Abramoff pleads guilty


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ceetee
January 4, 2006, 12:00 AM
Lobbyist Abramoff pleads guilty to federal conspiracy, tax and mail fraud charges (http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/southflorida/sfl-13abramoff,0,5005329.story?coll=sfla-home-headlines)

``Words will not ever be able to express my sorrow and my profound regret for all my actions and mistakes,'' Abramoff said, addressing the judge. ``I hope I can merit forgiveness from the Almighty and those I've wronged or caused to suffer.''

I hope the courthouse was thoroughly grounded against lightning...

Looks like he's also headed back here to Miami to plead guilty to a couple of the counts down this way. Not that he's innocent, or anything, but I think he's basically making himself into a scapegoat... and the full house of cards will never fall.

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Bruce H
January 4, 2006, 12:15 AM
I hope he has names and amounts of every under the table payment he ever made. I hope they are spread far and wide.

Lobotomy Boy
January 4, 2006, 01:01 AM
It looks like he's going to roll over on all the congress critters who took his bribes, turning over lists of names along with amounts of money given and what the congress critters did in return for the money, ie., voted for bills concerning Native American gaming. We're going to see at least six or seven congress critters go down in flames over this, and probably more.

Derby FALs
January 4, 2006, 01:21 AM
It looks like he's going to roll over on all the congress critters who took his bribes, turning over lists of names along with amounts of money given and what the congress critters did in return for the money, ie., voted for bills concerning Native American gaming. We're going to see at least six or seven congress critters go down in flames over this, and probably more.

Details (http://www.thinkprogress.org/abramoff)

DontShootMe
January 4, 2006, 01:54 AM
He'll get off completely or wrist slapped on a 'deal' to keep his mouth shut.

Justin
January 4, 2006, 03:02 AM
``Words will not ever be able to express my sorrow and my profound regret (at getting caught) for all my actions and mistakes,''


Fixed it.

hammer4nc
January 4, 2006, 08:53 AM
Re: Bribery (aka lobbying)...

It will be comical to watch the other skells (elected and otherwise) feign rightiousness; run for cover, as Abramoff is taken down and names names. His actions are repeated about a thousand times a day on capitol hill. :mad:

roo_ster
January 4, 2006, 09:19 AM
Abramoff is going down, but will not likely take too many congresscritters with him, as he was into both Reps (2/3) and Dems (1/3).

If he had stuck with only one party, the other party would have made a lot of hay about him. As it is, neither party wants to lose their big boys (Reps-Delay, Dems-Reid).

ceetee
January 4, 2006, 09:37 AM
If he had stuck with only one party, the other party would have made a lot of hay about him. As it is, neither party wants to lose their big boys (Reps-Delay, Dems-Reid).


According to the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics, 210 current members of Congress (133 Republicans and 77 Democrats), including six from Florida, accepted money from Abramoff, the Dania Beach SunCruz gambling ships he briefly owned, or several Indian tribes the lobbyist represented since 1999. During that time, Abramoff funneled $4.4 million in political contributions to them.


It's funny how there's a total lack of hue and cry for "justice" coming from those in power. The last quote I read from Scott McClellan (White House spokesman) started out, "If he's guilty..."

Lobotomy Boy
January 4, 2006, 09:54 AM
My guess is that they'll make examples of the congressmen who most blatantly got caught <> in Abramhoff's hand and spew the old "a few bad apples" stuff as a smokescreen for the others to hide behind.

Master Blaster
January 4, 2006, 10:22 AM
The best thing that could happen is if they could throw out all 210 members of congress who took bribes, I mean political contributions, bar all of them from holding any federal office and hold completely new elections.

The problem with our government is that the folks in Congress get too comfortable there. The longer they are in the more beholden they become to big money special interests.

Manedwolf
January 4, 2006, 11:07 AM
Abramoff is going down, but will not likely take too many congresscritters with him, as he was into both Reps (2/3) and Dems (1/3).

