In light of this story today’s news from the Helena Independent Record seems especially interesting. In 2003 Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT) received a $1,000 check from a member of Team Abramoff, Kevin Ring, on the same day that Abramoff’s law firm inked a deal with Clark County in Montana at Rehberg’s recommendation.
Records show Rehberg’s campaign cashed a $1,000 check on March 31, 2003, from lobbyist Kevin Ring, a close associate of Abramoff’s at the Greenberg Traurig lobby house.
The same day, the campaign reported cashing a second $1,000 check from Greenberg Traurig’s political action committee. Records show the lobby house wrote the check in early February, but Rehberg didn’t cash it until the end of March.
Clark County was attempting to get the “main thoroughfare” through the county paved when Rehberg suggested that they hire Ring, a former staffer to Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) and Sen. John Ashcroft (R-MO). In July 2003 Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) finalized the bill that included the $9.6 million to pave the gravel road in the county. Baucus received $500 from another Greenberg Traurig lobbyist the day that Clark County inked the deal, April 3rd. However, Baucus never recommended the lobby firm or Ring to the county. Rehberg said that the campaign money didn’t matter to him. But if Abramoff’s emails and dealings with the NRCC tell us anything, it’s that campaign contributions are the Holy Grail for lawmakers and they are willing to walk across invisible bridges to get them.