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IkeWarnedUs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 01:18 AM
Original message
The latest Washington scandal may top them all
The latest Washington scandal may top them all

By DAN K. THOMASSON
Scripps Howard News Service
24-NOV-05

<snip>

While the impact of the Baker scandal and those that followed _ including the Ethics Committee's first case, an inquiry into the financial activities of Sen. Thomas Dodd of Connecticut (in retrospect an unfair journalistic attack on an honest but careless man) _ were considerable, they pale in significance when measured against the likes of Watergate and Iran Contra and the much earlier Teapot Dome. But if you think that any of those was the Mount Everest of government malfeasance, at least from a financial standpoint, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Churning down Constitution Avenue toward Capitol Hill is a hurricane of potential political anguish the size of Katrina. It has been swirling around down the street at the Justice Department for sometime and with a major development just last week seems on the move to destroy any number of careers. It involves an extraordinarily well -connected super lobbyist named Jack Abramoff, whose activities already have resulted in an indictment in Florida and have been under close scrutiny in this town for at least a year and a half.

<snip>

But the lawmakers most targeted for favors seems to be Rep. Robert Ney, R-Ohio, the chairman of the House Administration Committee, who appears to have frequently eaten free at Abramoff's now closed Capitol Hill restaurant, and DeLay, who was the chief celebrity at a big time golf outing in Scotland, sponsored by Abramoff. The Associated Press has identified more than 30 other lawmakers as having pushed for an Aramboff cause. All deny there was any exchange of favors.

The extent of Abramoff's activities is apparently still being determined. But his alleged improprieties make those around Baker, who even shook down Senate pages, look like penny ante stuff, or, in Watergate parlance, a third rate burglary. The key amount that brought down Baker was something like a $100,000 donation in cash from a lobbying group. Native Americans lost millions in this deal, not an unusual consequence for our indigenous citizens at the hands of the government and those who influence it. That alone makes the entire mess more egregious than most of these scandals.

Link: http://www.shns.com/shns/g_index2.cfm?action=detail&pk=THOMASSON-11-24-05
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IkeWarnedUs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 01:39 AM
Response to Original message
1. GOP's best friend could be its nightmare
GOP's best friend could be its nightmare

By Jeff Shields
Knight Ridder Newspapers
Tuesday, November 22, 2005

<snip>

Griles, a former Interior Department deputy, was called to address suggestions that Abramoff had improperly influenced his federal work. Griles, who denies wrongdoing, is just the latest in a line of Republican officials and conservative leaders to be linked to Abramoff, who has been accused of mocking the laws that govern money and influence in American politics.

The hearing was a sharp reminder that while White House aides Karl Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby dominate the headlines, Abramoff remains according to some observers the Republican Party's most dangerous problem.

"I don't think we have had something of this scope, arrogance and sheer venality in our lifetimes," Norman Ornstein, resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, wrote recently. "It is building to an explosion, one that could create immense collateral damage within Congress and in coming elections."

<snip>

Senate hearings and published reports have alleged that Abramoff and Scanlon often charged their tribal clients for work they never performed; paid to fly members of Congress and their staffs to places such as Saipan in the Northern Marianas Islands and Scotland, a violation of ethics rules; and secretly hired Reed with tribal gaming money to shutter a rival casino in the name of Christian family values. When Abramoff's gambling business venture in Florida went sour, a business rival was slain. Abramoff was not implicated, but two men hired by Abramoff's business partner are charged with the killing.

Abramoff, a big fundraiser for Republicans, raised at least $100,000 for President Bush's 2004 campaign, and his clients gave much more. He boasted of access to Rove, dined with Interior Secretary Gale Norton, and hired away key members of DeLay's staff as his lobbying partners.

"The Congress and the United States government became Jack Abramoff's personal playground," said Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., who has long complained of Abramoff's influence in the Northern Marianas Islands, a U.S. territory that Abramoff helped keep free from U.S. minimum-wage and immigration laws. "But Abramoff was only able to succeed because he had willing partners within the Congress and this administration."