If he had stuck with only one party, the other party would have made a lot of hay about him. As it is, neither party wants to lose their big boys (Reps-Delay, Dems-Reid).

But the We the People want to lose the slimeballs of all parties. A shame more of We the People won't wake up and demand it...

RealGun
January 4, 2006, 12:07 PM
The issue is lobbying, and NRA is likely to be mentioned at some point.

72Rover
January 4, 2006, 12:36 PM
It looks like he's going to roll over on all the congress critters who took his bribes, turning over lists of names along with amounts of money given and what the congress critters did in return for the money, ie., voted for bills concerning Native American gaming.

The interesting bit is that he took money from one tribe in Texas trying to get a casino operation while simultaneously taking monies from another, neighboring tribe to *oppose* future casinos that might be competition to their existing one. What a slimeball.

"Where's my scalping knife...?"

72Rover
January 4, 2006, 01:03 PM
Bush to Give Up $6,000 Linked to Abramoff

By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer 12 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - President Bush's re-election campaign is giving up $6,000 in campaign contributions connected to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who faced more guilty pleas as part of a broad-ranging political corruption investigation.

The once-powerful lobbyist was due in federal court in Miami later Wednesday to plead guilty to fraud charges stemming from his purchases of a Florida gambling boat fleet called SunCruz. The plea is part of an agreement with prosecutors requiring him to cooperate in a broad corruption investigation into members of Congress.

In a plea agreement with government prosecutors Tuesday, Abramoff agreed to tell the FBI about alleged bribes to lawmakers and their aides on issues ranging from Internet gambling to wireless phone service in the House.

The full extent of the investigation is not yet known, but Justice Department officials said they intended to make use of the trove of e-mails and other material in Abramoff's possession as part of a probe that is believed to be focusing on as many as 20 members of Congress and aides.

"The corruption scheme with Mr. Abramoff is very extensive and we will continue to follow it wherever it leads," said Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher, head of the Justice Department's criminal division.

Bush joined several lawmakers, including House Speaker Dennis Hastert and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who have announced plans to donate Abramoff's campaign contributions to charity.

Abramoff raised at least $100,000 for the Bush-Cheney '04 re-election campaign, earning the honorary title "pioneer" from the campaign. But the campaign is returning only $6,000 directly from Abramoff, his wife and one of the Indian tribes that he worked to win influence for in Washington.

Abramoff, his wife and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan each donated $2,000 to the Bush campaign, said Republican National Committee spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt.

"As it stands, this is what we are returning," Schmitt said.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Wednesday that Bush does not know Abramoff personally, although it's possible that the two met at holiday receptions. Abramoff attended three Hanukkah receptions at the Bush White House, the spokesman said.

DeLay will give campaign contributions connected to Abramoff to charities, his spokesman, Kevin Madden, said in an e-mail Wednesday. The Texas Republican received at least $57,000 in political contributions from Abramoff, his lobbying associates or his tribal clients between 2001 and 2004. DeLay is now awaiting trial in Texas on charges of laundering campaign money used in races for the state legislature.

Court papers in Abramoff's case refer to an aide to DeLay who helped stop anti-gambling legislation regarding the Internet during a time in which DeLay was in the House Republican leadership. Abramoff, the papers state, paid the staffer's wife $50,000 from clients that benefited from the actions of the staffer, identified by a person close to the investigation as Tony Rudy, DeLay's former deputy chief of staff.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the probe is ongoing. Rudy did not return a phone call Tuesday at his lobbying firm.

DeLay, R-Texas, voted against his party on the Internet anti-gambling legislation which was designed to make it easier for authorities to stop online gambling sites.

DeLay attorney Richard Cullen said he believes that when the investigation is completed and the truth is known that the Justice Department will conclude that his client, who had risen to House majority leader before stepping down from the post last year, did nothing wrong.

Abramoff pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy, mail fraud and tax evasion, with his conduct outlined in court papers that refers to "a stream of things of value to public officials in exchange for a series of official acts and influence."

