AP reported Democrats "tried to link Abramoff to Republicans," ignored Abramoff's actual GOP ties

››› ››› SAM GILL

A January 18 Associated Press article reported that "Democrats tried to link [indicted Republican lobbyist Jack] Abramoff to Republicans." However, the article failed to discuss numerous ties between the GOP and Abramoff.

In a January 18 Associated Press article entitled "Lawmakers Jockey for Ethics High Ground," staff writer Jim Abrams wrote "Democrats tried to link [indicted Republican lobbyist Jack] Abramoff to Republicans." But it's not just "Democrats," and theirs is not merely an attempt to establish such links -- the links are there, as even some conservatives have acknowledged.

Although the article went on to state that "[t]wo senior Republicans" -- former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) and Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) -- "have already taken a fall because of their ties to Abramoff," it failed to discuss numerous other ties between the GOP and Abramoff. For example, Abramoff earned "Pioneer" status in President Bush's 2004 re-election campaign for raising $100,000 in contributions.

Moreover, a May 1, 2005, New York Times Magazine profile of Abramoff by Michael Crowley detailed his extensive ties to the GOP, cultivated throughout his lobbying career. The article refers to Abramoff as "a kingpin of Republican Washington." Crowley writes: "His former personal assistant had gone to work for Karl Rove, the new president's top political adviser; he was close friends with the powerful Republican congressman from Texas, Tom DeLay, a relationship most of his competitors would kill to boast of," and referred to "countless fund-raisers he gave for Republican congressmen and senators." According to the article, Abramoff's first lobbying employer, Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds, hired him because of his ties to powerful Republicans like DeLay: "Upon his hire, the firm's news release boasted of Abramoff's ties to Ralph Reed's Christian Coalition, the Republican National Committee and top House Republican leaders."

In addition, the White House has refused to release a list of Abramoff's visits to the Bush White House, with the AP reporting on January 18 that White House press secretary Scott McClellan acknowledged during a January 17 press briefing that "[t]here were a few staff-level meetings" between Abramoff and White House senior staff and that Abramoff attended "two Hanukkah receptions." In 2001, Abramoff's former lobbying partner Michael Scanlon told the New Times Broward-Palm Beach: "Jack has a relationship with the President. He doesn't have a bat phone or anything, but if he wanted an appointment, he would have one." [New Times Broward-Palm Beach, 2/21/2001] Scanlon has since pleaded guilty to conspiring to bribe several public officials, including a member of Congress.

Even National Review editor Rich Lowry contended, in a January 10 column, that the scandal "is, in its essence, a Republican scandal, and any attempt to portray it otherwise is a misdirection." He continued:

Abramoff is a Republican who worked closely with two of the country's most prominent conservative activists, Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed. Top aides to the most important Republican in Congress, Tom DeLay (R., Tex.) were party to his sleazy schemes. The only people referred to directly in Abramoff's recent plea agreement are a Republican congressmen (sic) and two former Republican congressional aides. The GOP members can make a case that the scandal reflects more the way Washington works than the unique perfidy of their party, but even this is self-defeating, since Republicans run Washington.

From the January 18 AP article:

Democrats tried to link Abramoff to Republicans, the main recipients of his largesse, and insist that the only real solution was to vote them out of office next November. "Mr. Abramoff and his associates are just the symptom. The disease is right here in the Capitol, with the party of power in Washington," said Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, D-N.Y., the Rules Committee's top Democrat.

Two senior Republicans have already taken a fall because of their ties to Abramoff. Former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, announced after Abramoff's guilty plea that he would not try to regain the post he relinquished after being indicted on campaign finance charges in Texas. And Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, temporarily stepped down as House Administration Committee chairman.

Posted In
Government, Ethics
Associated Press
Abramoff Scandal
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