Link: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politics/2002638657_abramoff18.html
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Erika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 01:53 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. The GOP has reincarnated Nixon era dirty definition
Corrup culture.
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #2
21. Watergate/Nixon was a petty misdemeanor compared to the crimes ...
... of this pervasively corrupt mis-administration. The frauds and crimes, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, of the Bushoilini Cabal are unmatched in U.S. history. It's appalling that citizens aren't dragging them out by their heels to be tried for their crimes.
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wryter2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 02:53 PM
Response to Reply #1
29. I can't wait
:popcorn: :beer:
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pbartch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 01:56 AM
Response to Original message
3. Republicans are going down.
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FreedomAngel82 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 02:36 AM
Response to Reply #3
8. So since he gave money to Bush
what would that mean for him (Bush)? Anything?
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shanti Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 01:57 AM
Response to Original message
4. this story will rope in so many
on both sides. the corruption will be exposed.
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andino Donating Member (668 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 02:02 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. If it's even covered...
I'm sure another blonde girl will come up missing or a hollywood actor will have a speeding violation taken to trial for the media to cover....
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Catamount Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-25-05 02:05 AM
Response to Reply #5
32. The diversions are well under way....
:argh: :argh::argh::argh::argh::argh::argh::argh::argh::argh::argh:
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IkeWarnedUs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 02:12 AM
Response to Original message
6. Scanlon Plea May Help Prosecutors Clear Constitutional Hurdle
Scanlon Plea May Help Prosecutors Clear Constitutional Hurdle
Bloomberg.com Nov. 22, 2005

<snip>

Scanlon's guilty plea yesterday gives prosecutors a witness who may be able to provide evidence that lawmakers worked to pass legislation in exchange for favors, said Jim Cole, a former attorney with the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section. The Justice unit is spearheading the federal probe of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his former associate, Scanlon.

Scanlon's testimony may allow the government to overcome a defense based on the ``speech and debate'' clause of the Constitution, which protects lawmakers from being prosecuted for legislation they introduce or speeches they make in Congress, Cole and other experts said. Scanlon may be able to testify about deals between lawmakers and lobbyists; such quid pro quos wouldn't be protected by the Constitution.

``The speech and debate clause only prevents you from using a legislative act'' as evidence, Cole said. ``The agreement is the crime.''

<snip>

``It is very tricky to prosecute a congressman,'' said Cole, now a Washington-based attorney for the law firm Bryan Cave LLP. ``If a congressman gets on the floor of the Congress and says, ``I'm introducing this bill, I think it stinks, but I'm getting paid $100,000 to do it,' that statement can't be used, even though it is in the Congressional Record.''

Scanlon's cooperation may signal that prosecutors have testimony that can overcome this obstacle. ``If there is that explicit quid pro quo, that can be bribery,'' lawyer Reid Weingarten said last month. Weingarten, like Cole, served in the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section; he now is an attorney for the Washington-based firm Steptoe & Johnson LLP.

U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle accepted the plea agreement yesterday that calls for Scanlon to help prosecutors make their case against Abramoff and investigate his contacts in and around Capitol Hill.

``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.''

Link: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000103&sid=aWh2N_pjMHwE&refer=us
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tblue37 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 10:50 AM
Response to Reply #6
23. I hope they have Scanlon surrounded by plenty of security. (eom)
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #23
28. Definitely.
:scared:
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FreedomAngel82 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 02:25 AM
Response to Original message
7. This is going to be a big show down
I hope I have a front row seat!
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IkeWarnedUs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 02:54 AM
Response to Original message
9. Plea of guilty points to trail of corruption
Plea of guilty points to trail of corruption
Michael Scanlons admissions reveal wider investigation
Kansas City Star November 22, 2005

<snip>

On Friday, Scanlon was charged with conspiracy. On Monday, the Justice Departments statement of facts that Scanlon signed went considerably beyond the earlier charging document, revealing that trips, tickets to sporting events and campaign contributions went to other public officials besides Ney in exchange for official acts.