The political ramifications of the Abramoff probe were apparent, with minority Democrats intending to make ethics a campaign issue in this election year. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said Abramoff's confession in court was "not a surprise because this Republican Congress is the most corrupt in history and the American people are paying the price."

Some political consultants and analysts are comparing potential damage from the Abramoff investigation to the 1992 House banking scandal that led to the retirement or ouster of 77 lawmakers.

Abramoff's cooperation has made lawmakers nervous.

The court papers in the Washington case refer to Rep. Bob Ney (news, bio, voting record), R-Ohio, saying that regarding SunCruz, the congressman placed a statement drafted by Abramoff partner Michael Scanlon in the Congressional Record. The statement, the court papers say, was calculated to pressure the owner of SunCruz to sell on terms favorable to Abramoff.

Ney denies wrongdoing, saying that "at the time I dealt with Jack Abramoff, I obviously did not know, and had no way of knowing, the self-serving and fraudulent nature of Abramoff's activities."

Abramoff and his former partner, Adam Kidan, are charged with concocting a false $23 million wire transfer making it appear they contributed a sizable stake of their own cash into the $147.5 million purchase of cruise ships.

The court papers released Tuesday in Washington raised questions about Ney's former chief of staff, Neil Volz. The documents say the ex-staffer contacted the congressman on behalf of an Abramoff client that won a lucrative deal from Ney to improve cell phone reception in House buildings.

Volz contacted his ex-boss within one year of leaving the congressman's staff, the court papers say, a possible violation of federal conflict of interest laws which impose a one-year lobbying ban.

Volz referred questions to his attorney, who was not immediately available for comment.

Abramoff was once a well-connected lobbyist able to command almost unimaginable fees: A Louisiana tribe once paid Scanlon and him more than $30 million over 26 months. Now facing up to 11 years in prison, Abramoff apologized after pleading guilty.

"Words will not ever be able to express my sorrow and my profound regret for all my actions and mistakes," Abramoff said. "I hope I can merit forgiveness from the Almighty and those I've wronged or caused to suffer."

___

longeyes
January 4, 2006, 01:24 PM
While the country is struggling to find its way back to its ideals, we get this, the whole ugly Abramoff mess. Exactly what we don't need.

Well, it should prove a great primer for understanding the state of contemporary American politics.

But not to worry: A year from now Abramoff will probably be on a deep-sea fishing trip with Sandy Berger.

RealGun
January 4, 2006, 02:46 PM
Bush to Give Up $6,000 Linked to Abramoff

Oh, that's just great. The Bush involvement is a minor point in the article, but guess what the headline becomes.

chuckles
January 4, 2006, 02:50 PM
Now all the criminals,(elected representatives), are falling all over themselves trying to return the money. Funny how that only happens when they get caught. And they rarely get caught. Just the tip of the iceberg! :mad:

Kim
January 4, 2006, 03:59 PM
There is something real fishey about the Native-American gaming industry. Follow the money. They whine about all the good they do for THEIR people while the fat cats play dirty politics to cut out competition for THEIR people while THEIR people (some) live in poverty. Sounds like the good Jessie Jackson and how he takes care of HIS people. Group and ethnic politics is a scam and if THEIR peopple would ever get enought courage and good sense to break away from THEIR people they just might make it off the Plantation and Reservations.

Derby FALs
January 4, 2006, 04:10 PM
Oh, that's just great. The Bush involvement is a minor point in the article, but guess what the headline becomes.

Especially when he got $100,000 but is only returming $6000...

:p

HankB
January 4, 2006, 04:57 PM
Iceberg Principle: You can only see 10% of an iceberg.

For every one like Abramoff we see doing the perp walk, there are 9 more (at least!) who remain in the shadows, too smart or too discreet to get caught.

Malone LaVeigh
January 4, 2006, 07:15 PM
The piddly amounts of money that some of these slimeball pols are returning and Abramoff is repaying his clients are the real tip of the iceberg. What they all ought to be required to repay is the millions in boondoggle pork barrel bridges-to-nowhere type projects, targeted subsidies and tax breaks, etc that these payoffs bought and which we the taxpayers paid for. Then they ought to be thrown in the slammer or put up against a wall somewhere.

