax group that Norquist heads.
The dinners at Norquist's Washington, D.C., home aren't cheap: The lobbyists pay ATR between $10,000 and $25,000 a year for the privilege of attending several of the intimate get-togethers, which have featured the likes of White House political guru Karl Rove and Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, according to several lobbyists who have attended.
The Indian tribes' participation in the ATR dinners and the White House visits underscores the long and successful political partnership that Norquist and Abramoff have maintained since the early 1980s, when Norquist managed Abramoff's successful campaign to be chairman of the College Republicans. The pair's friendship and political ties continued through the '80s as they worked on conservative causes. It blossomed in the decade after the GOP captured Congress in 1994 and Abramoff began his meteoric rise as a GOP lobbyist and fundraiser.
"The Marianas became a great cause celebre at the Wednesday meetings shortly after the Republicans took power," recalled Marshall Wittman, a onetime Christian Coalition lobbyist who now works for the centrist Democratic Leadership Council.
Abramoff was a member of the Council for National Policy in 1984 -1985
THE COUNCIL FOR NATIONAL POLICY
Jack Abramhoff - CNP Membership Roster (1984-85. The International Freedom Foundation (IFF), an organization founded by "conservative" activist, Jack Abramhoff, was recently exposed by senior South African military personnel as a cut-out of the South African military and Special Branch. IFF functioned as a propaganda arm for South African STRATCOM (strategic communications) counter-insurgency operations directed against the African National Congress and the trade union confederation. A Small Circle of Friends
"Jack Abramoff became a Washington lobbyist after the Republicans won control of the House in 1994. He has ties that reach to all parts of Washington. He played a key role in what was called the K Street Project -- a Republican attempt to essentially take control of the D.C. lobbying world. By 1995 he would befriend Tom Delay -- who would later call Abramoff 'one of his closest and dearest friends.' He became a key fundraiser for President Bush and served on Bush’s transition team in 2000. His former assistant became Karl Rove’s personal assistant. He was accused of offering Congressional staffers lucrative jobs in exchange for legislative help. Abramoff ordered lobbying clients to give millions in political contributions to key lawmakers. The Wall Street Journal reports Abramoff could implicate as many as 60 lawmakers in the corruption inquiry.
"Lobbyist Jack Abramoff admitted to defrauding at least four Native American tribes of tens of millions of dollars, bribing government officials and evading taxes. Abramoff has reportedly agreed to testify against several members of Congress who received favors or donations from him or his clients. Washington analysts say the corruption scandal could take down as many as twelve lawmakers." The Biggest Congressional Scandal in Over a Century?
What was The International Freedom Foundation (IFF)
Editors Note:Front for Apartheid, appeared in Newsday, Sunday, July 16, 1995. The article was reported by Dele Olojede in South Africa and Timothy M. Phelps in Washington. The article concerns a Washington think-tank called the International Freedom Foundation that had branches in Johannesburg, South Africa and London, England. The International Freedom Foundation was actually a front for intelligence operators who worked on psycho-political operations to prolong apartheid. People involved included United States Department of State Officials, United States Congressmen, and US Intelligence agents. The article says "jobs" for South African intelligence provided at least half of the total IFF revenue, and South African military intelligence would send fees from the "jobs" directly to the IFF Washington office.
The article is a limited hangout that doesn't mention the South African Institute of International Affairs, The Royal Institute of International Affairs, or the Council on Foreign Relations. The article has a picture of Secretary of State George Shultz shaking hands with Oliver Tambo, the late exiled leader of ANC, at the State Department in 1987. The article mentions that people like Henry Kissinger were invited to International Freedom Foundation seminars to deliver keynote speeches. Among those in attendance was former CIA director William Colby. Shultz, Kissinger and Colby were members of the Council on Foreign Relations. The article talks about Americans who were on the board of Directors of the IFF, and who worked for the IFF in South Africa. Nearly every man mentioned was a United States Intelligence agent at one time or another. Do former United States intelligence agents, continue working as agents even after they become elected government officials, or are appointed to the US Department of State?
