"I did not have sex with that woman."
Jack Abramoff (?)
No, this is not another re-run of "The Love Boat," but is about how one former high powered lobbyist lined the pockets of friends, families, allies, enemies, members of Congress, congressional staffers, future congressional staffers, and anyone else who could be bought in exchange for a slap on the wrist, a plea bargain. I'm reminded of Tom Hayden's great line about capital punishment: "Those who have the capital, don't get the punishment." Indeed, plea bargains have been offered to those whose goal, according to a court document, was "to enrich themselves by obtaining substantial funds from their clients through fraud and concealment." Oh, yes, I know this is old news to some of you, but where was the plea bargain to spare the life of Tookie Williams, a man twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize?
We'll have to wait and see what testimony there will be about members of Congress, and their involvement in bribing, as well as conspiracy to affect the outcome of votes, but I, for one, can't recall the last time Native Americans have been screwed this much since Christopher Columbus landed on our golden shores. Mr. Abramoff was hired, in good faith, to advance casinos for Indian tribes in Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and lord knows where else, and defrauded them out of umpteen millions.
While Abramoff has been charged with conspiracy, mail fraud, and tax evasion, it's what, or who, is not being charged that is at stake here. Ultimately, alas, it is who, and what, will not be charged that is also at stake. If this investigation proceeds as it should, and doesn't get coopted by media coverage of how sexy the federal prosecutor is, we may end up with the most far-reaching political corruption investigation in Amercan history. Forgive my cynicism, but it'll be a cold day in hell before Abramoff fingers all members of Congress, and congressional staffers, he's tampered with. If Mr. A is half the gambler he appears to be, I wouldn't make book on the whole truth and nothing but the truth coming out in any testimony, or hearings that come out of this. We impeached a president for lying before a federal grand jury. What do you think the odds are of Abramoff spending serious time behind bars for the same? By the time the federal prosecutors are done with him, in about a year, if half the names of those members of Congress, and staffers, are revealed, we may find ourselves asking "Jack who?" It appears, yet again, in a contest of haves versus have nots, the haves will win.