December 29, 2005

Abramoff's Messy Affair

The Abramoff scandal will be filling the news pages in the coming days as Abramoff faces his first trial January 9th in Florida. But because of his unique position in the Republican corruption scandal, to keep your eyes on the ball, one needs a little cheat sheet of who's who in the Abramoff web. The Washington Post has a nice little page that pulls together a bunch of pieces for our edification. Here's links to some key players.

Jack Abramoff
Michael Scanlon
Adam Kidan
Ben Waldman
Kostantinos "Gus" Boulis
Grover Norquist
Ralph Reed
Italia Federici
Rev. Louis P. Sheldon
David H. Safavian
J. Stevens Griles
Rep. Robert Ney (R-Ohio)
Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas)
Senator Conrad Burns (R-Montana)
Senator John McCain (R-Arizona)
Senator Bryon Dorgan (D-North Dakota)
Tony C. Rudy

Some great quotes that have come out of the scandal that keeps on giving:

"Everyone is lying. Those S.O.B.s. DeLay knew everything. He knew all the details."

Jack Abramoff

"I wish I had never met Jack."

Adam Kidan

"[Slow down or you will be] dead, disgraced or in jail."

Senior Preston Gates Partner

"You can't be trusted."

Rich Bond, former RNC Chairman

"This Abramoff guy is a bad guy. I hope he goes to jail and we never see him again. I wish he'd never been born, to be right honest with you."

Senator Conrad Burns

One thing that I've been hearing lately is that this scandal isn't really very different from the check bouncing scandal of the 1990s and these kinds of things happen all the time. Of course, these talking points haven't gotten to everyone yet, so there are still some Republicans who are speaking out of turn.

Former Republican congressman Mickey Edwards (Okla.), usually a defender of lobbying and Congress, said there have always been members who get caught "stuffing money in their pants." But he said this is different -- a "disgusting" and disturbingly broad scandal driven by lobbyists whose attitude seemed to be "government to the highest bidder."

"This is at a scale that is really shocking," said Edwards, who teaches public and international affairs at Princeton. "There is a certain kind of arrogance that in the past you might not have had. They were so supremely confident that there didn't seem to be any kind of moral compass here."

Posted by Mary at December 29, 2005 08:12 AM | Corruption & Graft | Technorati links |
Comments

Great post. I had almost given up keeping track of these sharks.

My question is, does going through legalities with indictments, trials and convictions and appeals really going to get us anywhere?

Don't we need to change the law to prohibit or minimize the influence of lobbyists on legislation and corporate money on election campaigns? Short of organizing a huge grassroots movement around returning government to the people and throwing out the rich, the Pentagon and the special corporate interests, I don't know what to do.

I think the American people are too easily subdued and rendered complacent about fighting for their Constitutional rights. If that doesn't change, nothing will.

Posted by: liberal elite at December 29, 2005 09:17 AM

I think the American people are too easily subdued and rendered complacent about fighting for their Constitutional rights. If that doesn't change, nothing will.

And what do you propose?

Free-way blogging? Boutique blogging? Hiring your own set of lawyers/lobbyists? Sit-ins? Parades? Teach-ins? C-SPAN call-ins? Astroturfing for liberals? Lawsuits?

Really.

It's nice to sit back and blame the American people, the Bushes, and everyone else you don't with whom you disagree. It's safe.

Most of us (I'm an American citizen) have watched with horror as the Bush machine destroys the letters of the law. Unfortunately the spirits of those laws were destroyed long ago.

It's not enough to point and say, "look at those bad, bad men." They'll laugh behind your back as they read your emails.

When, early on, Bush defied the Presidential Records Act, the tone was set. They ask you, me, and everyone, one single question:

"What are you going to do about it?"

So far, no one has a decent plan. So instead of wailing about how bad they are (and if Abramoff is a bad guy, consider the Carlyle Group that explicitly and rather profitably buys and sells influence.)

Posted by: Milton at December 30, 2005 03:51 AM

Offer an alternative.

Posted by: Milton at December 30, 2005 03:53 AM