Jack Abramoff
Republican lobbyist
Jack Abramoff
Jack Abramoff is an American former lobbyist, businessman, movie producer, screenwriter and author. He was at the heart of an extensive corruption investigation that led to his conviction and to 21 persons either pleading guilty or being found guilty, including White House officials J. Steven Griles and David Safavian, U.S. Representative Bob Ney, and nine other lobbyists and Congressional aides.
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Communicating through Change, Challenge, and Chaos: The Education of Tom Strickland
Huffington Post - 6 months
By Nathan Brushchi, Harvard Business School Class of 2018 & Harbus Contributing Writer What do brands like Target, Theranos, UnitedHealth, and Vanderbilt University have in common with the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Columbine High School Massacre? All were the subjects of intense press coverage, and in each case the man brought in to weather the media maelstrom was Tom Strickland. A lawyer by training, Strickland served in the Obama Administration's Department of the Interior as Chief of Staff and Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. There he worked to reform a department mired by scandals, both ethical and political. He also managed the department's crisis response during one of the most challenging and publicized ecological disasters in U.S. history: the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill. Now back in private law practice as a partner at WilmerHale, Strickland is much sought after for his expertise in crisis management by organizations that find themselve ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
'Sort of a Jack Abramoff Kind of Thing'
Huffington Post - about 3 years
When the Canutillo Independent School District found out its superintendent was cooking the books just like in nearby El Paso, the board members knew they had a problem on their hands. But for a couple of local lobbyists, a school cheating scandal was just another business opportunity, underscoring the extent to which the school reform movement has become a special interest that sees public education as a business opportunity. On Dec. 6, 2012, an internal audit into a scheme to scrub the rolls of students with special needs or limited fluency in English was presented to the Canutillo school board, which then suspended the superintendent. A similar scandal landed the El Paso superintendent in federal prison, but the practice is not limited to the western tip of Texas. Superintendents have been "juking the stats" since politicians linked test scores to accountability. Before he became George W. Bush's education secretary, Rod Paige engineered the Houston Miracle by underreporting dropou ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Reluctant investigators probe Christie team
CNN - about 3 years
Justice Department inquiries into the dealings of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's administration, Sen. Robert Menendez and former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell represent the highest profile push in federal public corruption cases since the scandal surrounding lobbyist Jack Abramoff nearly a decade ago.
Article Link:
CNN article
Feds hesitated to probe Christie administration
CNN - about 3 years
Justice Department inquiries into the dealings of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's administration, Sen. Robert Menendez and former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell represent the highest profile push in federal public corruption cases since the scandal surrounding lobbyist Jack Abramoff nearly a decade ago.
Article Link:
CNN article
Enviro Groups: Maybe We Shouldn't Help Fund $47,000 Safaris for Polluter-Friendly Politicians
Mother Jones - about 3 years
A pair of prominent environmental groups have quietly left the International Conservation Caucus Foundation, a polluter-funded nonprofit with ties to more than a quarter of US lawmakers. Conservation International and the World Wildlife Fund withdrew from the ICCF after a March 2013 Mother Jones story raised questions about the group's lavish spending on "educational" trips for members of Congress with abysmal environmental voting records. [You can read the full story—"The Congressman, the Safari King, and the Woman Who Tried to Look Like a Cat"—here.] Founded in 2006 by David Barron, a former lobbyist for West African dictators, the ICCF brought together polluting corporations, including ExxonMobil, Dow Chemical, and Pacific Gas & Electric, with four giant environmental groups—the Nature Conservancy, the Wildlife Conservation Society, Conservation International, and the World Wildlife Fund. Together, the polluters and green groups paid millions of dollars in dues over the yea ...
Article Link:
Mother Jones article
Leibovich's <i>This Town</i>: The Tittle-Tattle Flibbertigibbet Musing of a Fashionisto Political Reporter in the Washington Beltway
Huffington Post - over 3 years
The must read book of the summer was Mark Leibovich's This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral -- plus plenty of valet parking! -- in America's Gilded Capital. This Town is tittle-tattle, the flibbertigibbet musings of a fashionisto political reporter covering the Washington beltway. Think of it as a wannabe "true-life" rendering of Aaron Sorkin's The West Wing. Does this qualify as political analysis? Not! But if the scandalmongering of today's political events makes us yearn for The West Wing to the extent that the simulacrum becomes our perceived reality, then, This Town stokes like "Big Blue" crystal meth. Leibovich's tale is a bestseller about the lifestyles of the rich and/or famous masquerading as our political leaders. The politics are driven by testosterone. Equal rights may have permeated the American mindset, but in Washington men still prevail. There's a frat-boy quality, a gin-room feel, to "The Club." And yes, Leibovich and his cohorts, our Washington political journ ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Jack Abramoff Explains Why His Planned Remake of Jerry Lewis' Holocaust Clown Film Failed
Mother Jones - over 3 years
In 1972, comedian and filmmaker Jerry Lewis made The Day the Clown Cried, an infamous and supremely embarrassing pop-culture fixation that Lewis has kept hidden in a vault for the last four decades. The dramatic film stars Lewis as Helmut Doork, an unemployed circus clown who ends up entertaining children before shepherding them into a Nazi gas chamber. Only a handful of people in the world have seen this colossal cinematic train wreck. "[S]eeing this film was really awe-inspiring, in that you are rarely in the presence of a perfect object," actor and humorist Harry Shearer famously told Spy magazine in 1992. "This was a perfect object. This movie is so drastically wrong, its pathos and its comedy are so wildly misplaced, that you could not, in your fantasy of what it might be like, improve on what it really is. 'Oh, My God!'—that's all you can say." Well, over the weekend, additional behind-scenes-footage of the Nazi death camp clown movie leaked online. (Other footage had lea ...