Manedwolf
January 4, 2006, 07:43 PM
While the country is struggling to find its way back to its ideals, we get this, the whole ugly Abramoff mess. Exactly what we don't need.

Well, it should prove a great primer for understanding the state of contemporary American politics.

But not to worry: A year from now Abramoff will probably be on a deep-sea fishing trip with Sandy Berger.

No, I think it's just what we need. The congressional equivalent of Drano in a grease-clogged pipe. Flush the crap out, and maybe things will run a bit more smoothly. A reminder that these people are supposed to be PUBLIC SERVANTS, not corrupt under-the-table greasy money-grubbers who take dollars for votes.

RealGun
January 4, 2006, 08:15 PM
No, I think it's just what we need. The congressional equivalent of Drano in a grease-clogged pipe. Flush the crap out, and maybe things will run a bit more smoothly. A reminder that these people are supposed to be PUBLIC SERVANTS, not corrupt under-the-table greasy money-grubbers who take dollars for votes.

The timing is good in the sense that deadlines approach for declaring whether one is running for reelection this year. You gotta know that there is some partisan head counting going on, hand wringing about maintaining or obtaining majority positions and all that.

Lobotomy Boy
January 4, 2006, 09:33 PM
There is something real fishey about the Native-American gaming industry.

Not that there's anything fishy about the non-Native-American gaming industry. ;)

Today I was thinking aobut what it must have been like when Congress figured out a way to make campaign contributions from lobbyists legal:

Genuis Congressmen: "Hey guys! Guess what! I just figured out a way to make bribery legal!"

All other Congressmen: "Yay! This will change everything!"

It certainly did change everything.

Helmetcase
January 4, 2006, 10:13 PM
Abramoff is going down, but will not likely take too many congresscritters with him, as he was into both Reps (2/3) and Dems (1/3).

Apparently that's not the case. He actually did only give money to Repubs. Makes sense, if your business is brokering power, you only bother dealing with the people in power.

Lobotomy Boy
January 4, 2006, 10:16 PM
He actually did only give money to Repubs. I thought I heard on the radio that he did give money to Byron Dorgan, a Dem from North Dakota, but this was early in the case and I wasn't paying as close attention as I have been lately.

Helmetcase
January 4, 2006, 10:27 PM
Hmmm. That might be right, but I came across this today, for what it's worth, someone did a check on Abramhoff's contribution records. (http://americablog.blogspot.com/2006/01/what-was-that-about-abramoff-giving.html)

There probably is a Dem contribution here or there somewhere if he was trying to get a casino vote in a location where he needed a Dem vote...but the gist of what the spinmeisters are getting at--that this is a bipartisan scandal--doesn't appear to be supportable, which doesn't surprise me...not because Repubs are necessarily more susceptible to this sort of corruption (I'll wager they're all as likely to take dirty money) but because they've got the power.

Malone LaVeigh
January 4, 2006, 10:52 PM
Not that there aren't plenty of corrupt Dems, but Abramoff was a Repub operator ever since college accd to the report I read.

ceetee
January 5, 2006, 01:37 AM
Apparently that's not the case. He actually did only give money to Repubs.

Source... Capitol Eye dot org. (http://www.capitaleye.org/abramoff_recips.asp?sort=N)

It looks like the Reps on the take outnumber the Dems by a considerable margin, but the Dems are definitely there.

