Matt Taibbi Profiles Abramoff


Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi pens an informative and hilarious portrait of superlobbyist Jack Abramoff’s career:

He was an amazingly ubiquitous figure, a sort of Zelig of the political right — you could find him somewhere, in the foreground or the background, in almost every Republican political scandal of the past twenty-five years. He carried water for the racist government of Pretoria during the apartheid days and whispered in the ear of those Republican congressmen who infamously voted against anti-apartheid resolutions. He organized rallies in support of the Grenada invasion, showed up in Ollie North’s offices during Iran-Contra, palled around with Mobutu Sese Seko, Jonas Savimbi and the Afghan mujahedin.


All along, Abramoff was buying journalists, creating tax-exempt organizations to fund campaign activities and using charities to fund foreign conflicts. He spent the past twenty years doing business with everyone from James Dobson to the Gambino family, from Ralph Reed to Grover Norquist to Karl Rove to White House procurements chief David Safavian. He is even lurking in the background of the 2004 Ohio voting-irregularities scandal, having worked with the Diebold voting-machine company to defeat requirements for a paper trail in elections.


He is a living museum of corruption, and in a way it is altogether too bad that he is about to disappear from public scrutiny. In a hilariously tardy attempt to attend to his moral self-image, lately he has been repackaging himself as a fallen prophet, a humbled super-Jew who was guilty only of going too far to serve God. He was the "softest touch in town," he has said, a sucker for causes who "incorrectly didn’t follow the mitzvah of giving away at most twenty percent."