Campaign 2010

Mar 29, 2006

Jumpsuit Lobbyist: Congressional Republicans Hold Fast to Abramoff Cash Despite Sentencing

DCCC Press

Mar 29, 2006

Jumpsuit Lobbyist: Congressional Republicans Hold Fast to Abramoff Cash Despite Sentencing

Admitted Felon and Former Republican Super-Lobbyist Jack Abramoff Receives his Long Awaited Prison Sentence Today After Pleading Guilty to Conspiracy and Fraud

Jack Abramoff: "This is not an age when you can run away from facts. I had to deal with my records, and others will have to deal with theirs." [Vanity Fair, April 2006]

Newt Gingrich: "This is not one person doing one bad thing. You can't have a corrupt lobbyist unless you have a corrupt member (of Congress) or a corrupt staff. ... This was a team effort." [Gingrich Remarks, 1/5/06, mult]

Congressional Republicans have taken over $120,000 from Jack Abramoff.
While many of them have returned the tainted money, many still hold onto Abramoff’s donations:

John Doolittle $13,000
Phil English $1,000
Gil Gutknecht $250
Walter Jones $1,250
Ron Paul $250
Richard Pombo $500
Ed Royce $500
Charles Taylor $2,250 – Taylor said: “I won't be giving it back." [AP, 1/12/06]

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, with Jack Abramoff being sentenced in a Miami courtroom we are once again reminded of the long arm of the former lobbyist. Abramoff gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republicans in Congress and not a cent to Democrats. While many have tried to put some daylight between the admitted felon and former super-lobbyist, several Republican members of Congress are holding on tight to the tainted Abramoff money. Those Republicans who have returned the Abramoff money only did so after Abramoff was indicted and subsequently pleaded guilty to conspiracy and fraud charges. Jack Abramoff fostered the culture of corruption in Washington, D.C. that allowed him to peddle money for influence and is currently allowing many Abramoff-esque Republican lobbyists to follow in his footsteps.

"With so many thousands of dollars shelled out to Republicans in Congress and so many Republicans in Congress holding fast to Abramoff's tainted cash, American families are again reminded of the cost of the corruption that he engineered in Washington, D.C.," said Bill Burton, communications director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "This November, American voters will head to the ballot box looking for new priorities instead of the business of usual status quo that created Jack Abramoff and his cronies."

Abramoff: At the Center of the Culture of Corruption:

Jack Abramoff is at the center of the corruption scandals on Capitol Hill. The Abramoff scandal involves many members of Congress along with other lobbyists and congressional staffers. The corruption reaches far and wide:

  • Abramoff Gives Only to Republicans. Jack Abramoff has given over $120,000 to Republican members of Congress. He has not given any money to Democrats.
  • Abramoff Pleaded Guilty to Charges. On January 3, 2006, Abramoff pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy, tax evasion and mail fraud, clearing the way for him to cooperate in a massive government investigation of influence peddling involving members of Congress. [Associated Press, 1/3/06]
  • Abramoff Pleaded Guilty to More Charges. On January 4, 2006 Jack Abramoff appeared in a Florida court to face more charges. According to the Washington Post: "Today he is to plead guilty to fraud and conspiracy counts in a related case in Florida involving his purchase of a casino cruise line." [Washington Post, 1/4/06]
  • Abramoff Used Signatures Restaurant to Grant Favors. Abramoff hosted at least 60 political fund-raisers at Signatures, the upscale Washington restaurant he owned. According to the New York Times, "in the restaurant's early months, a customer list noted who could dine for free, according to two former managers. A copy obtained by the New York Times shows handwritten notes next to 18 names -- lawyers, lobbyists and eight current or former lawmakers -- designating them as 'FOO Comp,' for friend of owner, or 'A-Comp,' for associate of owner. Often, guests dined with Mr. Abramoff and did not receive a check, employees said, though Congressional rules prohibit lawmakers from receiving expensive gifts, including food.” [Business Week, 4/25/05; New York Times, 7/6/05]
  • Abramoff Used Skybox to Host Fundraisers, Often Without Campaign Disclosure. According to the Washington Post, "a list of skybox fundraising events maintained by Abramoff at his former law firm, Greenberg Traurig, lists 72 events for members of Congress between 1999 and 2003... Many of them members of the House leadership." Some of the fundraising events were not reported as required under federal election laws. [Washington Post, 12/26/04]