Article Link:
Mother Jones article
The Center for Public Integrity: Graham's campaign collects bundle from lobbyists
Huffington Post - almost 4 years
By Michael Beckel April 24, 2013 This story was originally published by The Center for Public Integrity, which is a nonprofit, nonpartisan investigative news organization in Washington, D.C. South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham raised more money from lobbyists ahead of the 2012 election than any other member of Congress save one -- an impressive feat considering he wasn't on the ballot. Roughly 10 percent of Graham's $2.2 million haul, about $223,000, came from lobbyists acting as "bundlers," a higher percentage than any other member. Bundlers raise money from friends and associates and deliver the checks in a "bundle." Only New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, who did face opposition in 2012, received more bundled campaign cash from lobbyists -- about $227,100 -- less than 2 percent of his total contributions, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of Federal Election Commission filings. Gra ...
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Huffington Post article
How to Get Your Perk Into a Bill, by Former Lobbyist Jack Abramoff
Bloomberg - Businessweek - almost 4 years
Article Link:
Bloomberg - Businessweek article
Observing Passover in Prison
NPR - almost 4 years
Today marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday, Passover. It's a time to think about the story of Exodus, when Moses led the slaves out of Egypt to freedom. But what does it mean for people in prison? Host Michel Martin discusses the issue with law professor Aviva Orenstein, and Jack Abramoff, a former lobbyist and convict who observed Passover while in prison. » E-Mail This     » Add to Del.icio.us
Article Link:
NPR article
Ex-GOP Congressman: Boehner Used Anti-Gay Slur On Staffer
Huffington Post - almost 4 years
Former Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) continued to make public allegations against former colleague and current Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) this week, claiming that he'd once referred to a staffer as a "fag." Speaking on David Pakman's radio program on Monday, Ney -- who resigned from Congress in 2006 after being implicated in the notorious Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal and later spent 11 months in jail -- recounted an incident that he included in his recently published book, "Sideswiped: Lessons Learned Courtesy of the Hit Men of Capitol Hill." "We were over in Jordan ... and there was a certain staffer and we were sitting there ... and we were complimenting this staffer of Boehner's on what a good job he did, and John had a glass of wine and he had a cigarette and he was looking over and he goes, 'Yeah, he's a good guy. I think he's a fag,'" Ney recalled. "It really shocked me, the way he said it I guess is what did it the most," Ney said. Ney's depiction ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Island Governor Impeached For Massage
Huffington Post - about 4 years
The governor of the Northern Mariana Islands was impeached last week by the territorial House on 13 articles, among them that he had a federal prisoner released in order to give him a massage, The Saipan Tribune reports. Gov. Benigno Fitial (R) was hit with 13 articles of impeachment last week, connected to allegations of corruption. The proceeding follows an unsuccessful attempt to impeach Fitial several years ago. Fitial is an ally of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who went to prison on corruption charges following lobbying efforts he made on behalf of the Northern Mariana Islands and tribal gaming issues. Among the charges, Fitial is accused of having his private masseuse released without permission from a federal prison in 2010 in order to give him a massage. The Saipan Tribune reports that Fitial said that he did not know about the masseuse's incarceration until he called her to relieve back pain that he said only she could cure. Other charges against Fitial inc ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Walker Bragman: Debunking 18 Pro-Gun Myths
Huffington Post - about 4 years
In my discussions with pro-gun advocates from the conservative right, I have repeatedly come across similar arguments supported by misrepresentations of fact. Although I addressed some of these in my last article on guns, I will readdress and enumerate those assertions, one-by-one, with supporting facts that should be considered. "More guns equal less crime!" John Lott Jr. wrote a controversial book titled More Guns, Less Crime that has been debunked by peer review. The Harvard Injury Control Research Center discovered a positive correlation between gun ownership and violence. Since the 1970's crime has been declining with gun ownership in the United States. However, recently gun ownership has been increasing and not surprisingly, violent crime. The south is the most violent region in the country, and has the highest prevalence of gun carrying. The Johns Hopkins Center For Gun Policy and Research found that expanding conceal carry laws increases aggravated assault ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
In Western New York, wealthy corporate gaming interests have been conspiring to defraud the Seneca Nation
Buffalo Rising - about 4 years
Submission by Matthew Ricchiazzi: Will the Fed's Investigate Cuomo's Conspiracy to Defraud an Indian Tribe Jack Abramoff went to prison on that charge. So did an aide to Tom Delay. They conspired to defraud Indian Tribes of honest services. In Western New York, wealthy corporate gaming interests have been conspiring to defraud the Seneca Nation of an asset - regional exclusivity rights - that the Nation purchased in a 2002 gaming compact. Those executives, development interests, and investors have conspired with politicians, state legislators, local governments, Albany lobbyists, and media operatives to defraud the Seneca Nation of this asset. In that aim, they've opened competing gaming venues in blatant violation of the 2002 compact; they've contributed money to influence Albany politicians; they've spent big on media propaganda; and they've effectively stolen this asset from a vulnerable and still impoverished people. They are the modern day manifestatio ...