A list of some of the people mentioned in the story with locations and dates of intelligence service follows:
SHULTZ GEORGE P (Council on Foreign Relations Member) Panama 1984, Grenada 1984, Libya 1986
KISSINGER, HENRY A (Council on Foreign Relations member ) South Africa 1969-1977, Philippines 1972, Indonesia 1975, Angola 1976, Britain 1976, Chile 1976,China 1989-1997
If the International Freedom Foundation is a front for Intelligence organizations do their publications contain information telling intelligence agents what to do?
Why didn't Newsday connect the International Freedom Foundation to the Council on Foreign Relations? Did the Truth and Reconciliation Commission investigate the Council on Foreign Relations/Royal Institute of International Affairs/South African Institute of International Affairs role in creating the racial tension, hatred and genocide in South Africa? If they did, what were their findings? If they did not, don't you think it is about time they did? The Newsday article follows:
The International Freedom Foundation, founded in 1986 seemingly as a conservative think tank, was in fact part of an elaborate intelligence gathering operation, and was designed to be against apartheid's an instrument for "political warfare" against apartheid's foes, according to former senior South African spy Craig Williamson. The South Africans spent up to $1.5 million a year through 1992 to underwrite "Operation Babushka," as the IFF project was known.
From "Old Nazis, the New Right, and the Republican Party", by Russ Bellant, page 83:
<Howard> Phillips and Abramoff both supported campaigns calling for the dismissal of Chester Crocker and George Schulz from the State Department because they are seen as insufficiently supportive of South Africa. The "Dump Schulz" campaign grew out of a meeting of the Council for National Policy, a secret membership group that has included Phillips, Abramoff, then National Security Council officials Oliver North and John Lenczowski, WACL chair John Singlaub, and many others with ASC interlocks. CNP's secret quarterly meetings bring together right-wing funders (such as Joseph Coors) and foreign policy activists. The June 1987 speaker was Richard Secord. Secord was a major player in the Iran-Contragate arms for hostages private network.
The Conservative Caucus
In its ongoing campaign opposing the INF treaty the TCC in 1988 made a 30-minute documentary film on the deficiencies of the proposed treaty. The film, aired on the Christian Broadcasting Network, featured remarks by Senators Jesse Helms and Gordon Humphrey (R-NH) and retired military personnel Major General John Singlaub and Brigadier General Albion Knight. (13) Humphrey also chaired TCC's "Coalition for a Winning Ticket," a group which "urged Vice President Bush to consider as prospective running mates only persons with clearly enunciated conservative stands on key issues."(13)
TCC helped to line up 18 co-sponsors for Rep. Philip Crane's 10-percent Flat Tax bill (H. R. 111). (13) The Oliver North Defense Committee was a major project of TCC in 1987. Its goal was to gain the support of 600,000 TCC members on behalf of North, the former National Security aide who oversaw an illegal network which supplied the Nicaraguan contras. In January of 1987, national field director Dave Sanders claimed the committee membership to be around 5,000. (11) A later letter stated that the committee had fallen slightly short of its goal, collecting only 43,000 "declarations of support."(6)
Throughout the 1980s TCC was an active lobbyist for contra aid. The organization raised $40,000 to lobby Congress for contra aid. (19) TCC, along with groups such as the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress, and the National Defense Council, organized a number of shipments of humanitarian aid to the contras. (20,21) TCC director Andy Messing used the Denton amendment to have some of the TCC shipments sent to Honduras on a Mississippi Air National Guard flight. (22)
Jack Abramoff was the founder and first director of the rightwing think tank, International Freedom Foundation. He currently sits on the IFF board. Abramoff served as chairman of the very conservative College Republican National Committee from 1981 to 1985. From 1984 to 1985 he was executive director of Citizen's for America (CFA). CFA, headquartered at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, was begun by beer baron Joseph Coors and Rite-Way drugstore heir Lewis Lehrman. Abramoff also chaired the Heritage Foundation-based United Students of America Foundation (USA Foundation) in 1984. Abramoff is or was a member of the secretive rightwing Council for National Policy. (12)
Major General John K. Singlaub (ret) was the chairman of WACL until mid-1986. Singlaub was the founder and chairman of the USCWF until it closed its doors in 1989. (41,57) He is or was a member of the RAMBO coalition. (45) Singlaub is or was on the national policy board of the American Freedom Coalition. (42) He is or was a member of the Council for National Policy. (30) Other rightwing groups of which he has been a board member include Refugee Relief International (a subsidiary of Soldier of Fortune), Western Goals, the Committee for a Free Afghanistan, and Western Goals in the United Kingdom. (46,47. 48)
Jack Abramoff's past as an apartheid South African spy.
