Abramoff scandal

Abramoff scandal,

in U.S. history, political corruption scandal resulting from criminal conduct on the part of lobbyist Jack Abramoff (1959–) and his associates. Abramoff was a Republican activist while attending Brandeis Univ. and, through his leadership role in the National College Republicans, became friendly with such future conservative activists as Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed. Abramoff became a successful and powerful lobbyist after Republicans won control of Congress in 1994, widening his circle of powerful conservative Republican associates to include Tom DeLayDeLay, Tom
(Thomas Dale DeLay), 1947–, American politician, b. Laredo, Tex., grad. Univ. of Houston (B.S., 1970). A conservative Republican businessman, he entered politics (1979) as a Texas state legislator, serving until 1984, when he was first elected to the U.S.
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 and others, building a well-connected client base, and spending freely.

Although Abramoff and some of clients engaged in ethically and legally questionable activities, much of his and his associates' fraudulent activities involved Native American tribes grown wealthy from gambling. In 1995 he signed his first such client, the Mississippi Band of Choctaws; he quickly signed up several other tribes. Promising profitable links to the most powerful legislators in Congress and even to the White House, Abramoff collected huge commissions and directed the tribes to donate large sums to various politicians. He and his cronies pocketed enormous sums, channeled consulting contracts to associates, dealt in massive kickbacks, and treated chosen politicians to lavish entertainments. The tribes saw little if any benefit from their money; in one case, Abramoff worked behind the scenes to close a tribal casino in order to win millions in fees from the tribe.

Investigative newspaper reports finally brought Abramoff's activities to public attention. Caught (2000) defrauding lenders in his purchase of a fleet of gambling boats, he stood trial in 2006. He pleaded guilty to fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy to bribe public officials, and was sentenced to nearly six years in prison. Largely as a result of the scandal, Representatives Tom DeLay and Robert Ney (R-Ohio) were disgraced, and Ney went to prison; a number of Abramoff's associates and White House and congressional aides were also convicted.

Bibliography

See Abramoff's Capitol Punishment (2011); studies by M. Continetti (2006) and P. H. Stone (2007).

References in periodicals archive ?
Former Republican congressman Bob Ney and some former congressional and White House aides were also convicted of charges arising from the Abramoff scandal. Nearly 5,000 trips, costing lobbyists $10mn, were taken in 2005.
"This is influence peddling available primarily only to special interests that have a lot of money to throw around." his sort of congressional junket was supposed to have ended five years ago, when legislation passed in the wake of the Jack Abramoff scandal strictly limited lobbyists' and companies' ability to pay for congressional travel.
If you thought he had been effectively disgraced by his role in the Jack Abramoff scandal, Jo Becker of the New York Times says think again.
A bonus discussion between Bill Moyers, author Thomas Frank (who wrote "What's the Matter with Kansas?") and Congressstudier Norman Ornstein, recorded during the 2008 election campaigns of presidential candidates Obama and McCain, re-examines the causes, effects, and legacy of the Abramoff scandal and what continuing corruption means for modern America.
A former congressional chief of staff who was implicated in the Abramoff scandal comes closer to the truth when he tells Gibney, "It's an issue of power."
The Abramoff scandal has led to prosecutions and resignations of more than a few individuals in Congress and the administration, and rightfully outraged the public when the connections were revealed in the press.
The lobbying reforms, which gained momentum after the Jack Abramoff scandal, address the corrupting influence of the thousands of lobbyists ready and eager to give dinners, trips, cut-rate airfare on corporate jets and other goodies to any member who might be able to advance their employers' agendas.
Not to act on that mandate--not to investigate Katrina, not to investigate Iraq and Halliburton, not to investigate the Abramoff scandal, not to investigate the illegal NSA spying, not to demand impeachment hearings--would be an abdication of responsibility and a betrayal of their base.
In Montana, higher Democratic turnout, coupled with the foul air of the Jack Abramoff scandal, may spell trouble for incumbent Sen.
That congressman, Bob Ney, linked to the Jack Abramoff scandal, has dropped out of the race.
Jeb Bush's attorney in the Terry Schiavo case, and founder of the Center for a Just Society--wrote in his regular commentary on the center's Web site: In the aftermath of the Jack Abramoff scandal, in which Christian conservatives were used as the dupes of the gambling industry, we now see another Christian organization being duped by those who want to abridge the right to trial by jury, a right our founders fought hard to protect.