Article Link:
Buffalo Rising article
Eric Alterman: Think Again: Is Contemporary Conservatism Just 'Payola'?
Huffington Post - about 4 years
Journalism has often been called "the first draft of history," but oftentimes its addiction to surface-level examination of "the facts" obscures deeper, more important truths that citizens need to know in order to make sense of a story, regardless of what number draft it may be. This is particularly true of politics, where all too often statements of principle are taken at face value as if the speaker had no interests save personal altruism. Principle, of course, is rarely the whole story. But it is even more rarely the case within the political right in Washington these days, as lobbyists and other moneyed interests have taken over the conservative movement and have refused to draw a line between their own personal enrichment and the policies they profess for the rest of us. Case in point: Conservative organizer Grover Norquist, founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform, is almost always portrayed in the media as an extremely effective ideologue. He has recently ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Bill Moyers: Christian Right Hypocrite Ralph Reed Has Resurrected Himself in the GOP -- He Must Be Praying We'll Forget His Past
Alter Net - over 4 years
As the sun slowly sets over the Republican National Convention in Tampa, we settle back in the chairs that nice Mr. Eastwood just gave us and ponder some of the other oddities of the week. Like this item in the official GOP platform pointed out by Brad Plumer of The Washington Post:  “No minimum wage for the Mariana Islands.‘The Pacific territories should have flexibility to determine the minimum wage, which has seriously restricted progress in the private sector.’” This caught our attention (and thanks to colleague Theresa Riley for sending) because it once again reminds us of the sordid past of evangelical and political entrepreneur Ralph Reed who, as this week’s edition of Moyers &amp; Company reports in detail, has emerged from the ashes of epic career fail to reestablish himself as a powerful figure in Republican politics.  As head of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, Reed boasts he’s building a political dynamo of five million members with a massive database, an annual b ...
Article Link:
Alter Net article
Watch: Former Super Lobbyist Pushes For Reform
ABC News - over 4 years
Jack Abramoff: Donors buying access and influence 'great corruption of Congress'
Article Link:
ABC News article
Spencer Critchley: Breaking: Republican Party Rolls Over and Dies of Embarrassment
Huffington Post - over 4 years
Washington, D.C. -- Following a weekend during which a Republican Senate candidate asserted that only rape victims who wanted it will get pregnant, news surfaced that a Republican Congressional delegation to Israel took part in a skinny-dip in the Sea of Galilee, and Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan remained the presumptive Republican nominees, the Party of Lincoln rolled over and died of embarrassment today. Paramedics called to the scene at Republican National Committee headquarters were unable to resuscitate the Grand Old Party, despite the application of CPR, defibrillators and smelling salts. RNC staffers had already tried waving photos from a 2010 donors' trip to a West Hollywood bondage club. "There are limits to what medical science can do," said Dr. Steven Gottshalk, chief of emergency medicine at George Washington University Hospital, where the GOP was pronounced DOA. "Remember, these people nominated Sarah Palin for vice president, right after eight years of George W ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Paul Ryan's Jack Abramoff And Tom DeLay Connections Likely To Draw New Scrutiny
The Huffington Post - over 4 years
WASHINGTON -- As Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has served more than a decade in Congress, President Barack Obama and his allies will surely be scouring his extensive voting record, if they haven't done so already. But along with key votes, the Democrats have begun to highlight some of the questionable relationships that Ryan has acquired during his time in Washington. Among them, expect to see a re-examination of Ryan's ties to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The pro-Obama super PAC American Bridge has already unveiled an opposition research book about Ryan that documents the Republican's ties to those symbols of Washington excess. Information pulled from the book and elsewhere shows that Ryan was an ardent defender of DeLay. One year before DeLay was indicted on conspiracy and money laundering charges, Ryan called the attacks "gutter politics at its worst," according to the Washington Post. And added: "You're going to see a big ral ...
Article Link:
The Huffington Post article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Jack Abramoff
    FIFTIES
  • 2012
    Age 53
    He has appeared as a guest on CNN to talk about lobbying and the Affordable Care Act healthcare reform law. In July 2012, Premier Networks announced it was launching "The Jack Abramoff Show" on XM Satellite Radio's "Talk Radio" channel, on which Abramoff would hold forth on political reform.
