Abramoff

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Mariner, Jan 10, 2006.

  1. Mariner
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    Mariner Active Member

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    Who's he going to bring down? What do you guys think of his willingness to plea bargain? Will we see real lobbying reform after this? How is it remotely possible that if I offer a golfing trip to a Senator I won't have greater access than a citizen who can't offer that--but may be on the right side of some issue that the Senator's about to vote on? Should we just end gift-giving as part of lobbying? (Just as we should end gift-giving from drug companies to doctors--I personally accept no gifts, and never have.)

    From today's New York Times:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/10/politics/10lobbyist.html?th=&emc=th&pagewanted=print

    January 10, 2006
    From Big-Time Lobbyist to Object of Derision

    By KATE ZERNIKE and ANNE E. KORNBLUT
    WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 - Jack Abramoff, former superlobbyist and newly convicted felon, is learning how unpleasant disgrace can be.

    After pleading guilty last week to federal corruption charges in Washington and Florida, Mr. Abramoff is now mocked by late-night comedians and editorial cartoonists.

    Television commentators are calling him a scoundrel, even "Satan." A fashion writer described him as a fat mobster in his black fedora and trench coat.

    His most diehard defenders have fled, and people he once counted as friends privately insist that they were never all that close.

    Even if Mr. Abramoff wanted to escape the suburban home where he has hunkered down, the knee surgery he underwent Thursday has hobbled him. He sits at home, friends say, speculating about which of the people who no longer return his calls are making which anonymous snipes in the newspapers.

    "He can connect the dots and figure out which of his former friends are hitting him that way," said Elie Pieprz, a friend of Mr. Abramoff's since they met at synagogue two decades ago. "Anyone who is successful and well connected, people flock to, and it's hard to know who are your real friends and who is just using you. Times like this, you find out who your friends are. But that's not something Jack wanted to know."

    His pariah status, of course, is not surprising. Mr. Abramoff acknowledged in his guilty pleas that he bilked Indian tribes of $20 million. In e-mail messages disclosed over the last year, he had called the tribes troglodytes and far worse. He lied to clients, evaded taxes and tried to bribe lawmakers.

    And, of course, he is dangerous. As part of his plea, Mr. Abramoff agreed to become the star witness in what many say could be the most explosive corruption investigation in Congressional history.

    Mr. Abramoff's ties to the Republican Party stretch into the executive branch, and he could implicate up to 12 members of Congress, people involved in the case said.

    * * *

    Mariner
     
  2. rtwngAvngr
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    rtwngAvngr Guest

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    Is abramoff all you libs have now? How about a plan for the future which doesn't involve weakening america abroad and killing our economy with socialist delusion?
     
  3. Jimmyeatworld
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    Jimmyeatworld Silver Member

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    Wow. It took two people to write that.

    So far it's mostly speculation and accusation. Some say it includes both Democrats and Republicans while others say it doesn't. Considering the sources saying as many as 60 members of congress are involved are the same ones that were saying there were 10,000 dead bodies in New Orleans, I think I'll wait for more information, and not from the New York Times.
     
  4. Mariner
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    Mariner Active Member

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    world Right vs. Left to you? Aren't some issues more complicated than a simple dichotomy? Lobbying has stained our politics on both sides of the aisle, and has increased markely in recent years. Finally, there is some momentum to do something about it. The most courageous voice against the corrosive influence of money in politics isn't a "lib," as you call us, it's John McCain.

    (But if you want to play us vs. them, then, no Abramoff isn't all we have. We have the pleasures of watching the DeLay case, the Plame affair, the wiretapping scandal, Guantanamo Bay, Jose Padilla, and what's-his-name rightwinger from San Diego. There's been plenty of fun for the diehard "libs" recently, as one right wing scandal after another appears in the daily papers.)

    Most Americans are moderates, and commonsensical, on most of these issues. The us/them thing is created in part by the current electoral mess, where if you're not a multimillionaire, don't even think about running for Congress, and once you're there, you move to the extreme position that most satisfies the most vocal elements of your base--but no longer represents most of your constituents.

    So, how about sharing your opinion on the propriety of lobbying versus the right to free speech, which has so far protected even outrageous junkets like golfing trips to Scotland?

    Mariner.
     
  5. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    I thought McCain and Feingold solved the problem with money in politics or was that just a piss poor ,token effort that everyone made such a big deal about? :teeth:
     
  6. Mariner
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    Mariner Active Member

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    so watered down as to be almost meaningless. Republicans and Democrats in Congress are now competing to see who can come with the strictest policies on lobbying. This could be wonderful for our country--millions of dollars in political contributions that end up feeding multimillionaires in Washington restaurants and sending them around the world will instead be free to do something good for our society. The K Street lobbying machine, designed to influence Congress via $$$, could be dead. I fervently hope so. Congressman should be listening to their constituents and to people from every walk of life, not to those able to pay for access.

