Thursday, January 05, 2006
What's Under The Hat?
According to court papers "BlackJack" Abramoff the casino-profit loving Republican lobbyist, by his own admission is guilty (amongst other things) of defrauding his clients to the tune of at least $20 million between "early" 2001 and April 2004.
Recipients of his lobbying largesse are now disassociating themselves from the current and still-brewing scandal by returning the funds or else donating them to charity
Maybe I’m being stupid here, but surely if the money Abramoff provided was a) laundered and b) gained through fraud shouldn’t that money be a) held as evidence and b) returned to those who were defrauded? Therefore shouldn’t the politicians unloading the funds be placing the monies in an escrow account to be held until the conclusion of the criminal investigation rather than being shuffled off to charities? And how can charities accept these transferred funds when their source is clearly suspect?
The Washington Post touches briefly on these issues. Hopefully they will follow up.
Now, according to the above mentioned article: "Abramoff raised more than $100,000 for the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign, making him an honorary Bush "Pioneer." But the campaign is giving up only $6,000, which came directly from Abramoff, his wife and one of the Indian tribes the lobbyist represented. The money will be donated to the American Heart Association."
Remember Abramoff has admitted guilt to defrauding his "clients" ($20 million) between 2001 and 2004. Abramoff "earned" over $11 million from one tribe between 2001 and 2003. Bush received $100,000 from Abramoff for his 2004 re-election campaign, less than 1% of his take from his scam.
Bush is now unloading $6000 of that contribution or 6% of a contribution that came from an illegal source. What are the odds that the $6,000 was lawfully gained when Abramoff had just scammed $11 million? What are the odds that the $100,000 was lawfully Abramoff’s to give? What was Abramoff’s source of income except the $11 million of tribal money---oh yes… the various other millions he has admitted to scamming since 2001? .
Of course Scott McClellan was there to explain it all to the troglodytes:
" If someone thinks that money is coming in with strings attached, it doesn't get in the door."
Well golly-gee Scott ("or should I say Doctor VON Scott!"), if there weren’t any strings attached, why give ANY MONEY AWAY AT ALL?!!! It’s all legit, right?
And of course Abramoff didn’t have any intention of asking favors of Bush because the real power lay with the Congress. Bush owed so many favors to industry and his own party Abramoff didn’t need a direct line to the President. The quid pro quo equation is simple: with Bush playing President Bush he could do what he wants as long as congressional Republicans could do what they wanted, which coincided with what the mega-rich oligarchy wanted which is to live even more fabulous lives.
The Abramoff scandal has yet to play out, but the big issue under the hat is not just the corruption of some politicians, it is the corruption of our whole system of government—what it is really for, who it benefits and what America and democracy are about.
The eventual jailing of Abramoff and any representatives or Senators that might be brought down should not be the end of the story. To be continued….