    More Details Hide Details Abramoff is married to Pamela Clarke (Alexander) Abramoff, a co-manager and executive assistant at Capital Athletic Foundation. Married since July 1986, the couple has five children. Pamela is a convert to Orthodox Judaism.
    He has joined the United Republic anticorruption nonprofit organization and has started in February 2012 as one of the lead bloggers at United Republic′s newly launched, described as “an anti-corruption blog focusing on how self-interested dollars are warping the public-interest responsibilities of America's democratic institutions” by the Huffington Post.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 2011
    Age 52
    In November 2011 the book Capitol Punishment: The Hard Truth About Corruption From America's Most Notorious Lobbyist Abramoff wrote after he was released from prison was published.
    More Details Hide Details The 300-page memoir is an account of his life in Washington as a lobbyist. In its last chapter, titled “Path to Reform”, Abramoff portrays himself as someone who supports genuine reform and lists a number of proposals to eliminate bribery of government officials, such as barring members of Congress and their aides for life from becoming lobbyists. Abramoff has become a critic of the lobbying industry and has appeared on radio and television, “trying... to redeem and rebrand himself”. He has a Facebook page and game app called “Congressional Jack”, and a feature film in the works about the lobbying milieu. He plans to charge for giving talks about corruption in Washington, and has briefed F.B.I. agents on the nature of corruption.
  • 2010
    Age 51
    He finished working at Tov Pizza when he was released from the halfway house on December 3, 2010.
    More Details Hide Details
    On June 8, 2010, he was released from federal prison and was transferred to a halfway house in Baltimore, Maryland, until the end of his six-year sentence.
    More Details Hide Details In late June he started working at the kosher pizzeria Tov Pizza, working about 40 hours a week from 10:30 a.m. till 5:30 p.m., earning between $7.50 and $10.00 per hour.
    Abramoff's lobbying and the surrounding scandals and investigation are the subject of two 2010 films: the documentary Casino Jack and the United States of Money, released in May 2010, and the feature film Casino Jack, released on December 17, 2010, starring Kevin Spacey as Abramoff.
    More Details Hide Details Jack Abramoff was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, into a Jewish family. His parents were Jane (née Divac) and Franklin Abramoff, who was president of the Franchises unit of Diners Club credit card company. Abramoff's family moved to Beverly Hills, California, when he was ten (in 1968), and there he attended Beverly Hills High School. In high school, he played football and became a weight-lifting champion. After seeing the film version of Fiddler on the Roof at age twelve, Abramoff decided to practice Orthodox Judaism.
  • FORTIES
  • 2008
    Age 49
    In September 2008, Chafetz's book, The Perfect Villain: John McCain and the Demonization of Lobbyist Jack Abramoff was rushed into print prior to the 2008 presidential election.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 2006
    Age 47
    Abramoff served four years of a six-year sentence. On November 15, 2006, he began serving his term in the minimum security prison camp of Federal Correctional Institution, Cumberland, Maryland, as inmate number 27593-112.
    More Details Hide Details The Justice Department had requested that he serve his sentence there so as to be accessible to agents in Washington for cooperation as the investigations related to his associates intensified. Abramoff worked as a clerk in the prison chaplain’s office for 12 cents an hour. He was also teaching courses in public speaking and screenwriting to his fellow inmates and instituted a popular movie night.
    Later in 2006 Abramoff lobbyists Neil Volz and Tony Rudy pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges; in September 2006 Ney himself pleaded guilty to conspiracy and making false statements.
    More Details Hide Details On September 4, 2008, a Washington court found Abramoff guilty of trading expensive gifts, meals and sports trips in exchange for political favors, and U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle sentenced him to a four-year term in prison, to be served concurrently with his previous sentences. Abramoff cooperated in a bribery investigation involving lawmakers, their aides, and members of the Bush administration.
    On January 3, 2006, Abramoff pleaded guilty to three felony counts – conspiracy, fraud, and tax evasion – involving charges stemming principally from his lobbying activities in Washington on behalf of Native American tribes.
    More Details Hide Details The four tribes Abramoff and his associates had been involved with included Michigan's Saginaw Chippewas, California's Agua Caliente, the Mississippi Choctaws, and the Louisiana Coushattas. As a result, Abramoff and other defendants must make restitution of at least $25 million that was defrauded from clients, primarily the Native American tribes. Further, Abramoff owes the Internal Revenue Service $1.7 million as a result of his guilty plea to the tax evasion charge. In the agreement, Abramoff admits to bribing public officials, including Ney. Also included: the hiring of congressional staffers and conspiring with them to lobby their former employers – including members of Congress – in violation of a one-year federal ban on such lobbying.
    On March 29, 2006, Abramoff and Kidan were both sentenced in the SunCruz case to the minimum amount, 70 months, and to pay US$21.7 million in restitution.