Kim
January 5, 2006, 01:52 AM
I think this is all funny. Why you ask? Well I makes me think of the congresscritter from California the infamous Rep. Stark. It was back in the 1980's I believe when he had a hissy fit about physicians owning Nursing Homes, Hospitals and goodies they got from BIG Pharma and he pushed all kinds of restrictive laws on the type of relationships that would be legal. I never knew of a single physician who got anything from BIG PHARMA or kickbacks for admitting patients etc. Doesn't mean it did not happen. So now we have all these laws with big penalities hanging over our heads and the drug reps leave pens. I guess those are O:K. and here is our great congress crittters getting all kinds of trips, tickets ,meals etc. This is nothing new just political arguing and it will not stop anything. But beware ---- you are not a member of the elite Government and there will be law upon law to make sure you only get a pen. And all the Masses will give applause to the great reformers for the little people. I'm still laughing.:neener:

ceetee
January 5, 2006, 09:57 AM
...I never knew of a single physician who got anything from BIG PHARMA or kickbacks for admitting patients etc...

Ummm..... Google "Bill Frist Scandal".

Journal reports probe into whether Senate leader had insider knowledge (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9450770/from/RL.1/)

Leatherneck
January 5, 2006, 10:01 AM
There certainly were democrats who took his money (to the tune of $1.2 million or so), but Malone is right in that he was primarily buying the favor of Republicans. :cuss:

TC

garyk/nm
January 5, 2006, 11:34 AM
Meh...more smoke and ponies.
There will be a few visible scapegoats. Those scapegoats will be selected from the group up for re-election this year who have little chance of winning.

roo_ster
January 5, 2006, 01:31 PM
Especially when he got $100,000 but is only returming $6000...
One thing to note & savor: That $100K and most of the other monies that some congresscritters are returning/donating, etc...were all legal under the recent McCain/Feingold campaighn finance "reform" act.

Apparently that's not the case. He actually did only give money to Repubs. Makes sense, if your business is brokering power, you only bother dealing with the people in power.
Been addressed. Note that Patrick? Kennedy, who got upwards of $100K? has decided not to give a dime back.

? I'm doing this from memory & can't recall which philanderer Kennedy it was & can't recall exact $$ amount.

Malone LaVeigh
January 5, 2006, 06:14 PM
Note that Patrick? Kennedy, who got upwards of $100K? has decided not to give a dime back.
Let me anticipate the excuse: "But I worked hard for that money, and ruined a perfectly good pair of pants."

LAK
January 6, 2006, 06:32 AM
Looks like he's also headed back here to Miami to plead guilty to a couple of the counts down this way. Not that he's innocent, or anything, but I think he's basically making himself into a scapegoat... and the full house of cards will never fall.
He's nothing to worry about, he won't serve hard time. And like his cronies before him, George Bush doesn't shy from having convicted felons serving under him. Abramoff might have a bright career in front of him.
--------------------------------

http://ussliberty.org
http://ssunitedstates.org

ceetee
January 6, 2006, 10:17 AM
He's nothing to worry about, he won't serve hard time. And like his cronies before him, George Bush doesn't shy from having convicted felons serving under him. Abramoff might have a bright career in front of him.


What does a pardon cost these days? (It used to be several million paid back to the IRS...)

Master Blaster
January 6, 2006, 10:39 AM
What does a pardon cost these days? (It used to be several million paid back to the IRS...)

Bill Klintoon only charged Mark Rich $1 million for his pardon, a great deal since he owed the IRS $250 million and was hiding from them in Switzerland / or the Caymen Islands depending on wether it was skiing season.:) It helped that his ex wife who is a very HOT Blond deliverd the Check to Billybob herself.

Al,I invented the Internet,Gore took $68,000 from the Communist Chinese lobbiest if you recall.

As far as the Democrats vs the Republicans goes, The Washington Post reported that there were 77 Democrats who took money from Abramoff, and 133 Republicans. Harry Reed democrap minority Leader took $78,000.
In my state DE my two democrp senators Biden and Carper only took $6,000 but they claim its all from the Indian Tribes Abramoff represents so its OK.:confused:
Delaware only has the Nanicoke Tribe, which doesnt have any land or casinos.
But then Joe Biden's biggest contributor is the American trial Lawyers Assoc. which gave him $3.5 million in the last campaign.:barf: Our one republican congressman Mike Castle didnt take any money from Abramoff.:)

My take on this, is that there are more republicans representeing the states with Indian tribes, than there are democrats, Just like the democrats get more money from the ACLU cause they have more ACLU members in their states.