The statement of facts said Scanlon and Lobbyist A provided items of value to public officials in exchange for agreements to support and pass legislation, agreements to place statements in the Congressional Record, agreements to contact personnel in the United States Executive Branch agencies and offices to influence decisions of those agencies and offices.

Link: http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/nation/13229089.htm
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Lasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 05:04 AM
Response to Reply #9
14. Scanlon's going to sing like a canary
His guilty plea was a significant event.
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AuntiBush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 02:57 AM
Response to Original message
10. I'm Waiting
Stock-piled with plenty of :popcorn:
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W stands for Wacko Donating Member (99 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 03:17 AM
Response to Original message
11. Sadly, it will lead to new and improved Neo-Con enablers being elected.
Republicans control LieBold.
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cassiepriam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 06:33 AM
Response to Reply #11
17. I agree with you, they will only get more subtle and more clever.
They will not go away. We are right back to Viet Nam and Nixon
so it is clear the evil just recycles. And in more horrific terms.
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 03:26 AM
Response to Original message
12. Dodd was a big pusher of Bushite electronic voting companies counting
all our votes with "TRADE SECRET," PROPRIETARY programming code and no paper trail. I don't trust him at all. I wonder how many of Diebold's and ES&S's lavish lobbying junkets he has gone on, and what his interest is in rightwing corporations controlling the tabulation of our votes.

Bushite Republicans even make corrupt Democrats look good. What a rotten stinking lot of thieves!

I think the focus should be on getting our money back, not jail. Hit 'em where it hurts, in the pocketbook. Strip them of their ill gotten gains. And undo all their financial legislation--every tax cut for the rich, every corporate tax break, the bankruptcy bill, all of it.
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glitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 10:40 AM
Response to Reply #12
22. Added benefit of hurting them the most, money and power are all they value
I agree - strip them of it all.
Make them rely on the kindness of their friends. :evilgrin:
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ngGale Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 04:55 AM
Response to Original message
13. Making Baker look like penny ante stuff...
this should be good, I can hardly wait.:popcorn:
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starroute Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 05:19 AM
Response to Original message
15. Interesting that Rep. Jim Kolbe isn't running again
Edited on Thu Nov-24-05 05:21 AM by starroute
When Kolbe's decision was announced yesterday, I wondered if the Abramoff connection could be a factor. Kolbe wasn't one of Abramoff's regulars, but he did receive money from the Tigua tribe in 2002.
http://www.forward.com/campaignconfidential/archives/001500.php

A couple of years earlier, Kolbe had been one of only 44 Republicans in the House voting against an Internet gambling bill, in a short list that is heavy with Abramoff pals like DeLay, Ney, Blunt, Cannon, Cox, Doolittle, Hayworth, Pombo and Rohrabacher.
http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2000/roll404.xml

At this time, Abramoff was chief lobbyist for an online gambling company which paid his lobbying firm $720,000 in the course of 2000. According to Time Magazine:

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1050320-1,00.html
It was Congress's holiday for Memorial Day 2000, and majority whip Tom DeLay's staff thought the boss and two top aides deserved a respite from the arduous hours they had been putting in doing the people's business. They wanted to make sure DeLay's little delegation had the finest of everything on its weeklong trip to Britain--from lodgings at the Four Seasons Hotel in London to dinners at the poshest restaurants with the most interesting people, right down to the best tickets for The Lion King--at the time, one of the hottest shows playing on the West End and one for which good seats usually meant a six-month wait. So DeLay's congressional office turned to someone they trusted far more than any travel agent or concierge: lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

