Three Republican members of the House of Representatives (including Charles Boustany's patron Tom DeLay), a Republican U.S. Senator, 17 current and former congressional aides, plus an official in the Interior Department and the government's procurement office are under scrutiny by the Justice Department's public integrity and fraud divisions. Boustany also received money from political action committees that received money from Abramoff.
Here's how Reuters described the Journal's thumbnail description of the investigation:
It said investigators were looking into whether Abramoff and his partners made illegal payoffs to the lawmakers and aides in the form of campaign contributions, sports tickets, meals, travel and job offers, in exchange for helping their clients.The amount of money involved on the Indian casino side of this scandal alone ($80 million!) makes all other Washington corruption scandals pale in comparison.
This is no accident. It is well known that Republicans, under DeLay's leadership, have made a concerted effort to seize control of the money in politics, by pressuring companies to hire former Republican aides and congressmen as lobbyists. This is the infamous K Street Project.
K Street is the street of choice in Washington where lobbyists have set up shop.
Now that indictments have begun to flow and people, like Scanlon, have started to enter plea bargains, the scope of this scandal will begin to become clear. This is only the beginning.
One thing that is over: Any Republican claim to integrity. Lord Acton needs to be updated. Apparently, the very attempt to gather absolute power is corrupting.