    More Details Hide Details According to the "memorandum in aid of sentencing", the sentencing judge, U.S. District Judge Paul C. Huck, received over 260 pleas for leniency from various people, including "rabbis, military officers and even a professional hockey referee." The defendants are still cooperating with federal investigators and will be sentenced later in the Indian lobbying case. In 2002 Abramoff was retained under a secret contract by the Guam Superior Court to lobby against a bill proposing to put the Superior Court under the authority of the Guam Supreme Court. On November 18, 2002, a grand jury issued a subpoena demanding that the administrator of the Guam Superior Court release all records relating to the contract. On November 19, 2002, U.S. Attorney Frederick A. Black, the chief prosecutor for Guam and the instigator of the indictment, was unexpectedly demoted and removed from the office he had held since 1991. The federal grand jury investigation was quickly wound down and took no further action. In 2005 Public Auditor Doris Flores Brooks initiated a new investigation of the Abramoff contract, which is continuing.
    An NPR news report from March 2006 stated that: " Abramoff recently granted a rare press interview to Vanity Fair magazine, where he asserts President Bush and other prominent figures in Washington know him very well.
    More Details Hide Details He called them liars for denying contact with him". In June 2006, Abramoff began secretly granting exclusive interviews to former Boston Globe investigative reporter Gary S. Chafetz, without the knowledge of Abramoff's attorneys or the federal prosecutors with whom Abramoff had been cooperating. These interviews – conducted before and during Abramoff's imprisonment – continued until May 2008.
    On January 4, 2006, Abramoff pleaded guilty to conspiracy and wire fraud in Miami, related to the SunCruz deal.
    More Details Hide Details The plea agreement called for a maximum sentence of over seven years and would run simultaneously with the sentence in the Washington corruption case, but could be reduced if Abramoff cooperates fully. The remaining four counts in the Florida indictment were dismissed.
    After a guilty plea in the Jack Abramoff Native American lobbying scandal and his dealings with SunCruz Casinos in January 2006, he was sentenced to six years in federal prison for mail fraud, conspiracy to bribe public officials, and tax evasion.
    More Details Hide Details He served 43 months before being released on December 3, 2010. After his release from prison, he wrote the autobiographical book Capitol Punishment: The Hard Truth About Corruption From America's Most Notorious Lobbyist which was published in November 2011.
  • 2005
    Age 46
    On August 11, 2005, Abramoff and Adam Kidan were indicted by a federal grand jury in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on fraud charges arising from a 2000 deal to buy SunCruz Casinos from Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis.
    More Details Hide Details Abramoff and Kidan are accused of using a fake wire transfer to make lenders believe that they had made a $23 million down payment, in order to qualify for a $60 million loan. Ney also was implicated in helping to consummate the deal.
  • 2004
    Age 45
    In late 2004, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee began to investigate Abramoff's lobbying on behalf of American Indian tribes and casinos.
    More Details Hide Details In September he was called before the Committee to answer questions about that work, but pleaded the fifth.
  • 2003
    Age 44
    Abramoff asked for $9 million in 2003 from the president of Gabon, Omar Bongo, to arrange a meeting with Bush and directed his fees to an Abramoff-controlled lobbying firm, GrassRoots Interactive. Bongo did meet with Bush in the Oval Office on May 26, 2004.
    More Details Hide Details There has been no evidence in the public record that Abramoff had any role in organizing the meeting, or that he received any money or had a signed contract with Gabon. White House and State Department officials described Bush's meeting with Bongo, whose government is regularly accused by the United States of human rights abuses, as routine. The officials said they knew of no involvement by Abramoff in the arrangements. Officials at Gabon's embassy in Washington did not respond to written questions. Susan Ralston, Rove's assistant since 2001, previously worked as an administrative assistant for both Abramoff and Reed. According to former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Abramoff was paid $1.2 million to arrange a meeting between Mahathir and Bush, allegedly at the direction of the Heritage Foundation. Mahathir insisted that someone unknown to him had paid for the meeting.
  • 2002
    Age 43
    The majority of the funds went to the Eshkol Academy in Maryland, an Orthodox Jewish school founded by Abramoff in 2002.
    More Details Hide Details Hundreds of thousands of dollars from CAF were also spent on golf trips to Scotland for Abramoff, Ney, Reed, and Safavian, as well as purchases of camping equipment sent to a high school friend. Abramoff solicited Safavian's help in looking for property deals for Eshkol Academy and tribal clients, leading to Safavian's conviction. GrassRoots Interactive, now defunct, was a small Silver Spring, Maryland, lobbying firm controlled by Abramoff. Millions of dollars flowed into GrassRoots Interactive in 2003, the year it was created, and then flowed out again to unusual places. At least $2.3 million went to a California consulting firm that used the same address as the law office of Abramoff's brother, Robert. A separate check for $400,000, from GrassRoots, was made out to Kay Gold LLC, another Abramoff family company. Abramoff was a board member and secretary/treasurer of the Maldon Institute for at least five years (1999–2003). He was one of only four board members, including John Rees.
    Other photos have surfaced of Abramoff and Bush meeting at the White House and Oval Office on either December 22 or 23, 2002.
    More Details Hide Details The photos were found on a site that published many pictures of governmental events, ReflectionsOrders.com. The owner of the site removed the photos almost immediately when the presence of Abramoff and Bush together was discovered. Some Internet users located the photos and preserved copies of some of them. The owner of the site gave thousands of dollars to the Bush campaign and Republican National Committee, according to public FEC contribution records.