<snip>

Abramoff delivered on virtually everything DeLay's staff requested. "Jack didn't need this to go awry," recalls a lobbyist who then worked with Abramoff at the Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds law firm and who notes that the trip came at a critical moment. Congress was considering legislation (which died a month after the trip) that might have shut down Internet gambling--and jeopardized the livelihoods of some of Abramoff's biggest clients. Two of them--a Choctaw Indian tribe and the Internet gambling company eLottery Inc.--each wrote a check for $25,000 on May 25, 2000, the day DeLay departed, to the sponsor of the trip, the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative nonprofit foundation on whose board Abramoff sat. Those checks would cover most of the cost of the $70,000 junket. Sponsorship by the center made the trip allowable under House ethics rules, which prohibit lobbyists from paying for congressional travel.


Now, it's quite possible that Kolbe voted against that bill simply out of personal conviction -- the list of 44 does also include a certain number of Republican moderates and libertarians. And there's clearly no way the Tigua donation in 2002 could be connected to a vote from 2000. Kolbe may be feeling that being a gay Republican Congressperson is simply more of a hassle than it's worth.

But I still can't help wondering how many of the names in my Abramoff files are going to suddenly decide they want to spend more time with their families.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 06:28 AM
Response to Original message
16. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
texpatriot2004 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 09:47 AM
Response to Reply #16
18. Eur-RICO nt
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Old and In the Way Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #16
24. This is the real story.....where is the national press on this?
There's a Pulitzer Prise awaiting the journalist(s) who can get this published. Organized Crime has morphed into the Republican Party/Syndicate.
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leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. You do know that metamorphosis happened during WWII?
Edited on Thu Nov-24-05 01:09 PM by leveymg
As the Second World War was coming to an end, Meyer Lansky made a conscious decision to buy the GOP because they had a tighter lock on the federal judiciary than the Dems.

Lansky and John Foster Dulles (the RNC Chair) are the authors of the GOP's strategy to establish a stronghold in the southwest because it was relatively unpopulated and open to gambling and prostitution. In 1946, Lansky took over the LA and California mob and also started investing heavily in Havana, where the Mafia laundered its proceeds offshore.

Nixon came out of that strange alliance between Lansky and Dulles. Nixon's chief dirty tricks operator, Maurice Chontilier, was Lucianne Goldberg's mentor, and Goldberg was the mastermind of the Monica Lewinsky honey trap that snagged the Clenis.

The GOP-Arab oil connection developed during the 1950s, after Standard Oil and Gulf displaced BP and Shell from the Saudi oil fields. Here, we see the strange intersection of Israeli intelligence and Saudi moneymen emerge. The Bush dynasty is part of that nexis through Brown Bros. Harriman and Dresser Industries.

In this historical context, the Abramoff-GOP-Muslim Brotherhood alliance isn't really so strange.
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Old and In the Way Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #25
27. This is really fascinating and provides the necessary background
from which to understand the political-criminal class today. You ought to combine your 2 posts and start a separate thread on this subject Mark. Good stuff!
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AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 11:12 PM
Response to Reply #16
30. Agree 100%...
More attention needs to be focused on the foreign money laundering, and I do like your DK diary posting.


The 9/11 attack succeeded because this illegal Abramoff-Norquist money machine was being protected by, and was in turn protecting, terrorist financiers and nuclear weapons proliferators. That arrangement remains in place to this day, and still has not been publicly investigated.
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indepat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 10:07 AM
Response to Original message
19. All possible shenanigans could not possibly be as corrupt as legislation
they have rubber-stamped in near lockstep IMHO.
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converted_democrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 10:26 AM
Response to Original message
20. I so hope that this one, is the big one....n/t
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Horus45 Donating Member (317 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 01:06 PM
Response to Original message
26. If we ever win back our country we will make them all pay!
And I don't mean just for their crimes, we MUST tax the crap out of them!!
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 11:15 PM
Response to Original message
31. This be the one!
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