Saturday, November 26, 2005

Leftovers Aren't Just For Turkey. Ask The Wall St. Journal

Abramoff probe broader than thought: paper

Fri Nov 25,12:25 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department's probe of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff is broader than previously thought, examining his dealings with four lawmakers, former and current congressional aides and two former Bush administration officials, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Prosecutors in the department's public integrity and fraud divisions are looking into Abramoff's dealings with four Republicans -- former House of Representatives Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas, Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio, Rep. John Doolittle of California and Sen. Conrad Burns of Montana, the paper said, citing several people close to the investigation.

Abramoff is under investigation over his lobbying efforts for Indian tribes with casinos. He has also pleaded not guilty to federal charges in Florida that he defrauded lenders in a casino cruise line deal.

The prosecutors are also investigating at least 17 current and former congressional aides, about half of whom later took lobbying jobs with Abramoff, as well as an official from the Interior Department and another from the government's procurement office, the Journal said.

Justice Department spokesman Paul Bresson declined to comment on the investigation.

The newspaper said investigators were looking into whether Abramoff and his partners made illegal payoffs to the lawmakers and aides in the form of campaign contributions, sports tickets, meals, travel and job offers, in exchange for helping their clients.
Ney and DeLay have already hired lawyers, it should be pointed out.

Keep in mind that former DeLay aide Michael Scanlon plea-bargained a deal on Monday with the prosecutor, Ronnie Earle. I'm guessing there's more like a Christmas ham than a ham sandwich to indict here. Why is it Republicans always manage to get themselves indicted en masse in corruption scandals, when they lay claim to the ethical mantle?
In 1995, Republicans took over the U.S. House with a new agenda, the Contract with America. The pact would "restore the bonds of trust" between the people and their elected representatives, we were told. A new leadership would "end the cycle of scandal and disgrace."

Many of the Contract's legislative proposals were enacted into law.

But any reforming spirit left in that movement officially breathed its last this week.
In particular, one Grover Norquist, who has sought a government so small he could drown it in a bathtub.

Now we know why. He wanted to rob the family safe.