Youth and Education news Volume 1, December 2011
Jack Abramoff, In New Book, Decries Endemic
Corruption In Washington
"I wasn't the only villain in Washington," he writes. Such conduct is "the way the system works."
Along with most Americans, the vast majority of American Indians consider Abramoff a crook. Abramoff was the high-priced former Washington lobbyist convicted of ripping off American Indian tribes of $45,000,000. He charged outrageous fees to tribes that hired him as their lobbyist while his emails referred to tribal officials as monkeys.
After spending 3 1/2 years in a federal prison, Abramoff has written his side of the story in a new book, "Capitol Punishment: The Hard Truth About Washington Corruption From America's Most Notorious Lobbyist."
Abramoff describes how he and his team "lavished contributions, meals, event tickets, travel, golf and jobs on innumerable federal public officials with the expectation or understanding that they would take official actions on my behalf or on behalf of my clients."
According to Abramoff, when Republicans took control of the US House of Representatives in 1994, several Republican Congressmen vowed not to raise taxes, Yet some had no problem inserting the Unrelated Business Income Tax into legislation. Many Congressmen felt Indians were making too much money off of gaming. This included Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich.
After being hired
as the Choctaws' lobbyist, Abramoff and
team worked hard to strike the proposed
Unrelated Business Income Tax stricken
from legislation. Had Abramoff stopped
there, he would be a hero in Indian
But he did not. He went on to get nine
other tribes to sign on with his
lobbying efforts and the rest is
"As a lobbyist, I thought it only
natural and right that my clients should
reward those members who saved them such
substantial sums with generous
contributions," he writes. "This quid
pro quo became one of hallmarks of our
In the book, Abramoff mocks the
ethics reforms adopted by Congress in
the wake of his downfall.
"Is corruption in Washington really
ended by insisting congressmen eat their
food with their fingers standing up,
rather than seated with forks and
spoons? Yet, this is the kind of reform
which Congress proposes, passes, and
then congratulates itself about," he
Abramoff remained silent --
taking the Fifth -- when he testified before the Senate Indian
Affairs Committee in 2004. In his book,
Abramhoff hints at what he might have
said had he opened up.
"Most of these legislators had taken
thousands of dollars from my clients and
firms, and now they were sitting as
impartial judges against me. Washington
hypocrisy at its best," he writes.
"Members swim in a swamp of corruption,
and thrive in it, but they are able --
with a straight face no less -- to
accuse others at will and
sanctimoniously punish what they see as
To end the
revolving door, Abramhoff says that
government lobbyists and those who receive federal
contracts or benefit from public funds
should be prohibited from
giving gifts and campaign to all to public officials.
"The lure of post-public service lobbying employment needs to be eliminated," he writes. So: "If you chose to serve in Congress or on a congressional staff, you should be barred for life from working for any company, organization, or association which lobbies the federal government. "
Backgrounds: Robert Kaufman Fabrics: http://www.robertkaufman.com/
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