Almost out of money and definitely out of luck, lobbyist Jack Abramoff is reported nearing a deal with federal prosecutors that could implicate as many as a dozen members of Congress in a corruption scandal unlike anything seen in modern American politics.
If a deal is struck (there are two sets of federal investigators unravelling Abramoff's various scams), what will set this scandal apart from others will be the fact that it reached so high up and so wide into a single party (that would be the Republican Party that had as its public face that of former Majority Leader Tom DeLay).
Congressman Charles Boustany is travelling on a photo-op to Iraq with one of the Congressmen who will likely be among the first Abramoff will bring down with him, Bob Ney of Ohio.
Boustany is also linked to the scandal through the significant amounts of money his two campaigns (2004 and the upcoming 2006 campaign) received from DeLay's main political action committee (Americans for a Republican Majority). DeLay figures to be another of the elected officials Abramoff will implicate.
In exchange for that 2004 campaign money, Boustany voted to effectively shut down the House Ethics Committee in order to protect DeLay in a vote cast by the rookie Congressman on his first day official day as a member of the House of Representatives.
What has become clear through press coverage (and what Abramoff's plea deals will confirm) is that a culture of corruption arose in Washington centered around the efforts by DeLay and others in the Republican leadership to grab control of the legislative and lobbying mechanisms in the capital. The extent of the corruption that will be revealed will only prove the success of the effort.
Like the Texas redistricting scandal in which DeLay finds himself facing criminal charges, all of this Washington scandal is about seizing money for political gain to distort the electoral process and usher in an era of permanent Republican majority rule.
These are the people and the methods that brought Charles Boustany to Congress. Now he's going to have to dance with the ones that brung him!