    The Associated Press got ahold of a letter that gives a little hint of the scandals to come. The detail I love in this letter is that DeLay made a plea on behalf of an Indian tribe that he obviously knew nothing about, since he identified their town and state incorrectly. This strengthens the obvious suspicion that his reason for writing the letter had nothing to do with the tribe itself and much to do with the contribution made a couple of weeks before to one of his little money-gathering businesses:

    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1153AP_Lobbyist_Fraud_DeLay.html

    Tuesday, January 10, 2006 ยท Last updated 6:21 p.m. PT

    DeLay tried, failed to aid Abramoff client

    By SUZANNE GAMBOA
    ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

    Former House majority leader Tom DeLay tried to pressure the Bush administration into shutting down the Indian-owned casino that lobbyist Jack Abramoff wanted closed shortly after a tribal client of Abramoff's donated to a political action committee DeLay launched, The Associated Press has learned. DeLay, R-Texas, demanded closure of the casino, owned by the Alabama-Coushatta tribe of Texas, in a Dec. 11, 2001 letter to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
    WASHINGTON -- Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay tried to pressure the Bush administration into shutting down an Indian-owned casino that lobbyist Jack Abramoff wanted closed - shortly after a tribal client of Abramoff's donated to a DeLay political action committee, The Associated Press has learned.

    The Texas Republican demanded closure of the casino, owned by the Alabama-Coushatta tribe of Texas, in a Dec. 11, 2001 letter to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft. The Associated Press obtained the letter from a source who did not want to be identified because of an ongoing federal investigation of Abramoff and members of Congress.

    "We feel that the Department of Justice needs to step in and investigate the inappropriate and illegal actions by the tribe, its financial backers, if any, and the casino equipment vendors," said the letter, which was also signed by Texas Republican Reps. Pete Sessions, John Culberson and Kevin Brady.

    Sessions' political action committee received $6,500 from Abramoff's tribal clients within three months after signing the letter. A spokeswoman for Sessions said he considers gaming a state issue. She said the tribe was circumventing state law and Sessions signed the letter in defense of Texas laws.

    Ashcroft never took action on the request. The Texas casino was closed the following year by a federal court ruling in a 1999 lawsuit filed by the state's attorney general, John Cornyn, now a U.S. senator.

    Kevin Madden, DeLay's spokesman, said DeLay's actions "were based on policy considerations and their effect on his constituents. Mr. DeLay always makes decisions with the best interests of his constituents in mind."

    The letter was sent at least two weeks after the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, a tribal client of Abramoff's, contributed $1,000 to Texans for a Republican Majority, or TRMPAC. That political action committee is at the center of the campaign finance investigation that yielded money laundering charges against DeLay and forced him temporarily out of the majority leader's job.

    The letter also was sent to Interior Secretary Gale Norton; the U.S. attorney for Texas' eastern district; the chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who took over when Bush was elected president.

    Its author appears to have been unfamiliar with the Alabama-Coushatta. It said the tribe was based in "Livingstone," and that the tribe had opened a casino "against the wishes of the citizens of Alabama." The tribe's reservation is in Livingston, Texas.
     
  7. manu1959
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    manu1959 Left Coast Isolationist

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    lobbying has not stained politics.....politicians that can be influenced have stained politics......if our politicians actually gave a shit about the people that voted for them lobbiests would not have an effect
     
  8. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    If the people gave a shi*, the lobbiests would not have an effect. :coffee3:
     
  9. Mariner
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    Mariner Active Member

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    companies spend $5000 per physician per year promoting their products, often by sponsoring lunches, giving away schwag, and supporting trips for "educational purposes" to exotic destinations. I've personally done my best to avoid taking anything. I don't meet with the drug reps, even though they are often pretty and flirtatious as can be, and I don't accept the gifts.

    Would drug companies spend such exorbitant sums if it didn't buy them something? When someone gives you a gift, you feel a deep social obligation to repay it.

    In any case, I don't like the idea of legislators trotting the globe or eating out on lobbyist money. They ought to be studying issues and listening to their constituents rather than having this type of fun on the job.

    Of course I agree with you, Kathianne, that it's ultimately legislators' fault if they accept these gifts or allow themselves to be influenced. But it's probably too easy to arrive in D.C. and say, "that's how it's done."

    Mariner.
     
  10. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Let me tell you, text publishers spend a heck of a lot trying to get me to sign up for their books. Drs., of course, face even more sales pitches. Now, if everyone concentrated on letting their reps know that you are watching them, always, they would be much less tempted to stray of the straight and narrow. It's the 'peoples' fault.'

    Without an involved electorate, we get what we give...
     

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