Abramoff vs The Tribes

· Edgewise, Paleoblogs, Republicans

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Debra J. Saunders sounded like Rep. Richard Pombo’s big sister taking on the corner bullies in her Sunday rant, “Lay off Pombo” in which she lit into “the left”, Nancy Pelosi, and Democratic party leaders for picking on Pombo for getting money from the tainted former lobbyist, Jack Abramoff, and his “client tribes.” She pointed out that Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash) also got money from “Abramoff tribes,” thus proving her point that “…Democratic leaders don’t really care about ethics.”
The Abramoff “lobbying” scandal has begun to morph into a veiled attack on American tribal groups now described as “client tribes” of the confidence man and scam artist Jack Abramoff. The tribes were the victims of the scandal – not the perpetrators. It was their money that Abramoff siphoned into his fake “charity” groups, such as the Capital Athletic Foundation, which received $2.02 million from tribes he promised to help. The Capital Athletic Foundation then spent the money on a private school Abramoff created and which his sons attended. Abramoff also solicited tribal contributions for the National Center for Public Policy Research, which in turn paid for the now-infamous golfing party in Scotland for indicted former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, his wife, and others.
The tribes believed they were getting access to the people in Washington who could help them secure enabling legislation for their casino operations, highly lucrative businesses for the tribes that are able to build them. Jack Abramoff was a canny operator who used the tribes’ profits to fund his own ambitions as a star fundraiser for conservative politicians and the Republican party. Here’s what one of them told Washington Post journalist,
Thomas B. Edsall, in a Nov. 8, 2004 article:
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), said Abramoff convinced him that “it was the conservatives who would be the saviors of the Indians by providing an environment where they could be self-sufficient and run their own affairs instead of being like inner-city welfare recipients.”
It is obvious from the e-mail messages (evidence in the Senate Indian Affairs Committtee investigation) between Jack Abramoff and his business partner, Michael Scanlon, that they had nothing but contempt for the tribal leaders that funded Abramoff’s political kitties. And as for being a “super lobbyist” (as Saunders refers to him), Abramoff directed most of the tribes’ money to his own private slush funds not to Greenberg-Traurig, the lobbying firm he was nominally employed by.
And as for Debra J. Saunders, you have to read the fifth paragraph of her Sunday column carefully to catch her unequal comparison of “Abramoff” money received by Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Richard Pombo: Murray’s money ($40,980 in 2002 and 2004) came only from “Abramoff tribes” while Pombo’s money came directly from Abramoff and his wife ($7,000 in 2004) as well as from “Abramoff tribes” ($33,500 in 2004).
So Debra and others, Lay Off The Tribes and see Abramoff for what he really is, Republican confidence man who saw in tribal profits a path to political riches for the party of George W. Bush.