Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Lobbying Plan Was Central to GOP's Political Strategy - Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Times places admitted felon Jack Abramoff's corrupt operation squarely at the center of Republican plans to cement their hold on the legislative process in Washington.

Here are the first three paragraphs:
WASHINGTON — The corruption investigation surrounding lobbyist Jack Abramoff shows the significant political risk that Republican leaders took when they adopted what had once seemed a brilliant strategy for dominating Washington: turning the K Street lobbying corridor into a cog of the GOP political machine.

Abramoff thrived in the political climate fostered by GOP leaders, including Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas), who have methodically tried to tighten the links between the party in Congress and business lobbyists, through what has become known as the "K Street Project."

GOP leaders, seeking to harness the financial and political support of K Street, urged lobbyists to support their conservative agenda, give heavily to Republican politicians and hire Republicans for top trade association jobs. Abramoff obliged on every front, and his tentacles of influence reached deep into the upper echelons of Congress and the Bush administration.
The article goes on to report that some Republicans are proposing making a push for ethics reform in the hopes of repairing the damage done to their party by this scandal! The phrase "re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic" comes to mind for some reason.

Abramoff was a Republican operative before he became a corrupt lobbyist and one need do no more than follow the money to see where his allegiance was:
According to a study by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, 296 members of Congress since 1999 have received contributions from Abramoff, his Indian tribe clients or SunCruz Casinos. Abramoff and his wife contributed $204,253 — all of it to Republicans.

In addition, Abramoff also leaned on his Indian clients to give to key lawmakers. The center found that Abramoff's clients gave almost $4.2 million, more than half to Republicans.
Republicans who took money from Abramoff and his clients are now scrambling to give it back or away. They can run but they can't hide.

This scandal is about money and power. The Republicans have had power and accumulated a lot of money. Abramoff was their key player who epitomized what the K Street Project was all about.

It's too late to run and it's too late to hide. It's all falling apart now. Abramoff knows his operation and he's been talking to prosecutors for 18 months.

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