Friday, June 24, 2005

Delay's 'closest friend' ?

Here's some info on Jack Abramoff -- one of Delay's self admitted "closest friends"... Mr. Abramoff is current under investigation for extortion. The government confiscated some of his emails related to the Indian extortion investigation... This is the kind of person that wields power in our government...

I hate to ask your help with something so silly," Jack Abramoff wrote to his friend Daniel Lapin on September 15, 2000. Abramoff, of course, is the now-disgraced Republican lobbyist who stands accused of defrauding several Indian tribes of millions of dollars and trying to buy off various Republican congressmen. Lapin is a Seattle-based rabbi who is a close friend and spiritual advisor to Abramoff. Now Abramoff, at the time still hustling his way to the top of Washington lobbying, was coming to him for help:

I have been nominated for membership in the Cosmos Club, which is a very distinguished club in Washington, DC, comprised of Nobel Prize winners, etc. Problem for me is that most prospective members have received awards and I have received none. I was wondering if you thought it possible that I could put that I have received an award from Toward Tradition with a sufficiently academic title, perhaps something like Scholar of Talmudic Studies?... Indeed, it would be even better if it were possible that I received these in years past, if you know what I mean. Anyway, I think you see what I am trying to finagle here!

Indeed he did. "Mazel tov, the Cosmos Club is a big deal," Lapin replied. A few days, later the rabbi wrote again:

Let's organize your many prestigious awards so they're ready to 'hang on the wall.'... I just need to know what needs to be produced. Letters? Plaques? Neither?

"Probably just a few clever titles of awards, dates and that's it," Abramoff replied.

It get worse from there. This could be considered a 'personal ethical failing'... but the following points to criminal activity and, at the least, gives you a clear picture of the type of person that "makes it" on K street.

Creative Billing: The focus of yesterday's hearings was on Abramoff's lobbying for the Mississippi-based Choctaw Indians, who became the first of his casino-gaming tribal clients in the mid-'90s. Some of the details the emails provide on the subject are precious.

Take, for instance, Abramoff's attitude towards billing. Emails show that when Abramoff concludes in early 2001 that his staff should be billing more hours to the Choctaw, he instructs one of them to "[a]dd 60 hours for me and pump up Scanlon, Todd and you. Give Amy some hours if you have to" (the names are references to fellow lobbyists at his firm). Later Abramoff asks his colleague, who is still tallying up billable hours, to "tell me how much you need me to cover to get the bill up to around $150,000."

"This is a very bad system that I am very uncomfortable with," the colleague replies.

"Fine," writes Abramoff, without apology.

Quoted from The New Republic.

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