Or it could be Abramoff felt he needed to bribe more republican, to get them to vote his way, because the democrats already vote for the downtrodden Indians, and therefor dont need a contribution.;)

The answer to the lobbying problem is two five year terms for both houses and you are OUT, never to serve in Congress or the senate again. And a limit on campaign spending of $500,000 in any election. That would make these folks get out and work for the votes they get rather than relying on lots of expensive TV ads.

Dannyboy
January 6, 2006, 11:00 AM
I heard yesterday that the Dems wanted any Republicans who received money to give it back but Harry Reid recieved money and refused to give that back. Evidently, an aide said that it was a Republican scandal and it only affected them.

72Rover
January 6, 2006, 01:06 PM
I wonder if this will work next time I get a speeding ticket? "Officer, what if I drive just as fast in reverse for a while? That surely must negate a summons...." I don't think so.

Or if you rob a bank. Offer to give the money back, but only if you get caught later. I don't think so. The legal metaphor often used in courtrooms is that you can't 'un-ring' a bell.

This will proove to be the biggest scandal in Washington since Teapot Dome in the 1920's. "Whitewatergate" was nothing compared to this, and it exceeds even the sleaze surrounding Watergate. No, the Repugs (and a few Dems) are hip-deep in this mess, including the President who 'returned' $6,000 yesterday. A piddling amount, but in for a penny, in for a pound.

I've got a great case of schadenfreude going on right now....

ceetee
January 6, 2006, 02:59 PM
...As far as the Democraps vs the Republiturds goes...

I'm not sure if you're trying to be funny or sarcastic, but using insults to describe people sure doesn't make them want to see your point.

I do agree that we need strict campaign finance reform. I'd also like to see a spending limit. Any money collected must be used in the next campaign, and any left over after the election should have to go to one of a few select (honest) charities.

Never happen.

Lobotomy Boy
January 6, 2006, 03:15 PM
I can understand the impulse to describe the leaders of each party in derogatory terms. In my non-moderated conversations I often use imagery related to Roman brothels when discussing the U.S. Congress, but you are correct that it doesn't help further discourse in a forum such as this.

RealGun
January 6, 2006, 03:15 PM
I'm not sure if you're trying to be funny or sarcastic, but using insults to describe people sure doesn't make them want to see your point.

Or even continue reading the post.

Helmetcase
January 6, 2006, 03:54 PM
One thing to note & savor: That $100K and most of the other monies that some congresscritters are returning/donating, etc...were all legal under the recent McCain/Feingold campaighn finance "reform" act.

I used to think McCain was a super candidate, but he continually gets more egg on his face all the time.

Been addressed. Note that Patrick? Kennedy, who got upwards of $100K? has decided not to give a dime back.I should have been more specific. Abramhoff clients, Indian tribes, etc gave money to Democrats, but Jack himself only gave money to Repubs. Makes sense, the guy was clearly trying to buy Republican influence.

Kim
January 6, 2006, 04:06 PM
Good grief the spin. It was this guys dealings with the Indian Tribe money that is at question not his own contributions. Now let us not forget that lobbying is a protected constitutional right-----------the right to petition your government. Ya'll really don't won't that to go away. The big problem is the government as ususal is so involved in every persons and every business that there is so much lobbying going on. When the Enviiro get congress to pass legislation about what kind of toilet you can make,use, how to intall it of coarse there is going to be lobbying. Get the government out of everyones business and we can go forward more quietly and less expensive with our lives. NEVER GOING TO HAPPWN AS LONG AS THE COMMERCE CLAUSE continues to be used to regulate you personally and everything else. This case is a bunch of nothing in the long run.

RealGun
January 6, 2006, 04:27 PM
Again, I think this flap about lobbyists will involve NRA, GOA et al. I expect all the talk will be about ensuring the integrity of Congress members, but won't be surprised to find that the fine print will include measures to cut back on the effectiveness of gun owners during gun legislation proceedings.

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