Oh, Krusty!! Where are you Krusty?
- From: "Joe S." <anon@xxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 2 Dec 2005 16:07:25 -0500
Say, there, Krusty, ol' boy -- how about some of your favorite quotes in
which you tell us that KKKarl Rove is pure as driven snow and he will not be
The noose is tightening around Abramoff and he may be negotiating a plea
bargain in which he'll spill the beans on half the people in Washington.
When Abramoff starts singing . . . .
Lobbyist's Role in Hiring Aides Is Investigated
By ANNE E. KORNBLUT
Published: December 2, 2005
WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 - With a federal corruption case intensifying,
prosecutors investigating Jack Abramoff, the Republican lobbyist, are
examining whether he brokered lucrative jobs for Congressional aides at
powerful lobbying firms in exchange for legislative favors, people involved
in the case have said.
The attention paid to how the aides obtained jobs occurs as Mr. Abramoff is
under mounting pressure to cooperate with prosecutors as they consider a
case against lawmakers. Participants in the case, who insisted on anonymity
because the investigation is secret, said he could try to reach a deal in
the next six weeks.
Many forces are bearing down on Mr. Abramoff. Last week, his closest
business partner, Michael Scanlon, pleaded guilty to conspiracy in exchange
for cooperating in the inquiry, being run by an interagency group, into
whether money and gifts were used in an influence-peddling scandal that
Despite charging Indian tribes that were clients tens of millions of dollars
in lobbying fees, Mr. Abramoff has told friends that he is running out of
money. In a new approach that could contribute to the pressures, prosecutors
are sifting through evidence related to the hiring of several former
Congressional aides by a lobbying firm, Greenberg Traurig, where Mr.
Abramoff worked from 2000 to last year, according to people who know about
the inquiry. That course could impel a new set of Mr. Abramoff's former
associates to cooperate to avoid prosecution.
Investigators are said to be especially interested in how Tony C. Rudy, a
former deputy chief of staff to Representative Tom DeLay of Texas, and Neil
G. Volz, a former chief of staff to Representative BobNey of Ohio, obtained
lobbying positions with big firms on K Street.
The hiring pattern is "very much a part of" what prosecutors are focusing
on, a person involved in the case said. Another participant confirmed that
investigators were trying to determine whether aides conducted "job
negotiations with Jack Abramoff" while they were in a position to help him
on Capitol Hill.
Prosecutors are trying to establish that "it's not just a ticket to a
ballgame, it's major jobs" that exchanged hands, the participant in the case
said. Also under examination are payments to lobbyists and lawmakers' wives,
including Mr. Rudy's wife, Lisa Rudy, whose firm, Liberty Consulting, worked
in consultation with Mr. Abramoff, people involved in case said.
What began as an inquiry into Mr. Scanlon and Mr. Abramoff's lobbying has
widened to a corruption investigation centering mainly on Republican
lawmakers who came to power as part of the conservative revolution of the
1990's. At least six members of Congress are in the scope of the inquiry,
with an additional 12 or so former aides being examined to determine whether
they gave Mr. Abramoff legislative help in exchange for campaign donations,
lavish trips and gifts.
It may be difficult for prosecutors to translate certain elements of the
case into indictments. Bribery, corruption and conspiracy cases are
notoriously difficult to prove. But the potential dimensions are enormous,
and the investigation, at a time of turmoil for the Bush administration,
threatens to add a new knot of problems for the party heading into the
elections next year.
Several people involved in the case, insisting on anonymity because of the
plea negotiations, said they anticipated that Mr. Abramoff would try to
reach an agreement with the prosecutors in a rapidly closing window of time
before he is scheduled to stand trial in a separate federal case in Florida.
Mr. Abramoff and another business partner, Adam Kidan, were indicted in
August on charges of wire fraud and conspiracy for reportedly defrauding
their lenders as they sought to buy a company in Miami, SunCruz Casinos,
that operated a fleet of gambling boats.
That trial is to begin on Jan. 9.
A lawyer for Mr. Abramoff in the case, Neal R. Sonnett, declined to comment
on whether his client is conferring with prosecutors, indicating that he is
moving ahead as though there will be no plea agreement.
"I'm preparing for trial," Mr. Sonnett said.
After more than a year of slow progress in what initially appeared to be a
case of lobbying excess, the larger scope of the inquiry started to come
into view toward the end of September with the arrest of David H. Safavian,
chief procurement official in the administration.
Mr. Safavian is accused of lying to investigators and of obstruction of
justice. He is pleading not guilty, his lawyer has said. Prosecutors contend
that Mr. Safavian did not disclose to investigators business that Mr.
Abramoff had before his agency at the time of a golfing trip to Scotland
arranged by the lobbyist.
The focus also expanded from Mr. Abramoff's work for Indian tribes with the
end of hearings by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. The hearings set out
to examine whether the tribes, which paid $82 million to Mr. Abramoff and
Mr. Scanlon, had been defrauded. The panel, headed by Senator John McCain,
Republican of Arizona, avoided looking at the ties between the lobbyists and
specific lawmakers, leaving that to the inquiry's interagency group.
The Senate hearings uncovered many patterns of Mr. Abramoff's activities,
including his offering favors to officials while making deals on government
work. In one case, a former senior Interior Department official, J. Steven
Griles, testified that Mr. Abramoff had offered him a position at Greenberg
Traurig while Mr. Griles was in a position to affect decisions involving Mr.
Abramoff's Indian clients. Mr. Griles said he reported the offer to his
department's ethics division and rejected it.
Prosecutors are trying to determine whether Mr. Abramoff made similar
overtures to other well positioned government workers, especially former
aides to Republican leaders in of the House and Senate. Such gestures could
be considered as bribery or a conflict of interest, especially if the
interests of the two parties were entangled.
Of particular interest, according to several people involved in the case,
are how Mr. Rudy, who left Mr. DeLay's office in 2001 to join Greenberg
Traurig, and Mr. Volz, who left Mr. Ney's office in 2002 for that firm,
obtained their positions. Investigators believe Mr. Abramoff may have
solicited help from both men and their supervisors on Capitol Hill while
helping arrange for high-paying positions, people familiar with case said.
Mr. Rudy now works for the Alexander Strategy Group, a lobbying firm run by
Ed Buckham, another former senior aide to Mr. DeLay. Alexander Strategy is
also under scrutiny for its ties to Mr. Abramoff and for putting Mr. DeLay's
wife, Christine, on its payroll for several years.
As investigators try to unravel the web of relationships between the
lawmakers and the lobbyists, they are considering spouses' roles, people
involved in the case said.
Neither Mr. Rudy nor Mr. Volz returned calls and e-mail messages seeking
comment on Thursday.
Hiring patterns offer a rich and complicated field for investigators.
Congressional staff members routinely leave for the private work, with the
sole prohibition a one-year ban on lobbying their former supervisors. Mr.
DeLay is so renowned for funneling his skilled staff members into lobbying
firms across Washington that his political network is known as "DeLay Inc."
Although Mr. DeLay was reprimanded by the House Ethics Committee in the late
90's for pressuring a lobbying firm to hire a Republican, the practice has
become so standard in an era of Republican dominance that partisans have
given it a name, the K Street Project.
What investigators seek is evidence of a quid pro quo between Mr. Abramoff
and the lobbyists he helped hire, lawyers and others involved in the case
said. They are especially interested in evidence that Mr. Abramoff discussed
hiring Mr. Rudy, Mr. Volz or other staff members before they left the
government or around the time they or their bosses were doing favors for Mr.
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