January 21, 2006 -- EXCLUSIVE -- Jack Abramoff's past as a South African spy. According to South African intelligence sources, convicted GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff was a long-time intelligence asset for South Africa's apartheid era security services. The revelations from South Africa help to explain Abramoff's connections to white supremacists who use Confederate heritage organizations to mask their true agendas (see article directly below).
In 1985, Abramoff launched the International Freedom Foundation (IFF) in Washington. In fact, IFF was a front for South African military intelligence, code named Pacman, and a major front for South Africa's international propaganda efforts. The IFF was a joint project of Russel Crystal, currently a Democratic Alliance official in South Africa, and a former apartheid South Africa top spy, Craig Williamson. According to South African intelligence sources, Abramoff was first recruited by Crystal and Williamson during 1979 and 1980. Crystal and Williamson were both paid agents of the Apartheid Security Police (SAP (V)). Money paid to Abramoff initially came from SAP(V) accounts. South African intelligence files also show:
Abramoff’s take-over of the College Republicans National Committee (CRNC) in Washington, DC was directed by both Crystal and Williamson and similarly funded. In fact, Abramoff was mentored by them, being trained as a political operator, apartheid style -- the emphasis was on carrying out political dirty tricks with non-attribution through fronts, screens, and dupes.
Before Crystal worked for SAP(V) as a right-wing student agitator at Wits University in Johannesburg, he was suspected of being an employee of the Bureau of State Security (BOSS), the apartheid spy agency responsible for foreign operations, including hit squad work, disinformation, and bombings. By the time of the establishment of National Students Federation (Crystal was its leader at Wits, Williamson having been exposed as an SAP(V) spy after arrests of anti-apartheid students in the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS)). A question arises as apartheid monies paid to Abramoff came from the specific account of the sections employing Crystal -- this indicates that Abramoff received foreign intelligence service money from BOSS. This was certainly the case when Abramoff's benefactors were in SAP(V) and later, when they left to join Military Intelligence (MI), which became the pre-eminent apartheid intelligence service after the rise of former defence minister P.W. Botha to the Presidency. It is clear that Abramoff received SAP(V) and MI monies for services rendered. Abramoff visited South Africa in 1983 to forge links between Crystal's National Students Federation (NSF) and Abramoff's CRNC.
Abramoff in South Africa Too
Washington, Jan 31 (Prensa Latina) Jack Abramoff, former high-flying Republican lobbyist and his illegal actions are making news in South Africa after the discovery on how Abramoff financed an association to favor the Apartheid regime.
For several years after its launch in 1985, Abramoff was the Washington face of Pacman, code name for the International Freedom Foundation (IFF), an organization supporting Apartheid, according to news published by African newspaper Mail and Guardian.
Former Republican lobbyist headed IFF from Washington and in Johannesburg the group was leaded by Craig Williamson, a high ranking apartheid-era spy, accused of multiple assassinations, said the newspaper.
According to historians IFF was in reality part of an elaborate South African military intelligence operation established to combat sanctions and undermine the African National Congress, it also supported Jonas Savimbi and his rebel Angolan movement, Unita.
In 1983, Abramoff visited South Africa as head of the College Republicans National Committee (CRNC).
Two years later he organized an international conference of right-wing groups at Savimbi"s headquarters attended by Savimbi, leaders of the Afghan mujahedin, Nicaraguan contras, Laotian guerrillas and members of the Oliver North American right.
A blast from the past
A major political corruption scandal in the United States has again focused attention on the role of senior Democratic Alliance official Russel Crystal in apartheid-era dirty tricks.
