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Tag Archive: Jack Abramoff

Abramoff Fox Guarding the Henhouse

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More often than not, scandals in Washington run their course: apologies, resignations, jail time, followed by book deals and CNN interviews. But not the Jack Abramoff scandal. The Associated Press gives word that the former deputy chief of staff of the Department of Justice's Criminal Division, Robert Coughlin, is being charged for accepting gifts from Abramoff and his law firm as they tried to woo him to join their team.

In court papers filed Monday in federal court in Washington, prosecutors accused Coughlin of providing assistance to a lobbyist and the lobbyist's firm while receiving gifts from the firm and discussing prospective employment there. The lobbyist isn't named but The Associated Press has previously reported that Coughlin was lobbied during the period in question by Kevin Ring, a member of Abramoff's lobbying team who also is under investigation.

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Happy Birthday Jack!

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Today is Jack Abramoff's 50th birthday. He'll be celebrating in a federal prison in Cumberland, MD.

In case you forgot what this was all about, or never followed the massive corruption scandal, the Washington Post has a feature on their coverage, which won the Pulitzer.

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Don Young Doesn’t Know

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Rep. Don Young has been on the hot seat ever since he sponsored the infamous Bridge to Nowhere earmark. Since then he has come under investigation for more things than any other sitting member of Congress. Young faces an FBI investigation into his participation in fishing and golfing events with VECO oil executives; he is receiving scruting for the hiring of his former aide Mark Zachares, who has pled guilty, by Jack Abramoff; and fellow Republicans are seeking an investigation into his inclusion of an earmark for Coconut Road in Florida - which happens to be a long ways from Alaska. In the face of all these difficulties Young sat down with reporters to discuss his reelection campaign, but reporters wanted to talk about something else. If you want to see what an arrogant stone wall looks like, you should follow the link and watch this interview. It's a doozy.

Don Young's KTVA Interview Video. 

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Indian Gambling Scandal Redux?

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The San Diego Union-Tribune reported recently about a curious case involving four California Indian gambling interests and how they obtained federal approval for a major and lucrative expansion of their operations. The paper described the incident a "major embarrassment" for the U.S. Department of the Interior and a "potential scandal unfolding from within."

Four tribes had been pushing legislation in the California state legislature to ratify a major expansion of their gaming operations. Specifically, they are hoping to gain approval to increase dramatically the number of slot machines at their casinos, constituting "one of the largest gambling expansions in state history," according to The Union-Tribune. It would also make the casinos some of the largest in the country, and the tribes would be looking at huge future profits. A group of gambling opponents, No on the Unfair Gambling Deals, filed an initiative that is forcing a February 5th statewide vote that if passes will nullify legislation that ratified the agreements. In September, despite the pending referendum, California's secretary of state, saying that state law requires it, sent the agreements via Federal Express to the Interior Department for approval.

And this is where it gets really interesting.

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Another One Bites the Dust

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The era of Abramoff appears to be nearing conclusion in Washington. Bob Ney is serving time behind bars; Tom DeLay forced to resign; Sen. Conrad Burns and Reps. Richard Pombo and J.D. Hayworth defeated in the 2006 elections; numerous lobbyists and officials now have prison records. Today, under pressure from Republican leaders, Rep. John Doolittle will drop out of his race for reelection in his northeastern California district. Rep. Doolittle was one of the few remaining members of Congress suspected of making illegal deals with the convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and is under investigation by the FBI. Let's recap Doolittle's history as an Abramoff apparatchik with a little help from Congresspedia.

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Follow The Money

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Last evening, the Firedoglake hosted another installment of their Sunday Book Salons, where John Anderson took questions online about his new book Follow the Money: How George W. Bush and the Texas Republicans Hog-Tied America, released earlier this fall. In the book Anderson gives an overview of the connections between elite Houston law firms, Karl Rove, Grover Norquist, Tom DeLay and his K Street Project to Jack Abramoff. I haven't read the book yet, but last night's discussions makes me want to.

As an Austin American-Statesman review states, Anderson used previously reported or exposed facts to retell this story. By following Deep Throat's advice, Anderson shows the overarching network that put George W. Bush in the White House, DeLay out of a job, Abramoff in prison, and the GOP in the minority.

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Walk the Scandal Walk

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This morning the Washington Post featured a great article and video by Dana Milbank highlighting all the locations in the district that hot spots in the current pantheon of political scandals. From Abramoff's restaurant Signatures to the Capitol Yacht Club, where Sens. Ted Stevens and Larry Craig slept while Duke Cunningham ran amok, this scandal tour has everything. So, I decided to do the Web 2.0 thing and turn this tour into a Google Map. I whittled the list of locations down to congressional scandals. (Make sure to zoom in on the D St. locations. That's a central point of muck.) Check it out and let me know what I missed.


View Larger Map

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