  • 2001
    Age 42
    The details of the Kickapoo meeting and a letter dated May 10, 2001, from ATR thanking the Kickapoos for their contribution were revealed to the New York Times in 2006 by former council elder Isidro Garza, who with Raul Garza (no relation), is under indictment in Texas for embezzling tribal money.
    More Details Hide Details According to Isidro Garza, Abramoff did not say the donation was required to meet Bush; the White House denied any knowledge of the transaction.
    On May 9, 2001, Chief Raul Garza of the Kickapoo tribe of Texas met with Bush, with Abramoff and Norquist in attendance.
    More Details Hide Details Abramoff was identified in the background of a photo taken at the meeting. Days before the meeting, the tribe paid $25,000 to Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform at Abramoff's direction. According to the organization's communications director, John Kartch, the meeting was one of several gatherings with Bush sponsored by ATR. On the same day, the chief of the Louisiana Coushattas also attended an ATR-sponsored gathering with Bush. The Coushattas also gave $25,000 to ATR soon before the event.
    In the first ten months of 2001, the Abramoff lobbying team logged almost 200 contacts with the Bush administration.
    More Details Hide Details He may have used these senior level contacts to assist in his lobbying for Indian tribes concerning tribal gaming. The Department of the Interior has Federal regulatory authority over tribal affairs such as tribal recognition and gaming. From 2000 to 2003, six Indian tribes paid Abramoff over $80 million in lobbying fees. The Department of the Interior Office of Insular Affairs has authority over policy and grants to US territories such as the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). This may have assisted Abramoff in lobbying for textile interests in the islands. U.S. Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) and DeLay also heavily lobbied the CNMI for opposing the minimum wage.
    Jack Abramoff was a highly influential figure as lobbyist and activist in the Bush administration. In 2001, Abramoff was a member of the Bush administration's 2001 Transition Advisory Team assigned to the Department of the Interior.
    More Details Hide Details Abramoff befriended the incoming Deputy Secretary of the Interior J. Steven Griles. The draft report of the House Government Reform Committee said the documents – largely Abramoff's billing records and e-mails – listed 485 lobbying contacts with White House officials over three years, including 10 with top Bush aide Karl Rove. The report said that of the 485 contacts listed, 345 were described as meetings or other in-person contacts; 71 were described as phone conversations and 69 were e-mail exchanges.
    Included in the returned donations was an estimated $1,892 that was never reported for Baucus' use of Abramoff's skybox at a professional sports arena and concert venue in downtown Washington in 2001.
    More Details Hide Details Abramoff also was co-owner of Signatures Restaurant, a high-end Washington establishment which he used to reward friends and associates. His fellow lobbyist Kevin A. Ring treated Justice Department official Robert E. Coughlin to free tickets to the skyboxes and took him out to Signatures multiple times in exchange for favors. The restaurant, once thriving, was closed once investigations closed in on Abramoff. DeLay, Ney and Florida Republican Representative Tom Feeney have each gone on golf trips to Scotland that were apparently arranged or funded by Abramoff. These trips took place in 2000, 2002 and 2003. Ney and Feeney each claimed that their trips were paid for by the National Center for Public Policy Research, but the group denied this. Spokespeople for Ney and Feeney blamed others for filing errors. Ney later pleaded guilty to knowing that Abramoff had paid for the trip.
    In February 2001 Boulis was murdered in his car in a Mafia-style attack.
    More Details Hide Details The murder investigation, which presently includes three mobsters who had received payments from Kidan, is ongoing. Two of the suspects face the death penalty. SunCruz is now owned and operated by Oceans Casinos Cruises.
    On January 8, 2001, Abramoff left Preston Gates to join the Government Relations division of the Washington, D.C. law firm Greenberg Traurig, which once described him as "directly involved in the Republican party and conservative movement leadership structures" and "one of the leading fund raisers for the party and its congressional candidates".
    More Details Hide Details With the move to Greenberg Traurig, Abramoff took as much as $6 million worth of client business from his old firm, including the Marianas Islands account. At Greenberg Traurig, Abramoff recruited a team of lobbyists known familiarly as "Team Abramoff". The team included many of his former employees from Preston Gates and former senior staffers of members of Congress. Around the time he joined Greenberg Traurig, Abramoff's choice of lobbying clients changed to focus much more on Native American tribes. While Abramoff was a registered lobbyist for 51 clients while working at Preston Gates, with only four being tribes, Abramoff would eventually represent 24 clients for whom he was registered lobbyist at Greenberg Traurig, of which seven were tribes. Former White House Deputy Counsel Timothy Flanigan left his job in December 2002 to work as General Counsel for Corporate and International Law at Tyco International. He immediately hired Abramoff to lobby Congress and the White House on matters relating to Tyco's Bermuda tax-exempt status. Flanigan stated to the Senate Judiciary Committee that Abramoff "bragged" that he could help Tyco avoid tax liability aimed at offshore companies because he "had good relationships with members of Congress".