Central to the scandal is Jack Abramoff, a former high-flying Republican lobbyist, who pleaded guilty on January 3 to charges of conspiracy to bribe public officials, fraud and tax evasion.
For several years after its launch in 1985, Abramoff (47) was the Washington face of Pacman, code name for the International Freedom Foundation (IFF). In 1995, the New Nation reported former security policeman Paul Erasmus as describing the IFF as a stratcom-military intelligence (MI) project designed to sway world opinion against the anti- apartheid movement.
The IFF was reportedly the brainchild of Crystal, current deputy national executive director of the DA. He, Abramoff and former top spook Craig Williamson worked closely together in launching the organisation.
Among Abramoff’s South African projects was the anti-communist film Red Scorpion, made in South African-occupied Namibia and, according to Williamson, funded by the South African military.
With a 1991/92 budget of more than R10-million, Pacman was terminated by former president FW de Klerk in the early 1990s, along with other covert apartheid-era projects.
The IFF was ostensibly founded as a conservative think-tank, but was in reality part of an elaborate South African military intelligence operation, code-named Operation Babushka. Established to combat sanctions and undermine the African National Congress, it also supported Jonas Savimbi and his rebel Angolan movement, Unita.
It becomes apparent that Abramoff has been connected with figures involved in the Iran-Contra scandal.
Mr. Abramoff's Meetings
January 25, 2006
HERE ARE SOME things we know about Jack Abramoff and the White House: The disgraced lobbyist raised at least $100,000 for President Bush's reelection campaign. He had long-standing ties to Karl Rove, a key presidential adviser. He had extensive dealings with executive branch officials and departments -- one of whom, former procurement chief David H. Safavian, has been charged by federal prosecutors with lying to investigators about his involvement with Mr. Abramoff.
We also know that Mr. Abramoff is an admitted crook who was willing to bribe members of Congress and their staffs to get what he (or his clients) wanted...
What was Jack Abramoff doing in Venezuela?
Abramoff and Kark Rove Linked to Prosecution of Ex-Alabama Governor and Campaign Finances
Jun-01-07 - http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
A compilation thread discussing Abramoff and Rove's involvement in illegal financing of Gov. Riley's campaign, the 2002 election theft, and the political prosecution.
The 2006 Abramoff Investigation = Waxman's Committee website
Here is an entire web site by Waxman's Committee:
Following Mr. Abramoff's guilty plea in January, President Bush and other top White House officials issued repeated statements that Mr. Abramoff was a virtual stranger to the White House. The documents reviewed by the Committee tell a different story. They show that between January 2001 and March 2004, there were 485 lobbying contacts between Mr. Abramoff and his associates and White House officials.
These documents, if accurate, provide evidence that White House officials took multiple actions that benefited Mr. Abramoff and his clients, including: ensuring the release of $16 million for the construction of a jail for the Mississippi Band of the Choctaw; pressuring a Senate office to advance legislation to resolve a land dispute affecting the Sandia Pueblo of New Mexico; endorsing or declining to endorse political candidates; and intervening to secure the termination of a State Department employee who had taken positions contrary to those advocated by Mr. Abramoff.
In addition, the records indicate that Mr. Abramoff and his associates billed clients over $24,000 for meals and drinks with White House officials and offered White House officials tickets to 19 events, including floor seats to Wizards games and tickets to U2 and Bruce Springsteen concerts. At current prices, the face value of some of the tickets exceeded $1,000.
E-mails - The committee reviewed thousands of e-mails between Jack Abramoff, his associates, and government officials. The e-mails cited in the report are available in PDF format organized by Bates number.
Full Report on Abramoff Scandal = http://oversight.house.gov/abramoff/docs/abramoff.pdf
Statement by Rep. Henry A. Waxman = http://oversight.house.gov/abramoff/docs/statement.pdf
Spreadsheet of White House Contacts = http://oversight.house.gov/abramoff/docs/billing.pdf
==== MUCH MORE ====
from: Waxman: Abramoff Influenced White House, Met with Bush Six Times
Jun-09-08 - http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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