Archive for Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Lobbyist pleads guilty to corruption

Abramoff agrees to cooperate with prosecutors in criminal probe

January 4, 2006

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— Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist who spawned a congressional corruption scandal, pleaded guilty Tuesday to three felonies and pledged to cooperate in a criminal probe edging closer to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

"I plead guilty, your honor," Abramoff said in flat, unemotional tones, accepting a plea bargain that said he had provided lavish trips, golf outings, meals and more to public officials "in exchange for a series of official acts."

In one case, he reported payments totaling $50,000 to the wife of a congressional aide to help block legislation for a client. The aide worked for DeLay, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Public corruption aside, Abramoff admitted defrauding four Indian tribes and other clients, taking millions in kickbacks from a one-time business partner, misusing a charity he had established and failing to pay income taxes on millions of ill-gotten gains.

He is expected to plead guilty to additional charges today in Miami in connection with charges stemming from the purchase of a fleet of boats.

At the Justice Department, officials said they intend to make use of the trove of e-mails and other material in Abramoff's possession as part of a probe that is believed to be focusing on as many as 20 members of Congress and aides.

"This investigation continues ... however long it takes, wherever it leads," said Alice Fisher, assistant attorney general.

Abramoff faces as much as 11 years in federal prison as well as fines in connection with his guilty pleas on charges of conspiracy, mail fraud and tax evasion. The precise penalty is to be determined in part by the extent of his cooperation with prosecutors. Together with his former business partner, Michael Scanlon, he is expected to face restitution costs of $25 million.

Comments

Richard Heckler 9 years, 4 months ago

Our own Sen. Brownback may have been part of the money trail as well.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 4 months ago

Brownback accepted $42,000 from Jack Abramoff, a lobbyist who has been accused of defrauding Native American tribes. This prompted Wyandotte Nation Chief Leaford Bearskin to state in a press release that he was "outraged and so very disappointed to learn that Senator Brownback reportedly received large sums of dirty money from Jack Abramoff, a Washington D.C. lobbyist who abused the political system for financial gain at the expense of the Native American community."[3] In December 2005, Brownback advocated using Washington, DC as a "laboratory" for a flat tax. His advocated position on this issue was "that making D.C. a test case would, with limited potential for negative impact, provide valuable data about the effects of a flat tax that would prove helpful in determining whether it should be applied nationwide." [4] This has irked many residents of the District, as the idea of a Senator from Kansas forcing a system of taxation on them would seem to only further the District's taxation without representation. Indeed, DC mayor Anthony Williams said "Leaving aside the merits of this proposal, we continue to resist any efforts on the part of any member of Congress to impose rules and regulations on the people of the District."

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