  • 2000
    Age 41
    After the partners purchased SunCruz in September 2000, the business relationship with Boulis deteriorated, culminating in a fistfight between Kidan and Boulis in December 2000.
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    Emails from 2000 show that Susan Ralston helped Abramoff pass checks from eLottery to Lou Sheldon's Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) and also to Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), en route to Reed's company, Century Strategies.
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  • 1999
    Age 40
    In 1999, eLottery hired Abramoff to block the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, which he did by enlisting Reed, Norquist, and Tom DeLay's former chief of staff, Tony Rudy.
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  • THIRTIES
  • 1998
    Age 39
    In 1998, $1 million was sent to Buckham via his organization U.S. Family Network to "influence DeLay's vote in 1998 on legislation that helped make it possible for the International Monetary Fund to bail out the faltering Russian economy".
    More Details Hide Details DeLay voted for the legislation. The money was funneled through the Dutch company Voor Huisen, the Bahamas company Chelsea Enterprises, and the London law firm James & Sarch Co. The executives involved, who met DeLay during the 1997 trip, were Marina Nevskaya and Alexander Koulakovsky. Nevskaya was also involved in Abramoff's support of an Israeli military academy, as indicated by an email sent to Abramoff.
    On April 27, 1998, Abramoff wrote a letter to the editor of The Seattle Times rebutting an article critical of him and his alleged role as effectively a Public Relations puppet of the then-apartheid South African military.
    More Details Hide Details Abramoff rebutted: "The IFF was a conservative group which I headed. It was vigorously anti-Communist, but it was also actively anti-apartheid. In 1987, it was one of the first conservative groups to call for the release of Nelson Mandela, a position for which it was roundly criticized by other conservatives at the time. While I headed the IFF, we accepted funding only from private individuals and corporations and would have absolutely rejected any offer of South African military funding, or any other kind of funding from any government – good or evil."
  • 1997
    Age 38
    About $60,000 was spent on a trip to Russia in 1997 for Tom DeLay, Buckham, and Abramoff.
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    Executives of Naftasib, a Russian energy company, funneled almost $3.4 million to Abramoff and DeLay advisor Ed Buckham between 1997 and 2005.
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  • 1995
    Age 36
    Abramoff and his law firm were paid at least $6.7 million by the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) from 1995 to 2001, which made manufactured goods with the "Made in the USA" label but was not subject to U.S. labor and minimum wage laws.
    More Details Hide Details After Abramoff paid for DeLay and his staffers to go on trips to the CNMI, they crafted policy that extended exemptions from federal immigration and labor laws to the islands' industries. Abramoff also negotiated for a $1.2 million no-bid contract from the Marianas for "promoting ethics in government" to be awarded to David Lapin, brother of Daniel Lapin. Abramoff also secretly funded a trip for James E. Clyburn (D-SC) and Bennie Thompson (D-MS). In 1999 Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) went on an Abramoff-funded trip to the Marshall Islands with John Doolittle (R-CA), Ken Calvert (R-CA), delegates of Guam, American Samoa, Virgin Islands and eight staffers. Documentation also indicates that Abramoff's lobbying team helped prepare Rep. Ralph Hall's (R-TX) statements on the House floor in which he attacked the credibility of escaped teenaged sex worker "Katrina", in an attempt to discredit her testimony regarding the state of the sex slave industry on the island. Ms. magazine also explored Abramoff's dealings in the CNMI and the plight of garment workers like Katrina in their spring 2006 article.
    In 1995, Abramoff began representing Native American tribes with gambling interests.
    More Details Hide Details He became involved with the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Native Americans. One of Abramoff's first acts as a tribal gaming lobbyist was to defeat a Congressional bill to tax Native American casinos, sponsored by Bill Archer (R-TX) and Ernest Istook (R-OK). According to Washington Business Forward, a lobbying trade magazine, "Tom DeLay was a major factor in those victories, and the fight helped cement the alliance between the two men". DeLay has called Abramoff "one of (his) closest and dearest friends". The Washington Post, on December 29, 2005, reported: "Jack Abramoff liked to slip into dialogue from The Godfather as he led his lobbying colleagues in planning their next conquest on Capitol Hill. In a favorite bit, he would mimic an ice-cold Michael Corleone facing down a crooked politician's demand for a cut of Mafia gambling profits: 'Senator, you can have my answer now if you like. My offer is this: nothing.'"
  • 1994
    Age 35
    In December 1994, Abramoff was hired as a lobbyist at Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds LLP, the lobbying arm of the law firm Preston Gates & Ellis LLP based in Seattle, Washington.
    More Details Hide Details According to The Seattle Times, following the Republican takeover of Congress in 1995, partner Emanuel Rouvelas determined that the firm "didn't have a conservative, Christian Coalition Republican with strong ties to the new Republican leadership". The traditionally Democratic-leaning firm hired Abramoff for the specific purpose of attaining these wanted ties. Abramoff was described in a press release as having close ties to Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey, the former the Republican Speaker of the House and the latter the Republican House Majority Leader. According to The Seattle Times, Abramoff used Preston Gates & Ellis to access a higher pedigree of clientele.
    During this period in South Africa, Abramoff first met South African-born rabbi David Lapin, who would become his religious advisor, and Lapin's brother and fellow rabbi Daniel Lapin, who allegedly introduced Abramoff to Congressman Tom DeLay (R-TX) at a Washington, DC dinner shortly after the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994.
    More Details Hide Details Lapin later claimed that he did not recall the introduction.
    Abramoff also executive-produced its 1994 sequel Red Scorpion 2.
    More Details Hide Details The South African government financed the film via the International Freedom Foundation, a front-group chaired by Abramoff, as part of its efforts to undermine international sympathy for the African National Congress. The filming location was in South-West Africa (now Namibia).
  • 1989
    Age 30
    He developed (wrote the story) and produced, with his brother Robert, the 1989 film Red Scorpion.
    More Details Hide Details The film ultimately cost $16 million (from an $8 million initial budget) and starred Dolph Lundgren playing the Spetsnaz-like Soviet commando Nikolai, sent by the USSR to assassinate an African revolutionary in a country similar to Angola. Nikolai sees the evil of the Soviets and changes sides, becoming a freedom fighter for the African side.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1986
    Age 27
    In 1986, Reagan appointed Abramoff as a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.
    More Details Hide Details Abramoff spent 10 years in Hollywood.
  • 1985
    Age 26
    In 1985, Abramoff joined Citizens for America, a pro-Reagan group that helped Oliver North build support for the Nicaraguan Contras.
    More Details Hide Details Citizens for America staged an unprecedented meeting of anti-Communist rebel leaders known as the Democratic International in Jamba, Angola. This conference included leaders of the Mujahedeen from Afghanistan, UNITA from Angola, the Contras, and opposition groups from Laos. Out of this largely ceremonial conference came the International Freedom Foundation. Abramoff helped to organize, and also attended the conference. Abramoff's membership ended on a sour note when Citizens for America's sponsor Lewis Lehrman, a former New York gubernatorial candidate, concluded that Abramoff had spent his money carelessly.
  • 1984
    Age 25
    In 1984, Abramoff and other College Republicans formed the "USA Foundation", a non-partisan tax-exempt organization which held two days of rallies on college campuses around the United States celebrating the first anniversary of the invasion of Grenada.
    More Details Hide Details In a letter to campus Republican leaders, Abramoff claimed:
  • 1983
    Age 24
    Abramoff "changed the direction of the committee and made it more activist and conservative than ever before", notes the CRNC. "It is not our job to seek peaceful coexistence with the Left", Abramoff was quoted as saying in the group's 1983 annual report. "Our job is to remove them from power permanently."
    More Details Hide Details Norquist served as executive director of the committee under Abramoff. He later recruited Ralph Reed, a former president of the University of Georgia College Republicans chapter, as an unpaid intern. According to Reed's book Active Faith, Reed also introduced Abramoff to his future wife, Pamela Clarke Alexander. As chair of the CRNC, Ambramoff addressed the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas, Texas. At the CRNC, Abramoff developed political alliances with College Republican chapter presidents across the nation, many who would later hold key roles in state and national politics and business, and some who would later interact with Abramoff as a lobbyist. Some of those relationships were at the core of the federal investigation. At the CRNC, Abramoff, Norquist and Reed formed what was known as the "Abramoff-Norquist-Reed triumvirate". After Abramoff's election, the trio purged "dissidents" and re-wrote the CRNC's bylaws to consolidate their control over the organization. According to Easton's Gang of Five, Reed was the "hatchet man" and "carried out Abramoff-Norquist orders with ruthless efficiency, not bothering to hide his fingerprints".
  • 1981
    Age 22
    He graduated with a B.A. in English in 1981, taking six years to finish his degree, and earned his Juris Doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1986.
    More Details Hide Details According to Nina Easton, Abramoff gained much of his credibility in the conservative movement through his father, Franklin Abramoff. As president of Diners Club International, Abramoff's father worked closely with Alfred S. Bloomingdale, a personal friend of Ronald Reagan. After graduating from Brandeis, Abramoff ran for election as chairman of the College Republican National Committee (CRNC). After a campaign which cost over $11,000 and was managed by Grover Norquist, Abramoff won the election after the chief competitor, Amy Moritz (who later, as Amy Ridenour, became a founding director of the National Center for Public Policy Research, and was involved in several trips funded by Jack Abramoff), was persuaded to drop out.
    Abramoff was College Republican National Committee National Chairman from 1981 to 1985, a founding member of the International Freedom Foundation, allegedly financed by apartheid South Africa, and served on the board of directors of the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank.
    More Details Hide Details From 1994 to 2001 he was a top lobbyist for the firm of Preston Gates & Ellis, and then for Greenberg Traurig until March 2004.
  • 1980
    Age 21
    As an undergraduate at Brandeis University, Abramoff served as Chairman of the Massachusetts Alliance of College Republicans, which organized student volunteers for Ronald Reagan's 1980 presidential campaign.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1959
    Age 0
    Born on February 28, 1959.
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